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Family Burmanniaceae

Description: Annual or perennial, terrestrial or rarely epiphytic herbs, some species saprophytic; with rhizomatous or tuberous roots.

Leaves basal or cauline and alternate, simple, entire, sessile and stem clasping.

Inflorescence terminal; flowers solitary or in racemes or in 2- or 3-branched cymes with each flower opposite a bract. Flowers actinomorphic, 3-merous, bisexual. Perianth tubular sometimes campanulate or urceolate, 3- or 6-angled or winged; lobes 3 or 6, valvate, inner lobes usually smaller than outer lobes or absent. Stamens 3; anthers sessile or on filaments, inserted opposite and just below inner lobes. Ovary inferior, 1-locular with parietal placentation or 3-locular with axile placentation; ovules numerous; style simple, apically 3-lobed with inner surfaces stigmatic.

Fruit a capsule, 3- or 6-ribbed or winged, often crowned by persistent perianth; seeds numerous, minute.

Distribution and occurrence: World: 9 genera, c. 96 species, generally subtropical to tropical regions of South America, Africa, South-East Asia, Australia. Australia: 1 genus, 3 species, all States except S.A.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Burmanniaceae, Order: Dioscoreales)

Circumscription of families in Dioscorales has been challenging. Broader family circumscriptions were adopted in APG II (2003), based on molecular phylogenetic evidence, with Taccaceae and Trichopodaceae (not in N.S.W.) included in Dioscoreaceae and Thismiaceae included in Burmanniaceae. More recent molecular phylogenetic evidence is conflicting, and we here recognise a narrower concept of Dioscoreaceae, and Thismiaceae and Burmanniaceae as distinct families, in contrast with APG II–APGIV. K.L.Gibbons, 30 June 2023.

Text by D. J. Bedford & A. J. Whalen
Taxon concept: National Herbarium of N.S.W., in contrast to APG IV.

One genus in NSW: Burmannia

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