Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Monoecious, epiphytic semi-stem-parasites, undershrubs or herbs, perennial, less than 10 cm high, glabrous except the floral clusters; stems articulated at nodes; internodes often flattened or terete, if flattened, the flattening being always in the same plane, forming a cladode. Leaves rudimentary, opposite, united in pairs to form collars at the top of internodes subtending floral clusters. Flowers in cup-like involucres at the apex of internodes, developing successively in lateral clusters, surrounded and separated by multicellular sparsely branched thick-walled brown hairs (derived from floral bracts) often forming a raised mound (floral cushion); floral clusters sometimes coalescing and completely encircling the stem at each node; first formed flower male and arising in axillary position and subsequent flowers mostly female and developing laterally to the first and often also in further transverse rows below the first. Male flowers: globose in bud, attenuate at the base and shortly stipitate, 3-merous; perianth lobes persistent, triangular, valvate; stamens 3, 2-locular, introrse, connate into a globose synandrium with 6- loculi opening towards the centre with the slits and pouring out the pollen from a single apical pore. Female flowers: globose, clavate or pear-shaped in the bud state, usually less than 0.5 mm long, 3-merous; perianth lobes triangular, persistent, valvate; ovary inferior; stigma nippleshaped. Fruits clavate, pear-shaped or ellipsoid, up to 3 mm long crowned by persistent perianth lobes, containing one flattened seed in the upper portion, explosively dehiscing.

Asia, Australia and Africa, from Japan to Australia and New Zealand, extending eastwards to several Pacific Archipelagos and westwards to Indian Ocean Islands and Ethiopia, about 30 species; one species in India.

Notes. The hairs, which form the floral cushion, are probably modifications of very densely fimbriate floral bracts, and hence are probably homologous to the hairs of some Ginalloa species.

Literature. DANSER, B. H. (1937). A revision of the genus Korthalsella. Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg. Ser.3, 14: 115 - 159.

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