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Genus Gomphocarpus Family Apocynaceae

Description: Erect perennial herbs or sometimes shrubs, stems thin, stiff, ± woody.

Leaves narrow, without glands at base of lamina; latex opaque, milky.

Flowers white, in loose pedunculate umbels beside upper leaf axils. Calyx segments 5, small, narrow. Corolla rotate, deeply divided into 5 spreading, finally reflexed lobes at base of flower; lobes valvate in bud or almost so. Column elongated above corolla, with 5 large white corona segments in a ring near top; corona segments erect, elongated, laterally compressed, sac-shaped in upper part with 2 or 4 teeth on inner side; horn-like appendages absent. Pollinia 2 per anther, compressed, pendent. Style head 5-angled, truncate and depressed at apex.

Follicles large, inflated, soft, covered with long, soft spine-like processes; seeds with a silky coma.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 50 species, Africa. Australia: 3 species (naturalized), Qld, N.S.W., Vic., S.A., W.A.

Text by G. J. Harden & J. B. Williams
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Follicles ovoid, 4–6 cm long, 2–3.5 cm diam., slightly falcate, gradually narrowed into a short, curved beak,Gomphocarpus fruticosus
Follicles globose or subglobose, 5–7.5 cm long, 4–5.5 cm diam., not falcate, abruptly pointed, terminal beak very short, inconspicuous, sunken into indented apexGomphocarpus physocarpus

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