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This small, pantropical family is represented in Australia by two species found in high-altitude rainforests in north Queensland.

Characteristic features of the family Triuridaceae in Australia include:

  • small herbs without chlorophyll and with leaves reduced to alternate scales on the erect, unbranched, fine stems
  • flowers very small, in terminal racemes, unisexual with 6 petal-like perianth segments, each with a small, terminal appendage in the male flowers
  • stamens 3 (male flowers) with long, bristle-like appendages
  • ovary of many free carpels each with a long, brush-like style
  • fruit a small head of follicles


Annual or perennial terrestrial herbs. Perennating by rhizomes. Vegetative reproduction by rhizomes. Leaves ±absent. Stems succulent or not succulent. Chlorophyll absent and the whole plant yellowish or brownish. Internal secretions not obvious. Plants with simple, non-glandular, uniseriate hairs. Leaves much reduced (i.e. to scales, etc), alternate and spiral, sessile. Stipule-like lobes absent. Lamina simple, symmetric, lanceolate, ovate or oblong; base rounded; margins entire, ±flat; midrib inconspicuous, and the tertiary venation not reticulate; surfaces not punctate; herbaceous, membranous or papery. Leaf ligule absent. Male and female flowers occurring together on the same plant. Inflorescences terminal, consisting of racemes. Bracts present. Pollination by insects. Flowers stalked. Floral disc present or absent. Perianth regular, of 1 whorl only, with 6, fused, ±petaloid segments, valvate in bud, red, without contrasting markings; inner perianth parts herbaceous. Fertile stamens 3, opposite to and free of the perianth, free of the ovary and style, distinct from each other or fused by their filaments into an open or closed tube, all ±equal. Anthers dorsifixed or basifixed, not versatile, opening outwards by longitudinal or transverse slits, 4-celled; appendages absent or apical. Ovary superior and sessile. Carpels 1525, free from each other. Style terminal or eccentric, single and unbranched. Ovules 1 per carpel, stalked; placentation basal. Fruit a dry, dehiscent follicle; the perianth on the maturing fruit dry and persistent. Disseminule micro-surface reticulate, brown, glossy. Seeds 1 per fruit. Aril absent. Cotyledons 0. Embryo round or shapeless.
(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 Triuridaceae has not yet been published in the Flora of Australia. It will appear in Volume 39.

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


Sciaphila arfarkiana