Santalaceae  R. Br., nom. cons.

pronounced: san-ta-LAY-see-eye

the sandalwood family

Santalaceaefleshy mesocarp & receptacle The ancient Greek word for a sandal was σανδαλον (sandalon), which in late Greek became σανταλον (santalon). The type genus of the family is Santalum. The  Santalaceae are shrubs, trees and herbs that are semi-parasitic, usually on the roots of other trees, but sometimes on stems. The leaves may be opposite or alternate, or rarely whorled, simple, and, in some genera, reduced to scale-like structures. The green leaves do contain some chlorophyll, which allows the plants to manufacture much of their food, but all Santalaceae are parasitic to some extent and connect to their hosts with haustoria to obtain water and nutrients. Most have small inconspicuous flowers, bisexual or monosexual (in which case the plants may be monoecious or dioecious), occurring singly, although some species have them in groups on short spikes or in leaf axils. The perianth has one whorl, inserted in a receptacle which may be shallow to cup-like. The ovary is solitary, either superior or inferior, and the style is usually very short. The fruit is an indehiscent nut or drupe, the mesocarp often fleshy, the receptacle often enlarged, fleshy and coloured.

 Exocarpos latifolius - Native Cherry

Photograph © Donald Simpson taken at Horseshoe Bay 2010

Page last updated 29th March 2018







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