Description: Small, tufted annual or perennial herbs.
Leaves crowded at base of stem in annual species or imbricate and crowded along stems in perennial species, linear or bristly, with open scarious-hyaline sheaths, 1-veined.
Inflorescence a terminal spike or capitulum, usually on a leafless scape. Male and female flowers often united to form condensed inflorescence units resembling a bisexual flower (pseudanthia); pseudanthia enclosed by (primary) bracts, small secondary bracts often present. Flowers unisexual, minute. Tepals absent. Male flowers a solitary stamen; filament filiform; anther dorsifixed, 1-locular, dehiscing by longitudinal slit. Female flowers a solitary carpel, 1-locular; ovule pendulous, style filiform papillose and stigmatic along most of its length.
Fruit a small follicle, dry, 1-seeded, pericarp dehiscing longitudinally.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 4 genera, 40 species, mainly Australia, New Zealand, also New Guinea, South-East Asia & South America. Australia: 3 or 4 genera, c. 34 species, all States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Centrolepidaceae, Order: Poales)
Text by E. A. Brown
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Inflorescence a spike with 6–11 distichous bracts||Aphelia|
|Inflorescence a head enclosed by a pair of bracts||Centrolepis|