Common name. Currant-bushes. Family Santalaceae.
Habit and leaf form. Shrubs. More or less ‘normal’ plants, or switch-plants; sometimes with the principal photosynthesizing function transferred to stems. Leaves well developed, or much reduced. Plants with roots, or rootless; partially parasitic. On roots of the host. Stem internodes solid. Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Leaves alternate; ‘herbaceous’, or membranous, or modified into spines; petiolate to sessile; gland-dotted, or not gland-dotted; aromatic, or without marked odour; simple; pulvinate. Leaf blades entire; solid; terete; linear (or scale-like); one-veined, or pinnately veined. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire. Leaf anatomy. Hairs absent (usually or nearly so). Extra-floral nectaries absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes, or in spikes, or in corymbs, or in fascicles (or clusters). The terminal inflorescence unit cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary (or lateral or at the bare nodes); inflorescence with a rachis different from the vegetative stems, in solitary flowers the fertile branches not markedly different from the vegetative stems, rarely the raceme develops into a leafy branch. Flowers pedicellate (short); bracteate (leaf-like, scale-like, subtends each flower); ebracteolate; small; regular; (4–)5 merous; cyclic; tricyclic. Free hypanthium present (B); KP describe the floral tube in the Santalaceae but without reference to Leptomeria. Perianth sepaline; (4–)5; 1 -whorled; free, or joined; sepaloid; green, or white, or cream, or yellow, or red; fleshy, or non-fleshy; persistent. Calyx (‘calycode’) (4–)5; 1 -whorled; polysepalous, or partially gamosepalous, or gamosepalous; valvate; regular; fleshy, or non-fleshy; persistent. Androecium (4–)5. Androecial members free of the perianth, or adnate; 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 (opposite the perianth segments and at the base of the segments, alternate to the lobes of the large nectary disc). Anthers basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; bilocular; tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium (2–)3(–5) carpelled. The pistil 1–5 celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth to isomerous with the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious, or eu-syncarpous; inferior. Ovary unilocular, or plurilocular; 1 locular, or 2–5 locular (at the base). Epigynous disk present. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1; usually, slightly 5 - lobed; capitate (or lobed). Placentation free central. Ovules differentiated to not differentiated; in the single cavity 1; 1 per locule; pendulous; hemianatropous to anatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit fleshy, or non-fleshy; indehiscent; a drupe, or a nut; 1 celled; 1 seeded. Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily, or not oily. Seeds without a testa. Cotyledons 2.
Etymology. From the Greek for "thin, slender" and "part"; refers to the slender branchlets.