Description: Perennial herbs, aromatic. Stems erect, ascending, or prostrate, simple or branched.
Leaves alternate, simple and entire; stipules interpetiolately connate or fused to petiole, sometimes forming a sheath.
Inflorescence terminal or leaf-opposed, in dense spikes or racemes, sometimes resembling a single flower when large involucral petaloid bracts are present at base; bracts evident or inconspicuous. Flowers bisexual; perianth absent. Stamens usually 3, 6, or 8, free or fused to ovary base; anthers 2-loculed, longitudinally dehiscent. Ovary superior, 3–5(-7)-locular, carpels sometimes distinct above, fused at base; ovules, if connate: ovules 2–13 per locule; styles as many as locules, free.
Fruit a schizocarp or apically dehiscent capsule. Seed 1 or many; endosperm scanty; perisperm abundant; embryo minute.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 5 genera, c. 6 species, Asia, North America, Central America. Australia: 2 genera, 2 species (naturalised).
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Saururaceae, Order: Piperales)
Text by SF McCune (2022)
Taxon concept: Flora of China vol 4: 108-109, 1999.
Taxa not yet included in identification key