Description: Tufted perennial herbs, roots tuberous, or fleshy-fibrous or fibrous with or without tubers.
Leaves crowded at base of stem, linear.
Inflorescence paniculate; axis simple or branched, bracteate; lower bracts leaf-like, upper minute; flowers irregularly clustered, pedicellate. Tepals subequal, shortly fused, 3-veined, spirally twisted after flowering, ultimately falling, blue or rarely white. Stamens 6, attached to perianth basally; filaments ± slender, papillose, alternately long and short; anthers introrse, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovules 2 per loculus; style filiform; stigma capitate, minute.
Fruit a capsule, ± 3-lobed, tardily dehiscent; seeds ± globose, black.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 11 species, southern Africa, New Guinea & Australia. Australia: 8 species (7 species endemic), all States.
Text by S. McCune & D. W. Hardin
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Inflorescence axis branched; lower branches subtended by leaf-like bracts more than 10 cm long||2|
|Inflorescence axis unbranched, or if branched the lower branches subtended by leaf-like, linear or subulate bracts less than 10 cm long||3|
|2||Roots fleshy-fibrous, or slender and tuberous but without distinct distal tubers; seeds granulate with scattered tubercles||Caesia parviflora|
|Roots fleshy-fibrous with broadly fusiform tubers distally; seeds colliculate, often with irregularly scattered tubercles|
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|3||Inflorescence axis unbranched||4|
|Inflorescence axis branched|
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|4||Inflorescence spreading-decumbent||Caesia alpina|
|Inflorescence erect or ascending|
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|5||Plant less than 10 cm high; tepals less than 5 mm long; seeds granulate without tubercles or pustules||Caesia alpina|
|Plant usually more than 15 cm high; tepals more than 5 mm long; seeds granulate and regularly tuberculate|
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