Subshrubs, sometimes diffuse and scrambling. Leaves +/- anisophyllous, entire or rarely dentate. Inflorescence terminal, spicate, sometimes reduced; bracts ovate or 0; bracteoles 2, ovate, shorter than calyx. Calyx regular; lobes 5, sometimes unequal, sometimes chartaceous and ribbed, with 2 outer segments sometimes bifid at apex; tube shorter than lobes. Corolla 1-lipped; lobes 5, oblong; aestivation imbricate; tube shorter than lobes. Androecium: fertile stamens 4, equal or subequal, arising in middle of corolla tube, exserted; filaments broadly linear; anthers monothecous; theca ciliate, muticous; staminodes 0. Pollen prolate, 3-colpate; surface with shallow reticulations. Disc annular. Gynoecium: ovary ellipsoid, swollen at base, with 1 or 2 ovules in each locule, with large sessile glands near tip; style linear, exserted; style branches 2, equal, cylindriform. Capsule woody, ellipsoid, estipitate, with inelastic placental bases. Seeds oblong, flattened, oblique at base, without hygroscopic hairs; surface rough and convolute or rugose. x = 6 or 7 (1 report, polyploidy).
Species +/- 12, Africa; 6 in sthn Afr., Swaziland and northern and eastern provinces of South Africa.
Suberect, rambling, twining or scandent herbs or suffrutices. Leaves ovate to lanceolate, sometimes cordate or hastate. Inflorescence terminal, compound monochasial cymes or thyrses or of solitary, axillary flowers with long pedicels; bracts 2, large, elliptic or ovate, surrounding each flower and hiding calyx. Calyx regular, usually with a shallow tube with 10-18 linear teeth or rarely shallowly cupular with 5 broad lobes. Corolla regular or subregular; lobes 5, obovate, spreading, contorted in bud; tube much longer than lobes, usually cylindric at base, funnel-shaped above. Androecium: fertile stamens 4, didynamous (arising in pairs) or subdidynamous; arising in lower part of corolla tube, included; filaments broadly linear; anthers 2-thecous; thecae parallel, each apiculate or with 1 apiculus and 2-spurred at base, with connective usually produced into an appendage, ciliate, or covered with multicellular hairs, which are sometimes club-shaped; staminodes 0. Pollen spheroidal; 3-colpate, surface foveolate, pusticulate or spinose. Disc deeply cupular. Gynoecium: ovary with 2 ovules in each locule; style terete, included; stigma funnel-shaped, with 2 infolding lobes and a tuft of hairs on each lobe and with stalked glands or stigma of 2 unequal lobes, one above the other. Fruit a globose capsule, abruptly rostrate, estipitate, with inelastic placental bases; retinacula 0. Seeds thick, broadly elliptic, with a cavity or groove on one face and convex on the other; surface rugose and sometimes tuberculate. x = 8, 9 (7, 10) (high polyploidy).
Species +/- 100, Old World tropics; 11 in sthn Afr., Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and northern and eastern provinces of South Africa.
Shrubby herbs. Leaves simple, petioled, deeply palmately lobed, toothed; stipules linear. Flowers solitary or few, cernuous. Male flowers: sepals 3 or 4, linear, recurved; corolla 3- or 4-lobed, pubescent, persistent, tube campanulate, lobes +/- as long as tube, ovate, slightly winged or keeled; glands 3 or 4, ciliate, at base of corolla tube; stamens 3 or 4, free, anthers oblong, didymous; ovary absent. Female flowers: sepals 3 or 4, hairy, lanceolate, larger than in male flowers; corolla pubescent, larger than in male flowers; tube campanulate, winged; glands at base of corolla tube; ovary subsessile, somewhat compressed, with 3-5 ovules on 3-5 parietal placentas, pubescent; style about as long as ovary, 3-5-lobed. Fruit a capsule enclosed in persistent corolla, 3-5-valved, with persistent style. Seeds subglobose, pitted, narrowly winged (arillate) on one side, pubescent.
Monotypic: Acharia tragodes Thunb., endemic to sthn Afr., Northern Province, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal to Eastern Cape.
