Herbs, monoecious or dioecious, fleshy, parasitic on roots or rhizomes of various hosts. Rhizome usually branched, usually with scales or warts and/or lenticels. Flowering shoots endogenously arising from rhizome; scapes with or without leaves, unbranched. Leaves scaly, opposite or alternate and distichous or spiraled, sometimes whorled, rarely contorted or clustered, without stomata. Inflorescences unisexual or androgynous, terminal, spadix or spadixlike structure covered with minute branches; branches frequently subtended by variously modified bract. Flowers unisexual, pedicellate or sessile. Male flowers: larger than female flowers, 3(or 4 or more) -merous. Perianth apically lobed or dentate, sometimes absent; lobes valvate. Stamens 1 or 2 when perianth absent or usually as numerous as and opposite to perianth lobes when perianth present; filaments free or connate into a synandrium; anthers free or connate, 2-loculed or more, dehiscent by slits. Female flowers: congested on branches or basally on spadicles and/or shoot axis. Perianth absent or reduced and 2- to irregularly lobed, adnate to ovary. Ovary inferior. styles 1 or 2; stigmas slightly capitellate. Fruit a 1-seeded achene.
The Family Balanophoraceae is further organized into finer groupings including:
- Genus (38): Acroblastum · Balaneikon · Balania · Balaniella · Balanophora · Bivolva · Blepharochlamys · Caldasia · Cephalophyton · Chlamydophytum · Corynaea · Cynopsole · Dactylanthus · Ditepalanthus · Exorhopala · Hachettea · Haematolepis · Helosis · Ichthyosma · Itoasia · Juelia · Langsdorffia · Lathrophytum · Lophophytum · Lytogomphus · Mystropetalon · Ombrophytum · Phaeocordylis · Phelypea · Phyllocoryne · Polyplethia · Rhopalocnemis · Sarcophyte · Scybalium · Senftenbergia · Sphaerorhizon · Thonningia · Thyrsine
- Species: ZipcodeZoo has pages for 283 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in the Family Balanophoraceae.
Plants monoecious or dioecious. Rhizome branched or unbranched, containing sticky wax (balanophorin), smooth or rugose with small scaly warts and/or stellate lenticels. Leaves opposite, alternate and distichous or spiral, or whorled, sessile, fleshy or scale-like. Inflorescences spadixlike, cylindric, ellipsoid, ovoid-globose, or globose, enlarged after anthesis. Male flowers: pedicellate or sessile, subtended by U-shaped or variously reduced bracts. Perianth 3-6-lobed; lobes ovate, lanceolate, or orbicular, concave, isomorphic or heteromorphic, valvate, reflexed at anthesis. Stamens in a hemispheric or ± elongated synandrium; anthers bilocular, usually as numerous as perianth lobes, straight or sometimes U-shaped with a bend near apex of synandrium, occasionally variously fused or interrupted into locelli, transversely or longitudinally dehiscent; pollen white, subconical or globose, smooth or bullate. Spadicles minute, subclavate to clavate, very numerous, congested on female inflorescence. Female flowers: composed of a pistil, congested on main axis or also on basal stipe of spadicles. Ovary ellipsoid to fusiform, 1-loculed, attenuate toward both ends; ovules anatropous, shortly stiped. Style elongated, persistent. Fruit exocarp crustaceous. [more]
The wood rose, Dactylanthus taylorii, is a fully parasitic plant that grows on the roots of certain trees in New Zealand. The host tree responds to the presence of Dactylanthus by forming a burl-like structure that resembles a fluted wooden rose (hence the common name). MÄori names for wood rose are pua o te reinga or pua reinga, "flower of the underworld" and waewae atua, "feet of gods". It is the only species in the Dactylanthus genus. One of its most common host trees is pate or seven-finger (Schefflera digitata). [more]
Plants monoecious or dioecious. Rhizome thick, smooth or irregularly corrugate, containing abundant starch, with sheathlike extension surrounding base of scape. Leaves on male shoots scale-like but absent on female shoots. Scape robust. Inflorescences spadixlike, oblong-cylindric, covered by numerous scale-like bracts and flowers; scale-like bracts thick, multiangular peltate, complanate, margin adherent, caducous at anthesis. Male flowers: perianth tubular, apex irregularly dentate or 4-lobed. Stamens connate into a synandrium; anthers united into a head, with 20-30 locelli in 2 or 3 layers. Female flowers: perianth adnate to ovary, forming 2 low crests apically on ovary. Ovary ellipsoid, 1-loculed; ovules anatropous. Styles 2, elongated; stigmas capitate. Fruit narrowly oblong. Seeds globose. [more]
More info about the Genus Thyrsine may be found here.
- Tam Pui-cheung. 1988. Balanophoraceae. In: Kiu Hua-shing & Ling Yeou-ruenn, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 24: 250268.
- Shumei Huang & Jin Murata "Balanophoraceae". in Flora of China Vol. 5 Page 272. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org.
- Shumei Huang & Jin Murata "Balanophora". in Flora of China Vol. 5 Page 272. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org.
- "Rhopalocnemis". in Flora of China Vol. 5 Page 272. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org.
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