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In Australia this is a family of many species in 2 genera (Myoporum and Eremophila), characteristically found in low rainfall areas. Elsewhere, a few species of Myoporum occur in Mauritius, East Asia, Malesia, Hawaii and New Zealand, while other small genera occur in the West Indies and Madagascar.

Characteristic features of the family Myoporaceae in Australia include:

  • viscid to resinous shrubs to small trees with exstipulate leaves usually arranged spirally
  • flowers single or in groups of 2 to 9 in leaf axils
  • sepals 5, more or less free, sometimes brightly coloured; corolla tubular, almost regular in Myoporum with 5 lobes, or zygomorphic in Eremophila, white or coloured
  • 4 stamens fused to the corolla, 2 fused carpels
  • fruit indehiscent, commonly woody and splitting near the apex, rarely drupaceous


Evergreen trees or shrubs. Internal secretions not obvious or of essential oils or resin. Plants glabrous, or with simple, dendritic, stellate, clavate, capitate or vesicular glandular or non-glandular, uniseriate hairs, or peltate scales. Leaves alternate and spiral, opposite or whorled, petiolate, subsessile or sessile. Stipules absent. Lamina simple, symmetric, pinnatifid or rarely pinnatisect; lamina/lobes filiform, acicular, subulate, linear, lanceolate, ovate, elliptic, oblanceolate, ovate, oblong, flabellate or orbicular; base cuneate, attenuate, rounded or cordate; margins entire, crenate, dentate or serrate, ±flat, revolute or recurved; one-veined, or the venation pinnate, with the midrib conspicuous or inconspicuous, and the tertiary venation reticulate or not; surfaces punctate or not; herbaceous, leathery or succulent; distinctive odour absent or aromatic. Usually with the flowers bisexual, or rarely with male and flowers occurring on separate plants. Inflorescences axillary, cauliflorous or rarely ramiflorous, consisting of monochasial or ?dichasial cymes or solitary flowers, or apparently umbels. Bracts and bracteoles absent. Pollination by insects or birds. Flowers odourless or fragrant; stalked. Floral disc present; nectaries present on the disc. Perianth of 2 dissimilar whorls. Calyx regular, sometimes irregular; segments free or fused, with 46 sepals or lobes, imbricate or valvate in bud; calyx bell-shaped or urn-shaped, herbaceous, succulent or papery. Corolla regular or irregular; segments fused, with 56 lobes, alternating with or with no clear relationship to the sepals or calyx lobes, imbricate in bud; corolla wheel-shaped or bell-shaped, urn-shaped, funnel-shaped or tubular, rarely cup-shaped, 1 or 2-lipped, with a palate or curved-tubular, white, cream, yellow, orange, red, pink, magenta, purple, violet, blue, green, grey, brown or black, without contrasting markings, or streaked, spotted, etc, membranous; lobes ±entire. Fertile stamens 4 or 5, opposite to the sepals or calyx lobes, at least partly fused to or rarely apparently free from the corolla, free of the ovary and style, distinct from each other, all ±equal or of 2 unequal pairs. Anthers dorsifixed, rarely versatile, opening inwards by longitudinal slits; 2-celled. Ovary superior and sessile. Carpels 2, fused; ovary with 2 (4) locules. Style terminal, single and unbranched with the stigma capitate or in a style cleft. Ovules 3 (4) per locule, stalked; placentation axile. Fruit dry or fleshy, indehiscent; an 'indehiscent capsule' (carcerulus) or drupaceous; the perianth on the maturing fruit deciduous, dry and persistent, or growing larger. Disseminule macro-surface featureless, costate or rarely winged, or with simple or glandular hairs; micro-surface ±smooth, white, cream, magenta, purple, violet, blackish, or drying to brown, dull. Seeds 220 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 Myoporaceae has not yet been published in the Flora of Australia. It will appear in Volume 33.

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


Eremophila decipiens (flower and fruit)
Photo: M.Fagg ANBG 

Eremophila desertii (flowers)
Photo: J.Wrigley ANBG 

Eremophila duttonii (flower)
Photo: M.Fagg ANBG 

Eremophila glabra (flower)
Photo: A.S.George A.S.George