Description: Slender shrubs or twiners.
Leaves alternate, often caducous or reduced to scales.
Flowers in single or clustered terminal racemes, occasionally in axillary racemes or solitary, each subtended by a caducous bract and bracteoles at base. Sepals 5, unequal, 2 inner sepals large and wing-like ± petaloid. Petals 3, or 5 with 2 reduced or vestigial, lower two petals ± united to form a keel or usually lobed or pouched. Stamens 8, fused with petals for about half their length, and either diadelphous and sessile, or free; anthers opening by apical pores. Ovary 2-locular, laterally compressed; style flattened and bent below a broad, truncate, 2-lobed or bifurcate apex with stigma on one side.
Fruit a compressed cuneate capsule with a narrow marginal wing; seeds with hairs lengthening into a coma.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 24 species, endemic Australia. Australia: all States.
Text by L. Murray
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Leafy erect plants; stamens diadelphous above middle||2|
|Sparsely-leaved plants, often climbing or lax; stamens free above the middle||4|
|2||Leaves with margins recurved to revolute, rarely flat but then lower surface pale-coloured with midvein conspicuous||Comesperma ericinum|
|Leaves flat or slightly keeled|
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|3||Leaves with apex acute or obtuse, mucronate; outer sepals a quarter as long as the wing sepals||Comesperma sylvestre|
|Leaves usually obtuse, not mucronate; outer sepals about half as long as the wing sepals|
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|Stems stiff or lax but not twining|
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|5||Inflorescences axillary, pedicel and calyx usually glabrous||Comesperma volubile|
|Inflorescences terminal on short branches, pedicel with short appressed hairs, calyx ciliate|
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|6||Outer sepals c. 1 mm long, wing sepals mostly 2–3 mm long; fruit long-attenuate at base||Comesperma defoliatum|
|Outer sepals c. 3 mm long, wing sepals mostly c. 6 mm long; fruit not long-attenuate at base|
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