Anthocercis Labill., Nov. Holl. Pl. 2: 19 (1806); from the Greek anthos (a flower) and kerkis (a ray), in reference to the narrow corolla-lobes.
Type species: A. littorea Labill.
Shrubs, glabrous, or pubescent with glandular or non-glandular hairs. Leaves alternate or rarely clustered, simple. Inflorescence cyme-, raceme- or panicle-like, terminal and axillary; flowers rarely solitary. Flowers bisexual, actinomorphic or slightly zygomorphic, each subtended by a pair of opposite bracts. Calyx campanulate to cupular, 5lobed. Corolla narrowly tubular with spreading limb, white, cream or yellow, with dark striations in tube; limb 5lobed, the lobes induplicate in bud. Stamens 4, didynamous or subequal, inserted at base of corolla-tube; a staminode sometimes present; anthers bilocular, not cohering, dorsifixed, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary bilocular; stigma capitate, very shortly bilobed. Fruit a smooth capsule, opening from apex by two bifid valves, the lower part enclosed by persistent calyx. Seeds sub-reniform. n = 36; L.Haegi, Telopea 2: 176 (1981).
A genus of 10 species endemic in southern temperate Australia, with its centre of distribution in the South West Botanical Province of W.A. All species contain tropane alkaloids; some have occasionally caused poisoning in children or have been suspected of poisoning stock.
G.Bentham, Anthocercis (in Scrophulariaceae), in A. de Candolle (ed.), Prodr. 10: 191192 (1846); J.Miers, On the genera of the tribe Duboisieae, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. ser. 2, 11: 370375 (1853); G.Bentham, Anthocercis p.p. (in Scrophularineae), Fl. Austral. 4: 474481 (1868); L.Haegi, Australian genera of the Solanaceae, in J.G.Hawkes et al., Linn. Soc. Symp. Ser. 7: 121124 (1979); L.Haegi, A conspectus of Solanaceae tribe Anthocercideae, Telopea 2: 173180 (1981).
Changes since the Flora of Australia treatment
A new species from
Phylogenetic studies by Garcia & Olmstead (2003) on the Tribe Anthocercideae using two chloroplast DNA regions indicated thatAnthocercis is monophyletic.
Reference: V.F.Garcia & R.G.Olmstead (2003). Phylogenetics of Tribe Anthocercideaea (Solanaceae) based on ndhF and trnL/F sequence data. Systematic Botany 28: 609-615.
Key to species
Key from Flora of Australia 29: 6-7 (1982). The later described A. sylvicola has been added to the original key.
1 Branchlets spinescent
2 Branches and leaves conspicuously pubescent
3 Flowers white to cream; spines pubescent; corolla lobes glabrous at apex
3: Flowers green and purple; spines usually glabrous; corolla lobes with hair tufts at apex
2: Branches and leaves glabrous or sparsely pubescent
4 Inflorescence usually branched; pedicels pubescent; most leaves at least 3 mm wide
4: Inflorescence not branched; pedicels glabrous or sparsely pubescent; most leaves 0.52.5 mm wide
5 Corolla-lobes with tuft of hairs at apex
5: Corolla-lobes glabrous at apex
1: Branchlets not spinescent
6 Plant glandular-pubescent, rarely almost glabrous
7 Leaves 1030 mm wide
7: Leaves 0.510 mm wide
8 Corolla 916 mm long, the lobes 49 mm long
8: Corolla 1528 mm long, the lobes 1020 mm long
9 Leaves, pedicels and calyces conspicuously glandular hairy; corolla-tube narrowly funnel-shaped
9: Leaves, pedicels and calyces glabrous or sparsely pubescent with inconspicuous hairs; corolla-tube inflated, slightly constricted at apex
6: Plant glabrous, rarely pubescent, the branches sometimes with prickles
10 Leaves 12 mm wide, few at flowering; flowers in small groups
10: Leaves 435 mm wide; branches leafy; inflorescence raceme- or panicle-like
11 Plant much-branched from base; inflorescence a leafy raceme; corolla-tube not more than one-third of corolla length, the lobes narrow
11: Plant with 1 or 2 main stems; inflorescence a pyramidal panicle leafless except at base; corolla-tube one-third to one-half of corolla length, the lobes broad