The families of flowering plants

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Haemodoraceae R. Br.

Including Conostylidaceae, Xiphidiaceae Dum.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs; with coloured juice, or non-laticiferous and without coloured juice. Plants autotrophic. Perennial; with a basal aggregation of leaves (leaves all radical); rhizomatous, or tuberous, or bulbaceous. Rhizome and root tissues brightly red-pigmented (often, and pigment present throughout the plant in Haemodorum), or not red-pigmented. Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Leaves medium-sized to large; alternate; distichous; leathery; sessile; sheathing. Leaf sheaths with free margins. Leaves borne edgewise to the stem (usually), or ‘normally orientated’; simple; epulvinate. Lamina entire; linear (or ensiform); parallel-veined. Lamina margins entire. Leaf development ‘graminaceous’. Vernation conduplicate.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina bifacial. Stomata present; paracytic. Guard-cells not ‘grass type’. The mesophyll containing mucilage cells (with raphides); usually containing crystals. The crystals usually raphides. Foliar vessels present, or absent; with scalariform end-walls. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (Anigozanthos, Wachendorfia).

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Primary vascular tissues comprising a ring of bundles, or comprising two or more rings of bundles, or consisting of scattered bundles. Secondary thickening absent. The axial xylem with vessels, or without vessels.

The vessel end-walls scalariform.

Root anatomy. Root xylem with vessels; vessel end-walls scalariform, or scalariform and simple (mainly simple).

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries present. Nectar secretion from the gynoecium (via septal nectaries). Pollination entomophilous, or ornithophilous, or by unusual means (occasionally by small mammals).

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’ (usually), or solitary; in cymes, in panicles, and in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence units cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences scapiflorous (usually, the inflorescence and flowers often woolly-hairy); terminal; panicles, thyrses with cymose lateral branches, or racemes. Flowers regular to very irregular; when irregular, zygomorphic; 3 merous; cyclic; tricyclic, or tetracyclic. Perigone tube present (straight or curved), or absent.

Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; free, or joined; 2 whorled (when free, Haemodoroideae), or 1 whorled (when tubular, Conostyloideae); isomerous; petaloid; similar in the two whorls; green, or white, or cream, or yellow, or orange, or red, or violet, or black.

Androecium 3, or 6. Androecial members adnate (to the perianth lobes, or to the inner perianth segments); all equal; free of one another; 1 whorled, or 2 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 3, or 6; isomerous with the perianth, or diplostemonous; alterniperianthial, or oppositiperianthial (in three-stamened Haemodoroideae, where the outer whorl is missing). Filaments appendiculate (e.g. Tribonanthes), or not appendiculate. Anthers dorsifixed, or basifixed; versatile, or non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; unappendaged, or appendaged (apically, from the connective). Microsporogenesis successive. The initial microspore tetrads tetrahedral, or isobilateral. Tapetum amoeboid, or glandular. Pollen grains aperturate; 1 aperturate, or 2–4(–8) aperturate (Conostyloideae); sulcate, or foraminate; 2-celled.

Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior to inferior. Ovary 3 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1, or 3; when 3, partially joined; attenuate from the ovary, or from a depression at the top of the ovary; apical; much longer than the ovary (usually filiform). Stigmas 1, or 3; capitate; wet type, or dry type; papillate; Group II type, or Group III type. Placentation axile. Ovules 1–50 per locule (i.e. to ‘many’); non-arillate; orthotropous to hemianatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Outer integument contributing to the micropyle, or not contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Endosperm formation helobial. Embryogeny asterad.

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent, or indehiscent; a capsule, or a nut (Phlebocaryeae). Capsules loculicidal, or valvular (Macropidia). Seeds copiously endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds winged (Haemodorum), or wingless. Seeds with starch. Cotyledons 1. Testa without phytomelan.

Seedling. Hypocotyl internode present (short to long). Seedling collar not conspicuous. Cotyledon hyperphyll elongated, or compact (e.g. Haemodorum); assimilatory (Blancoa), or non-assimilatory (Haemodorum); when elongated, more or less circular in t.s. (e.g. Blancoa). Coleoptile absent (but sometimes with a median cotyledonary sheath lobe). First leaf ensiform. Primary root ephemeral.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Acumulated starch other than exclusively ‘pteridophyte type’. Not cyanogenic. Alkaloids present, or absent (2 species investigated). Saponins/sapogenins absent. Proanthocyanidins present (2 genera); cyanidin, or cyanidin and delphinidin (Anigozanthos). Flavonols present; kaempferol and quercetin (Haemodorum), or kaempferol (Anigozanthos). Ellagic acid absent.

Geography, cytology. Temperate to tropical. South Africa, Australia, New Guinea, Southeast U.S.A., Central America, tropical South America. X = 4–8, or 15 (or more).

Taxonomy. Subclass Monocotyledonae. Dahlgren et al. Superorder Bromeliiflorae; Haemodorales. APG 3 core angiosperms; Superorder Lilianae; commelinid Monocot; Order Commelinales.

Species 75. Genera 14; Anigozanthos, Barberetta, Blancoa, Conostylis, Dilatris, Haemodorum, Lachnanthes, Macropidia, Phlebocarya, Pyrrhorhiza, Schiekia, Tribonanthes, Xiphidium, Wachendorfia.

Illustrations. • Technical details: Anigozanthos, Haemodorum. • Technical details: Conostylis, Haemodorum (Lindley). • Anigozanthos flavidus: as Anigozanthus flavida var. bicolor, Bot. Reg. XXIV, 64 (1838). • Anigozanthos humilis: habit, inflorescence. • Anigozanthos manglesii: inflorescence. • Anigozanthos manglesii var. angustifolius: as Anigozanthus, Bot. Reg. 2012, 1837. • Conostylis aculeata: flower (photo). • Conostylis aculeata: habit (photo). • Tribonanthes, cf. longipetala (photo).


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 August 2014. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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