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Two species of Byblis, the only genus in this endemic family, occur in swampy ground, B. gigantea in south-western Western Australia, and B. linifolia in northern Australia.

Characteristic features of the family Byblidaceae in Australia include:

  • perennial herbs, sometimes sub-shrubby, all parts covered with glistening, insect-trapping glandular hairs
  • leaves linear, coiled (circinnate) when young
  • flowers pink or bluish, open, with toothed or fringed petals
  • stamens five, grouped at the centre of the flower and deflexed towards one side
  • ovary superior; fruit a capsule with numerous, fine seeds


Evergreen shrubs or annual or perennial terrestrial herbs perennating by taproots or crowns. Plants carnivorous by using sticky glands or glandular hairs on the leaves and/or the stems. Internal secretions not obvious. Plants with clavate, capitate or vesicular glandular, uniseriate hairs. Leaves alternate and spiral, cauline if herbs, sessile. Stipules absent. Lamina simple, symmetric, filiform, acicular, subulate or linear; base attenuate; margins entire, involute or incurved; one-veined, with the midrib inconspicuous, and the tertiary venation not reticulate; surfaces not punctate; herbaceous. Plants with all the flowers bisexual. Inflorescences axillary, consisting of solitary flowers. Bracts and bracteoles absent. Pollination by insects. Flowers odourless; stalked. Floral disc absent; nectaries absent. Perianth regular, of 2 dissimilar whorls. Calyx segments free or fused, with 5 sepals or lobes, valvate in bud, herbaceous. Corolla segments fused, with 5 lobes, alternating with the sepals or calyx lobes, imbricate in bud; corolla wheel-shaped or cup-shaped, white, pink, magenta, purple or violet, without contrasting markings, membranous; claws absent; lobes ±entire. Fertile stamens 5, opposite to the sepals or calyx lobes, at least partly fused to the corolla, free of the ovary and style, distinct from each other, all ±equal. Anthers basifixed, not versatile, opening terminally or inwards by pores or by short slits; 2-celled. Ovary superior and sessile. Carpels 2, fused; ovary with 2 locules. Style terminal, single and unbranched and the stigma capitate. Ovules numerous per locule, stalked; placentation axile. Fruit a dry, dehiscent loculicidal capsule; the perianth on the maturing fruit deciduous or dry and persistent. Disseminule micro-surface ±reticulate, black, dull. Seeds numerous per fruit. Aril absent. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight or curved.
(Note: this description has been generated from the coded data compiled for the key. Any errors in the key data will be reflected in the descriptions.)

A treatment of the family Byblidaceae has not yet been published in the Flora of Australia. It will appear in Volume 10.

Australian genera of Byblidaceae (as recognised for the Flora of Australia)


Byblis gigantea (flower)
Photo: J.Wrigley ANBG 

Byblis liniflora (flowers)
Photo: B.Allwright B.Allwright