Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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V. N. Sanjai & N. P. Balakrishnan

Herbs, perennial, shrubs or trees, usually partial parasites, mostly on roots or sometimes on stems of hosts, sometimes growing independently as epiphytes. Leaves alternate or opposite, simple, entire, foliaceous or reduced to scales and exstipulate, pinnately or palmately veined. Inflorescence a dichasial raceme, spike or head, or the flowers solitary and axils. Flowers: minute, regular, monochlamydous, bisexual, unisexual or polygamous with perigynous or epigynous disc. Perianth simple, tubular; tube reduced in male; in female the lower part adnate to the ovary, (3 -) 4 (- 5)-lobed, toothed or cleft above, valvate in bud, often petaloid; stamens 3 or 5, inserted opposite to the perianth lobes and between the lobes of the disc; filaments short, broad; anthers 2-loculed, dehiscing longitudinally; disc epigynous or perigynous; ovary inferior, semi-inferior or superior, unilocular with 1 - 4 ovules suspended from the top of the free central placenta; style short; stigma entire or 3 - 5-lobed. Fruits indehiscent nuts or fleshy drupes; seeds solitary, without testa and with a small embryo at the end of the large endosperm, which is copious and fleshy.

Mostly in the tropical and subtropical regions, but some extending to temperate regions also, ca 34 genera and ca 540 species; 6 genera and 12 species in India.

Literature. NASIR, Y. J. (1984). Santalaceae. In: E. Nasir & S. I. Ali (eds.). Flora of Pakistan, no. 159: 1 - 6. PHILCOX, D. (1999). Santalaceae. In: Dassanayake & Clayton (eds). Rev. Handb. Fl. Ceylon 13: 198 - 202.


1 a. Plants epiphytic, stem-parasites 2
b. Plants terrestrial, root-parasites 3
2 a. Leaves present 1. Dufrenoya
b. Leaves absent 3. Phacellaria
3 a. Herbs, up to 35 cm high; leaves linear 7. Thesium
b. Shrubs or trees, up to 10 m tall; leaves elliptic, ovate, obovate or orbicular 4
4 a. Leaves opposite; flowers bisexual 5. Santalum
b. Leaves alternate; flowers unisexual 5
5 a. Thorns present; flowers spicate 6. Scleropyrum
b. Thorns absent; flowers solitary, clustered or cymose 6
6 a. Deciduous shrubs or small trees, up to 10 m tall; leaves 10 – 18 x 3 – 8 cm, pubescent beneath; perianth lobes 5; stigma capitate 4. Pyrularia
b. Evergreen shrubs, up to 3 m tall; leaves 2.5 – 4 x 0.5 – 2 cm, glabrous; perianth lobes 3 or 5; stigma 3- or 4-fid 2. Osyris

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