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Aerial stem-parasitic shrubs, often robust, with epicortical runners bearing secondary haustoria. Leaves mostly opposite; venation pinnate. Inflorescences axillary, an involucrate head composed of 6-12 opposite pairs of dichasia (triads) crowded on the flattened apex of a contracted axis; involucral bracts enlarged, decussate, imbricate, rigid; floral bracts single under each flower. Fruit ellipsoid to globular, usually with a persistent nipple-like style base.


Asia-Tropical: Borneo present, from Peninsular Malaysia to New Guinea present
Endemic to Malesia; 9 species distributed from from Peninsular Malaysia to New Guinea. The major centre of diversity and species richness is Borneo.


The process of anthesis is unusual and characteristic, the corolla lobes becoming S-shaped at their point of reflexion prior to their separation from each other,and usually separating downwards before the lobes finally split apart at the apex. In some species it is not certain whether the involucral bracts are deciduous or persistent after anthesis. For discussion of inflorescence and floral characters see Barlow, Blumea 38 (1993) 115.


Other genera with involucrate capitate inflorescences, such as Lepidaria and Thaumasianthes, may not be closely related owing to convergent evolution of this inflorescence state (see Fig. 32, 44). For further discussion on relationships and differences between these genera see