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Leafy shrubs parasitic on other woody plants. Epicortical roots in a number of species, mostly at base, sometimes also from stems. Leaves alternate, decussate or whorled. Inflorescences extremely variable; flowers mostly in monads, dyads, or triads with fused bracts and/or bracteoles. Flowers mostly perfect, dioecious in some species, then flowers with aborted organs of opposite sex; calyx reduced to a very inconspicuous calyculus; petals conspicuous, (3-)4-7, fused or not, often brightly colored when flower perfect; stamens epipetalous, anthers dorsi- or basifixed, mostly dimorphic; style in many genera slender and long. Fruit a 1-seeded berry of diverse colors and size; seed endospermous in all but Psittacanthus. (x = 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 24).


Guianas present, New World present, tropics and subtropics of all continents present
About 700 species distributed over some 60 genera, largely in the tropics and subtropics of all continents; 15 genera in the New World; 37 species in 8 genera in the Guianas.

New synonyms:

  • Cladocolea elliptica Kuijt to Cladocolea micrantha (Eichler) Kuijt
  • Phthirusa angulata K. Krause to Phthirusa stelis (L.) Kuijt
  • Psittacanthus corynocephalus Eichler to Psittacanthus acinarius (Mart.) Mart.
  • Psittacanthus collum-cygni Eichler to Psittacanthus eucalyptifolius (Kunth) G. Don

New typifications:

  • Phthirusa seitzii Krug & Urb.
  • Psittacanthus cucullaris (Lam.) Blume


(x = 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 24).1
1. 007


In the majority of New World LORANTHACEAE, stamens are of 2 sets, inserted at different heights on the subtending petals, reaching different heights, and often of somewhat different shapes. This is true even for such small-flowered genera as Oryctanthus, Oryctina, and Phthirusa. Additionally, some species exhibit considerable sexual dimorphism, non-functional stamens being present in female flowers and a non-functional style in the male.
Loranthus patrisii DC. (Prodr. 4: 288. 1830) does not belong to the Loranthaceae. Its type (French Guiana, Patris s.n., G-DC) is a species of Combretum (Combretaceae), probably C. laxum Jacq.