Description: Rhizomatous herbs, shrubs or small trees with tufted leaves.
Leaves often 3-ranked, linear to elliptic, with numerous longitudinal veins, base sometimes narrowed and petiole-like, sheathing.
Inflorescence of bracteate racemes. Flowers actinomorphic, unisexual or bisexual, usually 3-merous or rarely 5–7-merous. Tepals usually 6 in 2 whorls, free or basally fused. Stamens usually 6; filaments free; anthers ± basifixed, introrse, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary superior, usually 3-locular, sometimes 1- or 5–7-locular; ovules few–many per loculus; stigma sessile minutely 3-lobed.
Fruit a berry or capsule; seeds few–numerous.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 5 genera, c. 52 species, mainly Southern Hemisphere, chiefly Pacific islands, southern Amer, New Zealand, Australia. Australia: 4 genera, 12 species, Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Asteliaceae, Order: Asparagales)
Text by G. J. Harden
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Tufted rhizomatous herbs, aerial parts usually covered with silvery scales and/or hairs; species of NT and ST||2|
|Shrubs with leaves tufted at apex of woody aerial stems, glabrous; species of NC and CC||Cordyline|
|2||Flowers unisexual, 3-merous; fruit red or orange-yellow; ST species||Astelia|
|Flowers bisexual, 5–7-merous; fruit light green; NT species|
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