MYRTACEAE - myrtle family, eucalypts, bottlebrushes, tea-trees.

Woody shrubs or trees. Leaves are alternate or opposite, simple and with no stipules; oil glands present and aromatic when crushed. Flowers regular, perianth 5+5 (2 whorls), petals may be fused into an operculum(e.g. Eucalyptus); stamens usually numerous, occasionally 5 or 10, sometimes united in bundles (e.g. Melaleuca); ovary often inferior. Fruit usually dry, often a woody capsule opening by valves at the top, or a berry. The arrangement of the fruit is a useful generic diagnostic. Major genera in Tasmania are:

Eucalyptus, in which the flower has a perianth fused to become a deciduous operculum, stamens are many and conspicous,

Melaleuca, in which the stamens are the conspicous part of the flower and are

arranged in five bundles, woody capsules are sessile and clustered around the stem,

Callistemon, similar flowers and fruit to Melaleuca, but the stamens are not clustered into bundles

Leptospermum, the petals are the showy part of the flower and the stamens are relatively short, capsules usually solitary.

Also: Baeckea.


RUTACEAE - rue family, citrus, boronias, correas.

Woody shrubs or (small) trees. Most have opposite leaves, which contain oil glands, and are aromatic when crushed. Surface features include stellate hairs and peltate scales. Flowers actinomorphic, perianth in (4)'s or (5)'s, stamens often double the number of petals. Ovary superior, disc often present. Fruit commonly dry and leathery, splitting into segments at maturity, or a berry as in the citrus group.

Principal genera include: Boronia, Correa, Eriostemon, Phebalium, Zieria.


ASTERACEAE - (compositae) daisy family

Most numerous of all dicot. families, may be herbs, woody shrubs or small trees. Leaves with a taste like bitter lettuce. Inflorescence is a compact head (capitulum), surrounded by involucral bracts. This may resemble a flower but is comprised of many florets. Fruit is usually dry, 1-seeded and indehiscent and may have a pappus of hairs, bristles or awns to aid in dispersal.

Some genera are: Abrotanella, Bedfordia, Brachyscome, Cassinia, Celmisia, Cotula, Craspedia, Erigeron, Ewartia, Gnaphalium, Helichrysum, Microseris, Olearia, Podolepsis, Pterygopappus, but there are 60 others.


EPACRIDACEAE - heath family

Most are small, woody shrubs (< 1 m). The leaves are usually small, tough and pointed, sessile or shortly stalked with (nearly) parallel venation (most obvious on the lower surface). Flowers regular, perianth in 5's. Sepals often grading into bracts of similar size and texture. Petals fused into a tube, 5 stamens, each anther opening by a single slit, ovary superior.

The major Tasmanian genera are: Acrotriche, Astroloma, Archeria, Cyathodes, Drachophyllum, Epacris, Leucopogon, Monotoca, Pentachondra, Richea, Sprengelia, Styphelia.


PROTEACEAE - protea family, banksias, grevilleas, hakeas

Small shrubs to small trees. Leaves are mostly simple but often lobed or deeply divided, and usually stiff and leathery, often terete and pungent (e.g. Hakea). Flowers often characteristically irregular; perianth 4 -partite in a single whorl; stamens 4; ovary superior. Fruit often a woody or leathery follicle, sometimes aggregated in cones.

Includes the genera: Agastachys, Banksia, Bellendena, Cenarrhenes, Conospermum, Grevillea, Isopogon, Hakea, Lomatia, Orites, Telopea.



Small to medium trees, usually with a drooping habit. Leaves (except for the tips) fused with the branchlets and with each other along each internode and so appear to be reduced to small, scales arranged in whorls about photosynthetic, terete branches. She-oaks either monoecious or dioecious. Flowers non-petaloid; male flowers borne in a spike; female flowers borne in small globular heads that become the characteristic woody cone. One genus in Tasmania: Allocasuarina.


RHAMNACEAE - buckthorn family

Small prostrate woody shrubs to medium trees. Young stems and leaves often with stellate hairs. Leaves are simple, often rugose (wrinkled) or with a rough surface. Stipules are present but may be deciduous. Flowers are regular but are usually inconspicuous, surrounded by conspicuous bracts. Petals (if present) opposite the stamens and often hooded over them. Ovary half inferior to inferior, conspicuous bracts surround inconspicuous flowers.

