The families of flowering plants

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Dasypogonaceae Dum.

~ Xanthorrhoeaceae sensu lato.

Including Baxteriaceae, Kingiaceae Endlicher, Lomandraceae Lotsy, Xerotaceae Endl., Xanthorrhoeaceae sensu stricto.

Habit and leaf form. ‘Arborescent’, or shrubs, or herbs (less often). With a basal aggregation of leaves (more or less acaulescent), or without conspicuous aggregations of leaves; rhizomatous. Self supporting. Pachycaul. Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Leaves small to large; alternate; spiral (usually), or distichous; leathery, or modified into spines, or ‘herbaceous’; sessile; sheathing. Leaf sheaths not tubular; with free margins. Leaves simple. Lamina entire; acicular, or linear; parallel-veined; without cross-venules.

Leaf anatomy. Stomata present; anomocytic. The mesophyll containing calcium oxalate crystals, or without calcium oxalate crystals (?). The mesophyll crystals raphides and solitary-prismatic (Lomandra). Foliar vessels present (Acanthocarpos), or absent; with scalariform end-walls. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (Lomandra).

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Primary vascular tissue consisting of scattered bundles. Secondary thickening absent (e.g. Kingia, with a palmlike vascular system), or anomalous (e.g. some Lomandra spp., sometimes with compound vascular bundles). The anomalous secondary thickening from a single cambial ring. The axial xylem without vessels.

Root anatomy. Root xylem with vessels; vessel end-walls scalariform, or simple.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite, or dioecious. Floral nectaries present. Nectar secretion from the gynoecium (via septal nectaries).

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’. Inflorescences scapiflorous, or not scapiflorous; elongate and loosely branched, or of globose partial inflorescences, or of dense, multiflorous often globose paniculate or thyrsoid heads; espatheate. Flowers small; regular; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube present, or absent. Hypogynous disk absent.

Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; free, or joined; 2 whorled; isomerous; sepaloid (occasionally), or petaloid (usually); similar in the two whorls, or different in the two whorls; white, or cream, or yellow, or hyaline; fleshy, or non-fleshy.

Androecium 6. Androecial members free of the perianth, or free of the perianth and adnate (the three inner members sometimes fused to the bases of the inner tepals); all equal; free of one another; 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 6; diplostemonous. Anthers dorsifixed to basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. The endothecial thickenings spiral, or girdling (Lomandra). Pollen shed as single grains. Pollen grains aperturate; 1 aperturate, or 2 aperturate, or 3–9 aperturate (to ‘many’); sulcate, or sulculate, or zoniaperturate, or annulosulcate, or foraminate.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 1 celled, or 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior, or inferior. Ovary 1 locular (Dasypogon), or 3 locular. Gynoecium stylate, or non-stylate to stylate (Lomandra). Styles 1 (simple or tribrachiate); attenuate from the ovary, or from a depression at the top of the ovary; apical. Stylar canal present. Stigmas 1, or 3; 1 lobed, or 3 lobed; wet type. Placentation when unilocular, basal; when trilocular, axile. Ovules in the single cavity when unilocular, 1; 1 per locule; non-arillate; anatropous to campylotropous; crassinucellate. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Antipodal cells formed; 3 (large); not proliferating. Synergids pear-shaped (with filiform apparatus).

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent, or indehiscent; a capsule, or capsular-indehiscent. Seeds endospermic. Embryo well differentiated (but often small). Testa without phytomelan (always?).

Seedling. Hypocotyl internode present (e.g. Lomandra), or absent. Mesocotyl present (Dasypogon), or absent (Lomandra). Seedling collar not conspicuous. Coleoptile present. First leaf dorsiventral. Primary root ephemeral.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Not cyanogenic. Anthraquinones detected (Lomandra); polyacetate derived. Proanthocyanidins absent. Flavonols absent. Ellagic acid absent.

Geography, cytology. Paleotropical and Australian. Australian, with Lomandra extending to New Guinea and New Caledonia. X = 7,8, 9.

Taxonomy. Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Liliiflorae; Asparagales. APG 3 core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; commelinid Monocot (?); Order Dasypogonales (or “unplaced” at ordinal level).

Species about 65. Genera 8; Acanthocarpus, Baxteria, Chamaexeros, Dasypogon, Kingia, Lomandra, Romnalda, Xerolirion.

General remarks. Comparing descriptions with Intkey shows this one differing from Xanthorrhoeaceae sensu stricto (q.v.) in absence of flavonols, leaves with anomocytic stomata and lacking secretory cavities, the ovary unilocular or trilocular with only one ovule per locule, the seed testa without phytomelan, and the coeoptile-less seedling.

Illustrations. • Technical details: Lomandra. • Dasypogon bromeliifolius: habit (photo). • Dasypogon bromeliifolius: inflorescence (photo). • Kingia australis: habitat (photo). • Kingia australis: inflorescence and habitat (photo). • Lomandra longifolia: Bot. Reg. 1839, 3.


This description is offered for casual browsing only. We strongly advise against extracting comparative information from it. This is much more easily achieved using the interactive key, which allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, distributions of character states within any set of taxa, geographical distribution, genera included in each family, and classifications (Dahlgren; Dahlgren, Clifford, and Yeo; Cronquist; APG).

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onwards. The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. Version: 19th October 2013. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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