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.
Perennial shrublets or shrubs, rarely herbs, mostly branch-shedders, erect; branches woody at base, often forming dense mats, lateral branches alternate, secund, spreading. Leaves opposite or alternate, small, mostly obovate; stipules 0. Inflorescence often clearly separated from well-developed vegetative base. Flowers perigynous, bisexual, axillary, sessile or stalked, sometimes in terminal cymes, distal ones often with adnate bracts and bracteoles. Perianth 4- or 5-lobed; tube +/- campanulate. Stamens 8-10, in alternisepalous pairs; filaments flat, tapering upwards; anthers small, yellow. Ovary superior, 2-5-locular, usually glandular; ovule solitary in each locule, pendulous, campylotropous; styles 2(-5), free or united below; stigmatic along inner surface. Fruit a small, weakly hygrochastic or xerochastic capsule. Seeds compressed, reniform to orbicular.
Species +/- 30, Africa; +/- 30 in sthn Afr., Namibia, Botswana, Free State and Northern Cape.
Acanthodium Delile: t. 33 (1813) in part. Blepharacanthus Nees: 385 (1836).
Procumbent annual or perennial herbs or suffrutices. Leaves often in unequal pairs, sometimes spinous-toothed. Inflorescence terminal, spicate, decussate, or scorpioid cymes, sometimes reduced; bracts 8, usually spinous-toothed, accrescent; bracteoles resembling bracts, sometimes 0. Calyx irregular; lobes 4; anticous one emarginate, bifid or bispinose and posticous one larger; lateral lobes 2, small; tube shorter than lobes. Corolla 1-lipped; lip usually with reflexed hairs on both sides; lobes usually 3-5, variable, with laterals smaller than others or obsolete; aestivation imbricate; tube shorter than lobes, subcylindric, with ring of hairs in mouth. Androecium: fertile stamens 4, equal, arising in mouth of corolla tube; filaments terete, with those of anticous stamens flattened above and produced into a protuberance as long as or shorter than anthers; anthers monothecous; theca ciliate, muticous; staminodes 0. Pollen prolate, 3-colpate; surface with shallow reticulations. Disc annular or saucer-shaped. Gynoecium: ovary +/- ellipsoid, with 1 or 2 ovules in each locule, with 2 glandular bodies or cap at apex; style linear; style branches 2, equal, very short, broader than long. Capsule estipitate, with inelastic placental bases. Seeds laterally compressed, ovate, with long, feathery, hygroscopic hairs over whole surface. x = 8, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 23.
Species +/- 80, Africa to East Indies, also Mediterranean; +/- 45 in sthn Afr., widespread, but mostly in arid parts.