The families of flowering plants.                                                                                                                                                                

Cynomoriaceae Lindl.


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Habit and leaf form. Red herbs (with thick, simple flowering stems). Plants of very peculiar vegetative form (without chlorophyll, the unbranched stems with reduced leaves and terminating in crimson, clavate inflorescences); more or less fungoid. Leaves much reduced. Plants with roots; succulent; totally parasitic (without chlorophyll). Parasitic on roots of the host. Perennial; rhizomatous (the rhizomes bearing haustoria). Leaves alternate; membranous (reduced to deltoid scales).

Leaf anatomy. Stomata present.

Stem anatomy. Primary vascular tissue centrifugal. Secondary thickening absent. Vessel end-walls simple.

Reproductive type, pollination. Unisexual flowerspresent. Plants monoecious, or polygamomonoecious (?). Gynoecium of male flowers pistillodial (small).

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in spikes, or in heads. Inflorescences terminal, crimson, clavate (phalloid), ‘composed of numerous suppressed false capitula’ (Airy Shaw 1973). Flowers minute.

Perianthsepaline (?); 1–5(–8) (male flowers), or 1–5 (female flowers); free, or joined (?).

Androecium 1. Androecial members free of the perianth. Stamens 1. Anthers versatile; introrse. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colpate, or colporate (to colporoidate); 2-celled.

Gynoecium of female and bisexual flowers, on the evidence of the style, 2 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous (but pseudomonomerous); supposedly synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous (pseudomonomerous); inferior. Ovary 1 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1 (flattened, longitudinally grooved, with two stigmatic points); apical. Placentation apical. Ovules in the single cavity 1; pendulous; without integuments, or unitegmic (?); embryology not recorded. and not safely predictable from descriptions of Balanophoraceae.

Fruit non-fleshy; small, indehiscent; a nut. Seeds endospermic; with a testa. Embryo rudimentary at the time of seed release.

Geography, cytology. Holarctic. Temperate to sub-tropical. Mediterranean.

Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli, or Tenuinucelli (?). Dahlgren’s Superorder Balanophoriflorae; Balanophorales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Santalales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; unplaced at Superordinal level; Order Saxifragales.

Species 2. Genera 1; only genus, Cynomorium.


  • Technical details: Cynomorium.
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