bloodwort family


Haemodoraceae is the botanical name of a family of flowering plants. Such a family has been recognized by many taxonomists. It is sometimes known as the "Bloodwort family". Primarily a Southern Hemisphere family, they are found in South Africa, Australia and New Guinea, and in the Americas (from SE U.S.A. to tropical South America).

Perhaps the best known are the widely cultivated and unusual Kangaroo Paws from Australia, of the two closley related genera Anigozanthos and Macropidia.

The APG II system, of 2003 (unchanged from the APG system, of 1998), also recognizes this family and places it in the order Commelinales, in the clade commelinids, in the monocots. The family then includes about a dozen genera, totalling several dozen species, of perennial herbaceous plants.

The leathery leaves are rather large and entire or ensiform, with entire margins. The leaves are enclosed by a sheath with free margins and alternate, distichous (= in two vertical ranks).

The plants are hermaphroditic. Pollinators are primarily insects, but also birds or sometimes a small mammal. The wooly-haired flowers grow at the end of a leafles stalk, in cymes (with lateral branches), panicles or racemes.

Potentially confused plants

The term bloodwort can also apply to Sanguinaria canadensis (more often called bloodroot) or Achillea millefolium (more often called yarrow or common yarrow).



* Haemodoraceae in L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz (1992 onwards). The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, information retrieval. Version: 27th April 2006.
* Monocot families (USDA)
* Flora of North America
* NCBI Taxonomy Browser
* links at CSDL
* Athelas Plants
* family description (Western Australia)

* overview of taxa in Western Australia [144 entries]

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