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Family Profile

Acanthaceae

Family Description

A family of about 250 genera and perhaps 2500 species, pantropic with a few species in temperate regions; 22 genera occur naturally in Australia.

Genera

Acanthus - A genus of eight to ten species in Europe, Africa, India, Polynesia and Australia; two species occur naturally in Australia. Barker (1986); Wightman (1989).

Asystasia - A genus of 40-50 species in tropical Africa, Asia and Malesia; two species occur naturally in Australia.

Barleria - A genus of 80-120 species in the African and Asian tropics with a few in tropical America; the four species recorded for Australia are introduced Barker (1986).

Brillantaisia - A genus of about 40 species in Africa and Madagascar; one species has become naturalised in NEQ.

Dicliptera - A genus of 80-150 species in tropical and subtropical regions of the world; six species occur naturally in Australia. Barker (1986).

Dipteracanthus - A genus of about 80 species in tropical and subtropical regions of the world; two species occur naturally in Australia. Barker (1986).

Eranthemum - A genus of about 30 species in Asia; one species occurs naturally in Australia and another has become naturalised.

Graptophyllum - A genus of about 15 species mainly in the Pacific region but also in China and West Africa. (Barker 1986); also occurs in New Guinea and Australia; four or five species occur naturally in Australia and another has possibly become naturalised. Barker (1986, 1996); Bean & Sharpe (1991).

Harnieria - A genus in need of revision, consequently the number of species is unknown, similarly the natural distribution of the genus is also unknown; about three species occur naturally in Australia. Barker (1996).

Hemigraphis - From India to China, Malesia, New Guinea. Two species occur naturaly in Australia.

Hypoestes - A genus of about 70 species in Africa, India, China, Malesia and Australia; two species occur naturally in Australia and one species has become naturalised. Barker (1986).

Justicia - A genus of about 420 species in the tropics and subtropics. Australian species previously included in Justicia have now been transferred to other genera. One or two species introduced may have become naturalised in Australia. Barker (1986).

Lepidagathis - A genus of about 60 species in the tropics of Africa, India and Malesia. A single species in Australia.

Odontonema - A genus of about 30 species in the Americas occurring from Mexico to Brazil; one species has become naturalised in Australia. Barker (1996).

Peristrophe - A genus of 15-20 species found in Africa, India, Asia and Malesia. One species occurs naturaly in Australia.

Pseuderanthemum - A genus of 40-50 species in both the Old and New World tropics. Three species grow naturally in Australia, one on Lord Howe Island and the other two from eastern Queensland and New South Wales.

Rhaphidospora - A genus of uncertain size largely because of the taxonomic problems encountered when dealing with related genera. The genus probably consists of about 10 species in Asia, Malesia, Australia (and West Africa?); two species occur naturally in Australia. Barker (1986, 1996).

Rostellularia - The genus occurs in Africa, Asia, Malesia and Australia; two species occur naturally in Australia.

Ruellia - A genus of about 300 species in both the Old and New World. Three introduced species have become naturalised in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

Sanchezia - A genus of about 30 species in tropical South America; one species has become naturalised in Australia. Backer (1965).

Stephanophysum - A genus of a few species in tropical America; one species has become naturalised in Australia. Backer (1965), Barker (1996).

Thunbergia - A genus of about 90 species, probably pantropic, well developed in Africa; one species occurs naturally in Australia and three species have become naturalised. Barker (1986).

References

Backer, C.A. (1965). Acanthaceae. Flora of Java. 2: 544-593.

Barker, R.M. (1986). A taxonomic revision of Australian Acanthaceae. Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 9:1-286.

Barker, R.M. (1996). Additional species, new combinations and other notes on Acanthaceae of Australia. Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens 17:137-152.

Bean, A.R. & Sharpe, P.R. (1991). Notes on Graptophyllum Nees (Acanthaceae) in Australia. Austrobaileya 3: 549-553.

Smith, A.C. 1991. Acanthaceae. Flora Vitiensis Nova 5: 120-121.

Wightman, G.M. (1989). 'Mangroves of the Northern Territory.' Northern Territory Botanical Bulletin No. 7, (Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory: Darwin.), 130 pp.