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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26

221. Haemodoraceae R. Brown

Bloodwort Family

Kenneth R. Robertson

Herbs, perennial or rarely annual, rhizomatous, often stoloniferous; sap often red or orange. Stems simple. Leaves mostly basal, distichous, irislike; blade linear, sheathing proximally, folded lengthwise distally, folded portions becoming fused. Inflorescences terminal, cymose or corymbose, many-branched, many-flowered, loose or condensed. Flowers: tepals persistent, 6 in 2 whorls of 3, distinct above level of insertion on ovary, ± equal, aestivation valvate; stamens 3 or 6; filaments elongate; anthers basifixed, 2-locular, often basally sagittate, dehiscence introrse by longitudinal slits; pistil 1, compound, 3-carpellate; ovary inferior or half-inferior to nearly superior, 3-locular with axile placentae, or 1-locular distally with parietal placentae and 3-locular proximally with axile placentae; ovules 1, 3–6, or numerous in each locule, arranged in vertical rows or around margin of peltate placenta, orthotropous or anatropous; style 1, undivided, elongate; stigma 1, terminal, very small. Fruits capsular, dehiscence loculicidal. Seeds discoid and peltate, or elongate and variously curved; endosperm present.

Genera ca. 14, species ca. 80 (2 genera, 2 species in the flora): e North America, Mexico, Central America, n South America, s Africa, New Guinea, Australia.

The two genera of Haemodoraceae found in North America are very different from each other. Lachnanthes belongs to tribe Haemodoreae and is morphologically similar to Dilatris P. J. Bergius of South Africa and Haemodorum Smith of Oceania. The relationships of Lophiola are more obscure and are discussed more fully in the references cited below and under that genus.


Geerinck, D. 1969. Genera des Haemodoraceae et des Hypoxidaceae. Bull. Jard. Bot. Natl. Belg. 39: 47–82. Hopper, S. D., M. F. Fay, M. Rossetto, and M. W. Chase. 1999. A molecular phylogenetic analysis of the bloodroot and kangaroo paw family, Haemodoraceae: Taxonomic, biogeographic and conservation implications. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 131: 285–299. Maas, P. J. M. and H. Maas. 1993. Haemodoraceae. In: Organization for Flora Neotropica. 1968+. Flora Neotropica. 75+ nos. New York. No. 61. Robertson, K. R. 1976. The genera of Haemodoraceae in the southeastern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 57: 205–216. Simpson, M. G. 1990. Phylogeny and classification of the Haemodoraceae. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 77: 722–784. Simpson, M. G. 1993. Septal nectary anatomy and phylogeny of the Haemodoraceae. Syst. Bot. 18: 593–613. Zomlefer, W. B. 1999. Advances in angiosperm systematics: Examples from the Liliales and Asparagales. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 126: 58–62.

1 Stamens 3, longer than tepals; ovary inferior; tepals glabrous adaxially; seeds discoid, peltate, few per locule   1 Lachnanthes
+ Stamens 6, shorter than tepals; ovary half-inferior to nearly superior; tepals with adaxial crest of yellow trichomes; seeds elongate, variously curved, many per locule   2 Lophiola

Lower Taxa


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