Perennial, short stemmed herbs, often rhizomatous, occasionally epiphytic; dioecious, gynodioecious or hermaphroditic (Milligania). Leaves spirally arranged, with open or closed sheaths and linear to lanceolate laminas, usually densely pubescent, at least when young, sometimes whitish to silvery, woolly, especially on the broadened base. Inflorescences terminal, composed of racemes, few-flowered in some spp., sometimes densely covered with silky-woolly, whitish to silvery hairs. Flowers trimerous or up to heptamerous, pedicellate without articulation to sessile, actinoniorphic, pentacyclic. Tepals in 2 whorls, free or basally fused, membranous and bractlike or fleshy. Stamens 6, filaments free or basally adnate to tepals in Milligania. Anthers dorsifixed to basifixed, longitudinally dehiscent, introrse; female flowers with staminodes. Ovary superior, 3(-7)-carpellate, trilocular with axile placentation, or rarely (in Astelia section Astelia) unilocular with parietal placentation; mucilagesecreting intraovarian trichomes often present (Astelia, Collospermum); septal nectaries present; ovules several per locule, anatropous, funicles hairy in some species; styluli short (Milligania) or lacking; stigmas usually (sub-)sessile, sometimes confluent; male flowers with pistillodes, or sometimes bearing (sub-)fertile ovules. Fruit a berry, or capsule in Milligania, few-to many-seeded. Seeds more or less ovate, often angular, sometimes embedded in mucilaginous hairs; testa hard, black; endosperm abundant.
A family of four genera and about 35 spp. from Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Mauritius, Reunion and southern S America.
Bayer, C., Appel, O., Rudall, P.J., Kubitzki, K., 1998. Asteliaceae With kind permission from Springer Science+Business Media: This work is subject to copyright. All rights reserved, whether whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, broadcasting reproduction on microfilm or in any other way, and storage in data banks. Duplication of this publication or parts thereof is permitted only under the provisions of the German Copyright Law of September 9, 1965, in its current version, and permission for use must always be obtained from Springer-Verlag. Violations are liable for prosecution under German Copyright Law.