Description: Evergreen shrubs or trees, bisexual, monoecious or (not in Australia) dioecious, usually aromatic. Plants glabrous or hairy. Stem nodes sometimes conspicuously swollen or flattened.
Leaves exstipulate, opposite-decussate, petiolate; lamina simple, pinnately veined; midrib conspicuous, often with small translucent gland-dots. Flowers terminal or axillary, solitary or in inflorescences of simple dichasia or thyrsiform, pedicellate, odourless or fragrant.
Bracts and bracteoles present or absent. Perianth regular, with 1 or more whorls, of 4–20 segments; segments usually tepaloid, free. Stamens 4–10 or more; staminal filaments present or (not in Australia) absent; anthers basifixed, 2-celled, dehiscing by valves, appendages absent or apical; staminodes present or absent. Carpels 4–30, superior, free. Style single, unbranched, terminal or arising from near base of carpel. Ovule 1 per loculus; placentation ±basal.
Fruit a cluster of achenes (sometimes incorrectly referred to as nutlets) borne on or within the enlarged hypanthium, with surface ±smooth or with fine, plumose hairs; hypanthium usually dehiscent into 1–4 valves.
Distribution and occurrence: The Atherospermataceae consist of 7 genera and about 16 species occurring in the cooler rainforests of Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, New Zealand, southern Chile and western Patagonia. In Australia the family consists of 4 genera (3 of which are endemic), with 10 endemic species, and extends from Cape York, along the E coast and into the nearby ranges of the mainland, to Tas.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Atherospermataceae, Order: Laurales)
Updated by H. Sauquet (2019)
Text by Flora of Australia (2007)
Taxon concept: Flora of Australia (2007) ,APG I-IV
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Leaves entire or irregularly toothed, and lower surface usually greyish or brownish and densely hairy or rarely green and more or less glabrous; flowers unisexual (plants monoecious), solitary||Atherosperma|
|Leaves regularly toothed to crenate, lower surface green and either glabrous or sparsely hairy; flowers bisexual, inflorescences 3–many-flowered||2|
|2||Secondary veins forming angle of less than 40 degree with the midvein, looping to form an intramarginal vein; leaves glabrous, with a `sassafras' smell when crushed; perianth segments 4–6; inflorescences 3-flowered||Doryphora|
|Secondary veins forming angle of 25–35 degree with the midvein, not looping at the ends to form an intramarginal vein; leaves hairy or glabrous, not strongly scented when crushed; perianth segments more than 10; inflorescences more than 4-flowered|
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