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The great majority of members of the Goodeniaceae are endemic to Australia, where they occur in almost every habitat except tropical rain forest. They are particularly diverse in south-western Western Australia.

Characteristic features of the family Goodeniaceae in Australia include:

  • annual or perennial herbs or shrubs with alternate, simple leaves
  • flowers distinctively zygomorphic, usually rather flat-faced or the petals spreading like the fingers of a hand
  • petals usually with a thickened, triangular central zone and prominent, often crinkled wings, usually brightly coloured, often yellow but sometimes orange, pink, red, reddish-brown, blue, white or purple
  • stamens 5; style with a distinctive cup-shaped (indusiate) end, often presenting the pollen after the anthers wither
  • ovary usually inferior or part-inferior, 1-2-locular; fruit usually a capsule with few to numerous seeds


Evergreen trees, or shrubs, or rarely woody or herbaceous scrambling vines, or annual, biennial or perennial terrestrial herbs. Perennating by taproots or crowns. Vegetative reproduction absent or rarely by stolons. Stem internodes terete, strongly flattened or distinctly angular. Internal secretions not obvious. Plants glabrous, or with simple, dendritic, stellate, clavate, capitate or vesicular glandular or non-glandular, unicellular, uniseriate or multiseriate hairs, or peltate scales. Leaves well developed or much reduced (i.e. to scales, etc), alternate and spiral, or distichous, or opposite or in whorls of 7 or more, cauline, all or mostly basal, or both basal and cauline if herbs, petiolate, subsessile or sessile. Stipules absent; stipellae absent. Lamina simple or once compound, ternate or imparipinnate, symmetric, pinnatifid or pinnatisect; lamina/leaflets filiform, acicular, subulate, linear, lanceolate, ovate, elliptic, oblanceolate, spathulate, ovate, oblong or orbicular; base cuneate, attenuate, rounded, cordate or lobed or auriculate; margins entire, crenate, dentate, serrate or sinuate, ±flat, revolute or recurved; one-veined, or the venation pinnate, with the midrib conspicuous or inconspicuous, and the tertiary venation not reticulate; surfaces not punctate; herbaceous, succulent, membranous or papery; distinctive odour absent or aromatic. All the flowers bisexual. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, consisting of capitula, glomerules, spikes, racemes, panicles, thyrses, umbels, dichasial or monochasial cymes, or solitary flowers. Bracts present. Bracteoles present or absent. Pollination by insects or birds. Flowers odourless or fragrant, sessile or stalked (rarely, by misinterpretation). Floral disc absent; nectaries present on the carpels. Perianth of 2 dissimilar whorls. Calyx regular; segments free or fused, with 5 sepals or lobes, imbricate or valvate in bud; calyx cup-shaped or tubular, herbaceous or papery. Corolla irregular; segments fused, or some fused and others free, with 5 petals or lobes, alternating with the sepals or calyx lobes, valvate in bud; corolla tubular, 1- or 2-lipped with or without palate, white, cream, yellow, orange, red, pink, blue, grey, brown or black, without contrasting markings, or streaked, spotted, etc, membranous; claws absent; lobes ±entire, or trifid, trilobed or more divided, or ciliate or fimbriate. Fertile stamens 5, opposite to the sepals or calyx lobes, free of the corolla, at least partly fused with the ovary and style, distinct from each other or fused by their anthers, all ±equal. Anthers basifixed, not versatile, opening inwards by longitudinal slits, 2-celled; appendages absent or apical. Ovary superior and sessile, or part-inferior, or inferior. Carpels 1–4, fused; ovary with 1–2 or 4 locules. Style terminal, single and unbranched with the stigma truncate, clavate or bilobed. Ovules 1–numerous per locule, stalked; placentation basal, parietal or axile. Fruit a dry, dehiscent septicidal or loculicidal capsule, a schizocarp forming mericarps, or a fleshy, indehiscent drupe; the perianth on the maturing fruit deciduous or dry and persistent. Disseminule macro-surface featureless, winged, or with mucilage when wetted; micro-surface ±smooth, tuberculate, reticulate, alveolate, papillate, aculeate, foveate, granulate or verrucose, white, cream, blue, brown, grey or black, without contrasting markings, or conspicuously patterned, glossy or dull. Seeds 1–numerous per fruit. Aril present or 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 Goodeniaceae has been published in:
Flora of Australia 35: 4-300.

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


Anthotium rubriflorum (flowers)
Photo: J.Wrigley © ANBG 

Coopernookia strophiolata (flowers)
Photo: M.Fagg © ANBG 

Dampiera rosmarinifolia (flowers)
Photo: D.Greig © ANBG 

Goodenia hederacea var. alpestris (flowers)
Photo: A.S.George © A.S.George