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Synonyms: Dianellaceae APNI*
Description: Rhizomatous herbs or subshrubs.
Leaves distichous, mostly basal or near-basal, often rigid and tough, linear, parallel-veined; teeth often present on margins and midribs.
Inflorescence cymose, terminal on a ± elongate leafy or bracteate scape, sparingly to strongly branched, with few–many flowers in condensed or expanded cymules. Flowers actinomorphic [or slightly zygomorphic], 3-merous, bisexual. Tepals 6, in 2 whorls, free or nearly so, the inner usually more petaloid, blue, violet, white or yellow [to red]. Stamens 6; filaments slender, variously papillose or villous or thickened apically to form a globose or ovoid structure covered with papillae; anthers basifixed, introrse or extrorse, dehiscing by apical pores or longitudinal slits. Ovary superior, 3-locular; placentation axile; ovules 2–numerous per loculus; style erect, filiform; stigma capitate, papillose.
Fruit a capsule or berry; seeds mostly ovoid, dark brown to black.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 7 or 8 genera, Africa, South-East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Pacific islands & South America. Australia: 4 genera, 20 species, all States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Xanthorrhoeaceae, Order: Asparagales)
Often included in the Liliaceae s. lat. in the past, and sometimes treated as a synonym of Hemerocallidaceae.
Phormium tenax J. R. Forst. & G. Forst., the New Zealand Flax, is a source of fibre (leaves) and is often cultivated as an ornamental. Note: breadth of leaf blade is measured about halfway along the mature blade. Surfaces of leaves should be checked for venation patterns at c. X 20 magnification.
Text by K.L. Wilson
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Flowers strongly tubular, mixed red-brown-orange in colour||Phormium|
|Flowers with tepals wide-spreading from near base or recurved, white or blue or pale yellow||2|
|2||Fruit a berry; anthers not coiling after dehiscence; staminal filaments swollen and papillose at apex||Dianella|
|Fruit a capsule; anthers coiling or strongly recurving after dehiscence; staminal filaments not swollen and papillose at apex|
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|3||Flowers nodding; staminal filaments very densely hairy in upper half; seeds lenticular with ridged margins, dull or glistening||Stypandra|
|Flowers erect; staminal filaments shortly and densely hairy except at base and apex; seeds laterally compressed with rounded margins, more or less shining|
Back to 2