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Genus Cryptandra Family Rhamnaceae

Description: Shrubs, mostly heath-like, branchlets often short and spinose.

Leaves alternate, generally small and often clustered, the lower surface usually whitish tomentose but often concealed by the revolute margins.

Flowers ± sessile, crowded at the ends of branchlets into spike-like inflorescences or clustered into small heads, each flower surrounded by persistent brown bracts. Flowers usually small, mostly hairy without, glabrous within. Hypanthium tubular, ± fused to the base of the ovary but free and produced above the ovary and disc, persistent. Sepals short or ± equal to the length of the hypanthium, persistent. Petals hooded, usually enclosing the anthers. Anthers usually ± sessile on rim of hypanthium. Disc annular.

Capsule enclosed in the base of the hypanthium.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 40 species, endemic Australia. Australia: all States except N.T.

Stenanthemum is here regarded as part of the genus Cryptandra.

Text by G. J. Harden
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Cryptandra armata

 Key to the species 
1Flowers in terminal heads or head-like clusters; plants lacking numerous short lateral branchlets, not spinose; leaves mostly more than 5 mm long and generally more than 2 mm wide (narrower in Cryptandra ericoides and some C. scortechinii)2
Flowers in spike-like inflorescences, usually on short lateral branchlets; many short lateral branches present, sometimes spinose; leaves mostly less than 5 mm long and usually ± 2 mm wide6
2Leaves obovate to obcordate, whitish or rusty-tomentose on both surfacesCryptandra leucophracta
Leaves ovate to linear, mature leaves (excluding floral leaves) more or less glabrous on upper surface
                       Back to 1
3Leaves linear, margins strongly revolute, lower leaf surface not visibleCryptandra ericoides
Leaves not linear, margins flat or recurved but lower leaf surface at least partly visible
                       Back to 2
4Leaves oblong to narrow-oblong, mostly 10–30 mm long; floral leaves with upper surface whitish tomentose, mostly ovate to ellipticCryptandra sp. Floriferous (W.R.Barker 4131)
Leaves ovate to narrow-lanceolate, rarely more or less oblong, mostly 8–15 mm long; floral leaves neither whitish tomentose on upper surface nor ovate to elliptic
                       Back to 3
5Leaves mostly more than 3 mm wide; flowers in few- to many-flowered terminal clusters, brown bracts surround individual flowersCryptandra buxifolia
Leaves usually less than 3 mm wide; flowers in dense terminal heads, brown bracts surround heads as well as individual flowers
                       Back to 4
Cryptandra scortechinii
6Sepals at least as long as the hypanthium7
Sepals much shorter than the hypanthium
                       Back to 1
7Sepals spreading when the flowers open, stamens exserted, filaments erect, c. 1 mm longCryptandra longistaminea
Sepals not spreading and exposing the stamens, anthers almost sessile
                       Back to 6
8Flowers 5–7 mm long, sepals 2–4 mm long; bracts more or less enclosing the hypanthiumCryptandra propinqua
Flowers 2–4 mm long, sepals 1–2 mm long; bracts only covering base of hypanthium
                       Back to 7
Cryptandra amara
9Flowers densely whitish tomentoseCryptandra lanosiflora
Flowers not densely whitish tomentose, hypanthium partly glabrous or with more or less appressed hairs
                       Back to 6
10Hypanthium glabrous in basal half, silky-pubescent above; smaller lateral branches nearly all less than 10 mm long and spinescent; bracts below flowerCryptandra spinescens
Hypanthium hairy on outer surface; branchlets mostly more than 15 mm long, sometimes spinescent; bracts usually enclosing lower part of hypanthium in flower
                       Back to 9
11Flowers in more or less dense heads, bracts acuminate; hypanthium covered with long appressed hairs; leaves more or less terete, 4–10 mm longCryptandra ericoides
Flowers solitary or in few- to many-flowered spike-like clusters, bracts broad and obtuse; hypanthium covered with only short or with short and some longer appressed hairs; leaves mostly less than 5 mm long, more or less terete to oblong or more or less obovate or elliptic
                       Back to 10
Cryptandra amara

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