Best known genera include: Pomaderris Spyridium and Cryptandra.


LEGUMINOSAE - now separated into 3 families with 2 in Tasmania.


Herbs and woody shrubs. Leaves with stipules. Characteristic pea-flower, and legume (pod) fruit. Ovary superior.

Best known genera include: Aotus, Bossiaeae, Daviesia, Dillwynia, Gompholobium, Hovea, Kennedya, Oxylobium, Platylobium, Pultenaea, Swainsonia.


b) MIMOSACEAE - (MIMOSOIDEAE) mimosa family, wattles

Small to large trees. Some with bipinnate leaves but most have phyllodes. Flowers are small, yellow, actinomorphic and arranged in heads or spikes with a mass of conspicuous yellow anthers. Fruit a legume.

Includes the genus Acacia.



Trees, shrubs or, less frequently, herbs. Leaves opposite, oil glands sometimes present; stipules interpetiolar (at either side of the leaf-base and hence between the leaves) or intrapetiolar (in front of the leaf-base and hence between the leaf and the axis), sometimes leaf-like and distinguished from leaves only by the absence of buds in their axils (plants with stipules of this kind look as if there is a whorl of leaves at each node). Flowers usually hermaphrodite and regular. Ovary ± inferior, commonly bicarpellary. Fruit a capsule, berry or drupe.

Includes the genera: Coprosma, Gabium, Opercularia.



Trees, shrubs and herbs. Latex sometimes present. Inflorescence consists of several male flowers and one female flower enclosed in a cup-shped involucre of 5 fused bracts. There are no perianth parts (except for Ricinocarpus, which has distinct petals). Flowers unisexual; ovary superior, trilocular, sometimes stalked.

Includes the genera: Amperea, Beyeria, Euphorbia, Poranthera, Ricinocarpus.


RANUNCULACEAE - buttercup family

Most are herbs, but some (e.g. Clematis) are climbers. In Clematis, leaves are opposite, simple or compound, and twining. Flowers bisexual or unisexual, regular; sepals 4, petaloid; no petals; stamens and carpels indefinite in number. Female flowers become a cluster of achenes, each bearing a long, plumose awn derived from the style. Includes the genera: Clematis and Ranunculus.


LAURACEAE - laurel family

Parasitic perrenials in Tasmania (Cassytha), with tough twining stems. Attach to host plants by haustoria. Leaves reduced to minute scales. Flowers are small, regular and bisexual. Perianth in two whorls of 3; 9 stamens in 3 whorls of 3; carpel solitary; ovary superior. Fruit is a berry or drupe.

One genus: Cassytha.



Herbs; leaves with a sharp taste like raddish, often with a strong odour; sepals and petals 4, stamens 6; fruit bilocular, the outer walls separating from below upwards when ripe and leaving the seeds attached to the septum dividing the loculi (a siliqua if long and narrow, a silicula if short and broad).

Includes: Cardamine, Cheesemannia, Cuphonotus, Lepidium, Stenopetalum.



Herbaceous; leaves compound or deeply dissected, with a taste like celery or parsley and a characteristic smell; bases of petioles sheathing; stems often ridged; internodes often hollow or with a broad pith; inflorescence an umbel; flowers small, actinomorphic, 5-partite except for the ovary; ovary inferior, stigmas 2.

Includes the genera: Actinotus, Apium, Centella, Diplaspis, Hydrocotyle, Lilaeopsis, Oreomyrrhis, Trachymena, Xanthosia.



Herbaceous; leaves opposite; nodes swollen; inflorescence a dichasium; placentation free central; fruit a capsule.

Includes the genera: Colobanthus, Spergularia, Stellaria.



Corolla bilabiate; stamens 4 or 2; fruit a 2-celled capsule.

Includes the genera: Euphrasia, Gratiola, Limosella, Mazus, Nimulus, Ourisia, Veronica.


LAMIACEAE (LABIATAE) - mint-bushes

Most aromatic shrubs or herbs. The stems are often quadrangular in cross-section with simple, opposite, or occasionally whorled leaves. Inflorescences usually axillary cymose clusters. Flowers zygomorphic, bisexual with 5 united sepals and petals, both the calyx and corolla bilabiate (2-lipped); stamens 4 or 2. Fruit splits into 4 achene-like nutlets.

Includes the genera: Mentha, Prostanthera, Prunella, Westringia.