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Family Anthericaceae

Description: Rhizomatous perennial herbs; roots tuberous, fleshy or fibrous, leaves forming basal rosette with an erect, largely leafless scape bearing a terminal inflorescence.

Leaves linear, spirally set or rarely distichous, sheathing at the base; stipules absent.

Inflorescence a simple or compound raceme, spike or panicle, sometimes condensed into dense heads or clusters. Flowers generally actinomorphic, 3-merous, bisexual. Tepals 6, in 2 whorls, similar or slightly different in size and shape, white, yellow, blue or purple. Stamens 3 or 6, those with 3 with or without 3 staminodes; filaments free or basally fused, glabrous or variously hairy; anthers 2-locular, introrse, latrorse or extrorse, dorsifixed to epipeltate or more rarely basifixed, dehiscing by pores or longitudinal slits. Ovary superior, 3-locular; ovules 2–8 per loculus; placentation axile; style simple, erect, and apically 3-lobed or punctiform.

Fruit a loculicidal capsule or rarely a schizocarp (Tricoryne) or nut-like (Corynotheca); seeds usually 3–12, angled or rounded, brown to black.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 20 genera, c. 450–500 species, southern Africa, Madagascar, South-East Asia, Malesia, Australia, New Caledonia, New Zealand. Australia: 18 genera, c. 128 species, all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Asparagaceae, Order: Asparagales)

These genera have often been included in the Liliaceae s. lat., and Anthericaceae is sometimes treated as a synonym of Asparagaceae.

Text by S. McCune & D.W. Hardin
Taxon concept:

 Key to the genera 
1Leaves chiefly basal, if some cauline then reducing in size up stem2
All leaves cauline10
2Tepals spirally twisted after flowering3
Tepals not spirally twisted after flowering
                       Back to 1
3Filaments all glabrous, or scabrous, finely pubescent or papillose; flowers blue or white to pale yellow4
Filaments with a tuft of narrow clavate hairs below anther; flowers yellow
                       Back to 2
4Inflorescences annual; pedicels to 15 mm long; stamens of 2 lengths; capsule more or less 3-lobed; seed more or less globose; flowers blue or rarely whiteCaesia
Inflorescence perennating; pedicels to 3.5 mm long; stamens equal in length; capsule not lobed; seed ellipsoid; flowers white to pale yellow
                       Back to 3
5Stamens 3, with 3 staminodesSowerbaea
Stamens 6
                       Back to 2
6Margins of inner tepals fringed throughoutThysanotus
Margins of inner tepals entire
                       Back to 5
7Anthers linear, longer than filamentsDichopogon
Anthers linear, usually shorter than filaments
                       Back to 6
8Filaments glabrous or minutely papillose; perianth whiteChlorophytum
Filaments hirsute or finely pubescent; perianth pale blue, purple or white
                       Back to 7
9Inflorescence subsessile, flowers solitary; filaments finely pubescent; plants mat-formingHerpolirion
Inflorescence scapose racemes or panicles, flowers usually 1–9 per node; filaments hirsute; plants never mat-forming
                       Back to 8
10Inflorescence a terminal head-like umbel, flowers more or less sessile or shortly pedicellate; leaves usually tufted leaving leafless intervals on stemsLaxmannia
Inflorescences an axillary condensed bracteate umbel-like raceme, the flowers distinctly pedicellate; leaves crowded along stem
                       Back to 1

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