Synonyms: Viscaceae APNI*
Description: Shrubs, trees and herbs, semiparasitic, usually on roots, or hemiparasitic aerial stem-parasitic shrubs, glabrous or stellate-hairy; haustorial attachment single, without external runners.
Leaves opposite or alternate, rarely whorled, simple, often reduced and scale-like or apparently absent, entire, sometimes caducous, stipules absent.
Inflorescence a raceme, spike, panicle, cyme or cluster, or reduced to a single flower, axillary or terminal, usually bracteate, sometimes bracteolate. Flowers actinomorphic, bisexual or unisexual and then plants monoecious or dioecious. Perianth 1-whorled; tepals 3–5 (rarely 6), valvate, inserted on a shallow to cup-like receptacle. Stamens as many as tepals and opposite them; anthers fused to tepals or to each other or free. Ovary solitary, superior or inferior, 1–5 locular with 1–5 ovules or the ovules not differentiated. Disc present, often thickened and lobed at the margin, rarely absent. Style usually very short, stigma entire or 2–5 lobed.
Fruit an indehiscent nut, drupe or berry-like, the mesocarp often somewhat fleshy, receptacle often enlarged, fleshy and coloured; seed 1, endosperm present.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 43 genera, c. 900 species, ± cosmopolitan, chiefly tropical and warm dry regions. Australia: 14 genera, 60 species (c. 50 species endemic), all States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Santalaceae, Order: Santalales)
This family concept incorporates Viscaceae, which has commonly been separated, but is embedded within Santalaceae.
Text by B. Wiecek & A.L. Quirico; updated by R.L. Barrett, Aug. 2021
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Herbs or shrubs, with roots in soil||2|
|Epiphytes, rootless parasites or hemiparasites on the aerial parts of other plants||8|
|Leaves reduced, rudimentary or scale-like, or absent|
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|3||Leaves alternate; ovary superior||Exocarpos|
|Leaves opposite, rarely alternate; ovary inferior or half-inferior|
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|4||Slender perennial herbs; inflorescences 1-flowered; fruit a nut enclosed by a persistent hypanthium; peduncles united at base with the subtending leaf||Thesium|
|Shrubs or small trees|
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|5||Wiry glabrous shrub; leaves absent; branches resinous and lustrous||Omphacomeria|
|Shrubs or trees, leaves present at least on young branches though often caducous; branches neither resinous nor lustrous|
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|6||Flowers in spikes or clusters, each flower in a notch of the rachis or in the axil of a minute scale-like bract; ovary superior; fruit fleshy, pedicel often enlarged and fleshy below drupe||Exocarpos|
|Flowers in axillary racemes or clusters or solitary, subtended by a bract or bracteoles; ovary inferior or half-inferior; fruit dry or fleshy, crowned by the persistent perianth|
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|7||Flowers solitary, subtended by an often caducous bract; drupe succulent||Leptomeria|
|Flowers clustered, occasionally solitary, subtended by 2 or more bracts; drupe scarcely succulent|
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|Plants apparently leafless (minute scale-like leaves present on new growth)|
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|9||Plants with a dense indumentum of dendritic and stellate hairs, especially on young parts; tepals persistent on fruit||Notothixos|
|Plants with vegetative parts entirely glabrous; tepals not persistent on fruit|
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|10||Fruit less than 2.5 mm long, with persistent tepals; flowers in clusters at nodes, separated by bracts||Korthalsella|
|Fruit more than 3 mm long, without persistent tepals; flowers in axillary inflorescences, subtended by bracts|
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