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Family Ericaceae

Subfamily Epacridoideae

Description: Shrubs or rarely small trees.

Leaves alternate or rarely in pseudowhorls, xeromorphic, often pungent, margins entire or finely toothed, usually with several ± longitudinal veins, or rarely reticulate; sessile or petiolate, stipules absent.

Inflorescence a spike, sometimes a raceme or panicle, or flowers solitary; 1 or more imbricate bracts and bracteoles subtend each flower. Flowers mostly small, actinomorphic, 4- or 5-merous, usually bisexual or sometimes unisexual and then plants polygamous. Sepals 4 or 5, free, imbricate, persistent. Corolla usually tubular with 4 or 5 erect or spreading lobes, sometimes the whole corolla fused into a cap or separated into ± distinct petals. Stamens 4 or 5, rarely fewer, alternating with corolla lobes, hypogynous and free or fused to the corolla tube; anthers 2-locular, versatile or rarely fused to filaments, included or partly or fully exserted from the corolla tube, dehiscing by a longitudinal slit. Nectary annular or in scales at base of ovary. Ovary superior, 1–10-locular, with 1–several ovules per loculus; placentation axile or apical; style simple.

Fruit a drupe or loculicidal capsule.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 32 genera, c. 424 species, Australia, Malesia, Indo-China, Pacific Islands and South America. Australia: 29 genera, c. 355 species, all States.

Text by J. M. Powell
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Acrothamnus,    Agiortia

 Key to the genera 
1Stems with annular leaf scars2
Stems without annular leaf scars3
2Corolla ovoid or conical, forming a 'cap' that splits near the base and is shed as the anthers expand, lobes not openingRichea
Corolla with broad cylindrical or campanulate tube, the lobes spreading or recurved
                       Back to 1
3Leaves sheathingSprengelia
Leaves not sheathing
                       Back to 1
4Style inserted in depression at apex of ovary; fruit a loculicidal capsule5
Style attenuate from the ovary, fruit a drupe or sometimes the endocarp separating into pyrenes
                       Back to 3
5Corolla lobes contorted in budWoollsia
Corolla lobes imbricate but not contorted in bud
                       Back to 4
6Filaments inserted in throat; anthers erect or spreading, dehiscing longitudinally7
Filaments inserted at base of corolla tube; anthers converging around the style, dehiscing by apical slit
                       Back to 5
7Filaments shorter than anthers; anthers versatile, attached to filament about the middleEpacris
Filaments longer than anthers; anthers fused to upper part of filament
                       Back to 6
8Corolla lobes valvate in bud9
Corolla lobes basally or apically imbricate in bud
                       Back to 4
9Anthers on long filaments, well exserted from the tube; corolla lobes revoluteStyphelia
Anthers on short filaments, just exserted or partly or wholly enclosed in tube; lobes erect to spreading
                       Back to 8
10Corolla tube with hairs or scales inside below the middle11
Corolla tube glabrous below the middle
                       Back to 9
11Corolla tube short and broad; lobes spreading; 5 glandular scales present near base of tubeMelichrus
Corolla tube elongated, cylindrical; lobes erect at base, spreading above; 5 tufts of hairs or ciliate scales inside, sometimes confluent in a ring, rarely glabrous
                       Back to 10
12Flowers pedicellate, the subtending bract and bracteoles inserted some distance from the calyxLissanthe
Flowers sessile, the subtending bracts and bracteoles inserted immediately below the calyx
                       Back to 10
13Drupaceous fruit with endocarp not separating into pyrenes14
Drupaceous fruit with endocarp separating into pyrenes
                       Back to 12
14Corolla lobes glabrous or sometimes papilloseMonotoca
Corolla lobes hairy
                       Back to 13
15Corolla lobes with erect tuft of hairs near apex, fine hairs at throat; flowers yellow-green or greenAcrotriche
Corolla lobes sparsely to densely bearded; flowers white, cream or red
                       Back to 14
16Corolla lobes basally imbricate; drupaceous fruit with endocarp not separating into pyrenesBrachyloma
Corolla lobes apically imbricate; drupaceous fruit with endocarp separating into pyreness
                       Back to 8

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