Asteliaceae Dumort.
  • Dumort., Anal. Fam. Pl.: 59, 61 (1829)


This taxon is accepted by WCS higher taxonomy

General Description

Perennial, short stemmed herbs, often rhizomatous, occasionally epiphytic; dioecious, gynodioecious or hermaphroditic (Milligania). Leaves spirally arranged, with open or closed sheaths and linear to lanceolate laminas, usually densely pubescent, at least when young, sometimes whitish to silvery, woolly, especially on the broadened base. Inflorescences terminal, composed of racemes, few-flowered in some spp., sometimes densely covered with silky-woolly, whitish to silvery hairs. Flowers trimerous or up to heptamerous, pedicellate without articulation to sessile, actinoniorphic, pentacyclic. Tepals in 2 whorls, free or basally fused, membranous and bractlike or fleshy. Stamens 6, filaments free or basally adnate to tepals in Milligania. Anthers dorsifixed to basifixed, longitudinally dehiscent, introrse; female flowers with staminodes. Ovary superior, 3(-7)-carpellate, trilocular with axile placentation, or rarely (in Astelia section Astelia) unilocular with parietal placentation; mucilagesecreting intraovarian trichomes often present (Astelia, Collospermum); septal nectaries present; ovules several per locule, anatropous, funicles hairy in some species; styluli short (Milligania) or lacking; stigmas usually (sub-)sessile, sometimes confluent; male flowers with pistillodes, or sometimes bearing (sub-)fertile ovules. Fruit a berry, or capsule in Milligania, few-to many-seeded. Seeds more or less ovate, often angular, sometimes embedded in mucilaginous hairs; testa hard, black; endosperm abundant.

A family of four genera and about 35 spp. from Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Mauritius, Reunion and southern S America.

Ecology

Habitats range from coasts to montane or alpine vegetation on rocks, in bogs or forests. Most species grow on the ground, although some species of Astelia and Collospermum are exclusively or facultatively epiphytic on trees.

Distribution

Apart from several species of Astelia on the Hawaiian archipelago, Asteliaceae is an entirely southern hemisphere family. Milligania is endemic to Tasmania. Collospermum occurs in New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa. Neoastelia is a monotypic segregate from Astelia, endemic to NE New South Wales. Astelia has the widest distribution, ranging from subantarctic islands to New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea, Pacific islands, Mascarenes, Chile and Hawaii. It was presumably dispersed to Hawaii by birds, as it has attractive fruits (in common wjth a relatively high proportion of the Hawaiian flora).

Uses

The fibres of Astelia grandis are used in New Zealand. Fruits of A. nervosa are edible (Dahlgren et al. 1985).

  Bibliography

  • 1 Dumortier, B.C.J. Original publication of Asteliaceae. (1829).
  • 2 Bayer, C., Appel, O. & Rudall, P.J. Asteliaceae. Flowering Plants. Monocotyledons: Lilianae (excluding Orchidaceae) 140-145 (1998).

 Information From

WCS higher taxonomy
  • A All Rights Reserved
  • B

    With kind permission from Springer Science+Business Media: This work is subject to copyright. All rights reserved, whether whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, broadcasting reproduction on microfilm or in any other way, and storage in data banks. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the German Copyright Law of September 9, 1965, in its current version, and permission for use must always be obtained from Springer-Verlag. Violations are liable for prosecution under German Copyright Law.

    All Rights Reserved
World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/ Retrieved 2011 onwards
  • C See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement.