Habit and leaf form. Shrubs, or herbs (in Western Australia). Perennial (woody at the base). Leaves cauline. Plants with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves. Mesophytic. Leaves small to large; alternate; spiral; petiolate; non-sheathing; simple. Leaf blades entire; flat; ovate, or elliptic; pinnately veined, or palmately veined; cross-venulate; cuneate at the base, or rounded at the base. Mature leaf blades adaxially pilose; abaxially pilose. Leaves with stipules. Stipules intrapetiolar; concrescent. Leaf blade margins serrate to dentate; flat. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Leaf anatomy. Hairs present. Urticating hairs present. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers functionally male and functionally female (usually), or functionally male, or functionally female. Unisexual flowers present. Plants monoecious (in Western Australia), or dioecious (rarely). The unisexual flowers not conspicuously in separate aggregates. Female flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; without staminodes. Male flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; with pistillodes. Anemophilous.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’. Inflorescence many-flowered. Flowers in cymes (sessile cymules), or in fascicles (or small clusters; cymules or glomerules arranged in a paniculate conflorescence). Inflorescences compound. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences axillary; consisting of axillary panicles of small clusters of cymules or glomerules which are of mixed male and female flowers; without involucral bracts. Flowers pedicellate, or sessile to subsessile; bracteate; minute; regular, or somewhat irregular; somewhat zygomorphic (at least the female flowers); 3–5 merous. Hypogynous disk absent. Perianth sepaline; 4–5 (4–5 in male flowers, 4 in female flowers); 1 -whorled. Calyx present; (the perianth being thus interpreted) 4–5; 1 -whorled; polysepalous (or almost so in male flowers), or gamosepalous (very shortly in male flowers). Calyx lobes markedly longer than the tube. Calyx hairy; imbricate, or valvate; of female flowers, tubular; regular (in male flowers), or unequal but not bilabiate (in female flowers); persistent; non-accrescent. Corolla absent. Androecium present, or absent (in female flowers). Fertile stamens present, or absent (female flowers). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 4–5. Androecial members free of the perianth; all equal; free of one another; 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 4–5; all more or less similar in shape; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous; inflexed in bud; filantherous. Anthers dorsifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent (male flowers). Gynoecium ostensibly 1 carpelled (i.e. with no obvious evidence of more than one carpel). The pistil 1 celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. Gynoecium monomerous (ostensibly), or syncarpous (theoretically); of one carpel (at least, usually with no evidence of syncarpy), or synstylovarious to eu-syncarpous (theoretically); superior. Carpel (if treated as monomeric) shortly stylate; (ifthe gynoecium is considered monomerous) 1 ovuled. Placentation basal. Ovary unilocular; (if the gynoecium is considered as pseudomonomerous) 1 locular. Gynoecium stylate (the style trifid). Styles becoming exserted; deciduous. Placentation if recognised as syncarpous, basal. Ovules in the single cavity 1; funicled, or sessile; ascending; non-arillate; orthotropous to hemianatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy. The fruiting carpel indehiscent; (if the gynoecium is considered monomerous) an achene. Fruit indehiscent; (if the gynoecium is considered syncarpous) achene-like. Dispersal unit the fruit. Fruit 1 seeded. Seeds scantily endospermic, or non-endospermic. Endosperm oily, or not oily. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight.
Geography, cytology, number of species. World distribution: mainly Afric and Madagascar with 3 pantropical species, one of which occurs in northern Australia. Native of Australia. Not endemic to Australia. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland. Northern Botanical Province. A genus of 22 species; 1 species in Western Australia; 0 endemic to Western Australia.
Etymology. After M. Laporte, French naval officer aboard a French exploring ship.