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There is only one species (Cephalotus follicularis) in this family, confined to sandy or peaty swamps in the far south-west of Western Australia.

Characteristic features of the family Cephalotaceae in Australia include:

  • carnivorous herbs with squat pitcher-traps borne amongst a rosette of leaves
  • flowers small, sweetly perfumed, in an elongate raceme; perianth parts 6 in one whorl, white
  • ovary of 6 ± free carpels
  • fruit of brownish follicles, each with a single seed


Perennial terrestrial herbs. Perennating by crowns. Plants carnivorous. Trapping leaf-lamina broadened into a pitcher with a shielding lid. Internal secretions not obvious. Plants glabrous or with simple, glandular and non-glandular hairs. Leaves alternate and spiral, all or mostly basal, petiolate. Stipules absent. Non-trapping leaf lamina simple, symmetric, elliptic; base cuneate or attenuate; margins entire, ±flat, revolute or recurved; venation pinnate, with the midrib conspicuous, and the tertiary venation reticulate; surfaces not punctate; herbaceous. Plants with all the flowers bisexual. Inflorescences terminal, consisting of cymes. Bracts and bracteoles absent. Pollination by insects. Flowers fragrant; stalked. Floral disc present. Free hypanthium present. Perianth regular, of 1 whorl only, with 6 fused sepaloid segments, valvate in bud, cup-shaped, white, without contrasting markings, herbaceous. Fertile stamens 12, both opposite to and alternating with and free of the perianth segments, free of the ovary and style, distinct from each other, all ±equal or distinctly alternating long and short. Staminodes absent. Anthers dorsifixed, versatile, opening inwards by longitudinal slits, 2-celled, with apical appendages. Ovary superior and sessile. Carpels 6, free or fused at the base only. Style terminal, branching from the base or absent and the stigma ±sessile. Ovules 12 per carpel, sessile; placentation basal. Fruit a dry, dehiscent follicle; the perianth on the maturing fruit dry and persistent or growing larger. Disseminule micro-surface ±smooth, brown, dull. Seeds 1 per fruit. Aril absent. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight.
(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 Cephalotaceae has not yet been published in the Flora of Australia. It will appear in Volume 10.

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


Cephalotus follicularis (flowers)
Photo: M.Fagg M.Fagg 

Cephalotus follicularis (habit)
Photo: M.Fagg M.Fagg 

Cephalotus follicularis (pitchers)
Photo: M.Fagg ANBG