Slender, herbaceous climbers, with or without tendrils. Leaves usually palmately 5-7-lobed, with lobes acuminate and serrate, rarely simple, usually long-petioled. Male flowers in short racemes; sepals 4 or 5, linear, spreading; corolla 4- or 5-lobed, tube campanulate, lobes +/- as long as tube, ovate-oblong, ciliate, cohering by cilia; stamens 5, arising at base of corolla tube, alternating with ellipsoid glands, adnate to corolla tube, filaments slightly dilated upwards, anthers oblong, cohering; ovary absent. Female flowers solitary; calyx rudimentary; corolla as for male; stamens absent; glands 5, linear, +/- 3/ 4 length of corolla tube; ovary shortly stalked, +/- cylindric, with several ovules on 4 or 5 parietal placentas; styles 4, short, 2-lobed. Fruit a 4- or 5-valved, elongate, ribbed capsule. Seeds several, subglobose, narrowly winged above, tubercled.
Monotypic: Ceratiosicyos laevis (Thunb.) A.Meeuse, endemic to sthn Afr., Namibia, Northern Province, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern and Western Cape.
Acaulescent perennial herbs with a subhorizontal rhizome and fleshy roots. Leaves rosulate, simple, ovate or cordate, petiolate, discolorous, crenate. Flowers solitary, pedicelled. Male flowers: sepals 5, linear, almost as long as corolla and adnate to it for almost its whole length; corolla 5-lobed, profusely veined, tube deeply campanulate, lobes shorter than tube, reflexed; glands 5, fleshy, situated at base of corolla tube; stamens 5, filaments arising in throat of corolla, shorter than anthers, flattened, anthers didymous with broad connective, pectinate. Female flowers: sepals 4 or 5, linear, adnate to corolla for half their length; corolla 4- or 5-lobed, tube campanulate, lobes much shorter than tube, transversely oblong, erect; glands 4 or 5, fleshy, situated at base of corolla tube; ovary sessile, with 10-15 ovules on 4 or 5 parietal placentas; style broadly linear, 4- or 5-lobed. Fruit a 4- or 5-valved capsule, enclosed in persistent corolla. Seeds several, ellipsoid, arillate.
Monotypic: Guthriea capensis Bolus, endemic to sthn Afr., damp, mountainous situations, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, NE Western and Eastern Cape.
Aizoon L. subgen. Acrosanthes D.Dietr.: 180 (1847).
Prostrate to sprawling perennial undershrubs, branching dichasial with one branch dominant; stems woody at base. Leaves opposite, +/- fleshy, glabrous; stipules 0. Inflorescence on suppressed dichasial branches, seemingly lateral, probably on well-developed vegetative base. Flowers perigynous, bisexual, small, pedunculate, solitary at nodes. Perianth 5-lobed with dorsal appendages; tube short, turbinate; lobes somewhat fleshy. Stamens 8-many, sometimes in groups. Ovary superior, incompletely divided by basal septum into 2 locules, each with 1 basal ovule; stigmas 2, short. Fruit axerochastic capsule, persisting in perianth tube. Seeds reniform to orbicular; testa rugose to tuberculate, sometimes with an aril.
Aizoon L. subgen. Aizoanthemum (Dinter ex Friedrich) Adamson: 44 (l959b).
Annual, variably papillose, prostrate or ascending, much-branched herbs. Leaves alternate, densely papillose, sessile or petiolate, +/- fleshy; stipules 0. Flowers perigynous, bisexual, solitary, terminal, often sessile in fork of branches. Stamens many; filaments connate, flattened towards base. Ovary superior, 5-10-locular, with 2-many pendulous ovules per locule. Fruit a capsule with rounded top, opening completely hygrochastically by long expanding keels reaching from centre of fruit to tip of valve. Seeds reniform, with concentric ridges, light to dark brown. x= 8 (1 report).
Perennial or annual herbs or undershrubs, all parts variably pubescent. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite, often crowded, petiolate or sessile, flat to cylindrical; stipules 0. Inflorescence mostly frondose. Flowers bisexual, often seemingly solitary or in axillary groups. Perianth 4- or 5-lobed; tube +/- campanulate, sometimes short, often strigose; lobes valvate or imbricate, white inside, yellow or pink outside. Stamens few to many, arising from calyx throat, in groups alternating with calyx lobes; filaments filiform. Ovary superior, 4- or 5-locular, sometimes discoid, included in calyx tube, with 2-many pendulous ovules per locule. Fruit a capsule with central impression, somewhat corky or woody, expanding keels long or short, lifting valves only slightly. Seeds small, pear-shaped or reniform, on long funicle, with concentric ridges. x= 8.
Species +/- 25, Mediterranean; 11 in sthn Afr., often introduced as weed into suitable climates, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern, Western and Eastern Cape.