Description: Saprophytic herbs lacking chlorophyll.
Leaves reduced to scales.
Flowers solitary, terminal, actinomorphic or sometimes zygomorphic. Hypanthium cylindric, urceolate or campanulate, with a circular throat, surrounded by an ornamental rim. Perianth lobes 6, in 2 whorls, inserted at 1 or 2 levels in hypanthium; outer lobes usually spreading, short and thickened or long and ornamental; inner lobes longer and narrower than the outer lobes, sometimes swollen apically or fused to form a mitre; perianth not persistent in fruit. Stamens 6 or 3, pendent, inserted in throat of hypanthium. Style short, thick, 3-branched with 3 stigmas or capitate with a 3-winged stigma. Ovary inferior, 1-locular with free ± parietal placentas; ovules numerous.
Fruit a circumsciss capsule, crowned by persistent hypanthium and style; seeds numerous.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 4 genera, c. 29 species, tropical to temperate regions of America, Africa, South-East Asia, New Guinea, Australia & New Zealand. Australia: 1 genus, 4 species, Qld, N.S.W., Vic., Tas.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Thismiaceae, Order: Dioscoreales)
This family has often been included in the Burmanniaceae
Text by D. J. Bedford & A. J. Whalen (1993); edited KL Wilson (Jan 2012; Jan 2015)
|One genus in NSW: Thismia|