Description: Perennial herbs, mostly evergreen; rhizome woody, rarely corm-like.
Leaves basal or cauline, equitant, usually linear or sword-shaped. Scapes erect, terete, unbranched, but often clasped at base by innermost leaf; inflorescence capitate, enclosed by a pair of large, rigid spathe bracts enclosing 2 groups of 1–6 sessile flowers.
Flowers actinomorphic; fragile, short-lived, opening in succession on sunny days. Perianth tube filiform; outer tepals broad, spreading; inner tepals very small, erect. Stamens exserted from perianth tube; filaments ± fused. Style filiform, entire; stigma 3-lobed or almost fully fused.
Capsule cylindrical, trigonous, sessile; seeds numerous.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 20 species, Australia & Malesia, New Caledonia. Australia: 18 species (endemic), Qld, Vic., Tas., S.A.
Text by T. A. James & E. A. Brown (1993); edited KL Wilson (May 2016); edited RW Jobson (2023)
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Leaves, flowering stems and spathes glabrous; seeds compressed-ovoid, black, smooth, 2â€“2.5 mm long with a prominent white aril confined to one end||Patersonia fragilis|
|Leaves, flowering stems or spathes at least party hairy when young, sometimes glabrescent with age; seeds cylindrical, cylindrical-fusiform to narrowly ovoid, brown, sometimes with a waxy bloom, finely and closely longitudinally striate to ridged, mostly 2.5â€“6 mm long, aril lacking or if present then linear and on one side of the seed for virtually the whole length of the seed, with or without a larger cap-like part at one end||2|
|2||Leaves cauline; flowering stems (above leaves) glabrous; seeds arillate||Patersonia glabrata|
|Leaves all basal; flowering stems (above leaves) pubescent, at least partly; seeds with or without an aril|
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|3||Spathes greyish-brown to mid-brown; seeds arillate, lacking a pit at one end||Patersonia rosea|
|Spathes dark brown to blackish; seeds lacking an aril, with a prominent pit at one end |
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