Thurniaceae Engl.
  • Syllabus, ed. 5: 94 (1907) nom. cons.

This taxon is accepted by eMonocot

General Description

Perennials, rhizomatous herbs or with a short aerial woody stem covered in compacted leaf bases. Leaves in a basal or terminal rosette, tristichously arranged, linear and sheathing at the base, without a ligule between the blade and the sheath; blade heterobifacial, flat or V-shaped in transverse section, the margins usually (and the keel sometimes) serrulate. Inflorescence either one or several ±globose heads subtended by several leaf-like bracts on a triangular or quadrangular peduncle or a highly branched panicle; if branching, each branch subtended by a bract that consists of a closed somewhat funnel-shaped base and an elongate to linear to triangular blade. Individual flowers inconspicuous, bisexual, actinomorphic; tepals 6 in total, free, equal or subequal,  ±coriaceous or mambranaceous. Stamens 6, anthers basifixed, dehiscence longitudinal or lateral. Ovary superior, trilocular, with one or numerous ovules per locule. Style very short or absent, stigmas three. Fruit a loculicidal capsule.


Grow in or near riverbeds and creeks; in open sun or in shade.


The two genera occur in different parts of the World. Thurnia is native to the Guyanas, Venezuela and Columbia and northern Brazil. Prionium is native to South Africa.


 Information From

eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
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World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
WCSP 2014. 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved 2011 onwards
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