Common name. Flagellaria Family.
Habit and leaf form. Lianas (with dichotomous branching from sympodial rhizomes). Perennial; plants with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves. Young stems cylindrical. Stem internodes solid. Rhizomatous (these sympodial). High climbing (the stems canelike); tendril climbers (the tendrils representing modification of the lamina tips). Stem growth conspicuously sympodial (frequently with equal dichotomies above). Mesophytic. Leaves alternate; distichous; petiolate; sheathing. Leaf sheaths with joined margins. Leaves simple. Leaf blades entire; lanceolate; parallel-veined; without cross-venules. Leaves eligulate. Leaf blade margins entire. Leaves with a persistent basal meristem, and basipetal development. Vernation convolute (below), or circinnate (at the tips); apically circinnate. Vegetative anatomy. Plants with silica bodies (globose, in the fibrous tissue associated with the vascular bundles). Leaf anatomy. Leaf blade epidermis without differentiation into ‘long’ and ‘short’ cells. Guard-cells ‘grass type’. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries absent (nectaries lacking). Probably anemophilous.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in panicles; not in ‘spikelets’. Inflorescences terminal; panicles. Flowers bracteate; 3 merous; cyclic; pentacyclic. Perigone tube absent. Hypogynous disk absent. Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; 2 -whorled (3+3); isomerous; free; petaloid; similar in the two whorls (equal or subequal); white. Androecium 6. Androecial members free of the perianth; free of one another; 2 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens, or including staminodes. Staminodes 1–3. Stamens (3–)6; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth to diplostemonous. Anthers sagittate basifixed; non-versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; latrorse; tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 2 celled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to synstylovarious; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 2 locular. Styles 3 (sometimes connate basally); free, or partially joined; apical. Stigmas 3 (the styles stigmatic for almost their entire lengths); dry type; papillate; Group II type. Placentation axile. Ovules 1 per locule; pendulous; non-arillate; orthotropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit fleshy; indehiscent; a drupe (red or black, with one pyrene). Seeds copiously endospermic. Endosperm not oily (starchy). Seeds with starch. Embryo rudimentary at the time of seed release (minute, capping the endosperm).
Geography, cytology, number of species. World distribution: Africa, southeast Asia and Malaysia, northeast Australia. 2n = 38. 4 species.