Stylochaeton Lepr.
  • Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot., sér. 2, 2: 184 (1834) 

Notes: Distribution: Trop. & S. Africa

General Description

Laticifers absent. HABIT : seasonally dormant or evergreen herbs, rhizome subterranean, horizontal to erect, sometimes stoloniferous, roots thick, spindle-shaped, often very fleshy, almost tuberous. LEAVES : 1 to several, cataphylls often conspicuously mottled and apically auriculate, sometimes persistent as fibrous mass. PETIOLE : sheath short to long, often purplish-spotted or banded. BLADE : lanceolate, ovate, ± rounded, cordate-sagittate, sagittate, hastate-sagittate or hastate; primary lateral veins pinnate or mostly arising basally, long-arcuate and running into marginal vein, lowermost primaries sometimes retrorse and then ascending, higher order venation reticulate. INFLORESCENCE : 1-4 in each floral sympodium, appearing before or with leaves, borne at or partially below ground level. PEDUNCLE : short, much shorter than petiole. SPATHE : erect, marcescent, tube : margins connate, often ventricose at extreme base, sometimes constricted between a lower and an upper inflated zone, rarely entire spathe narrowly cylindric, blade : lanceolate-elliptic, ± gaping or opening only by narrow longitudinal slit, often much thickened. SPADIX : free, shorter than spathe, female zone densely flowered, sometimes contiguous with male zone, often separated by axis bearing a few (to many) sterile or bisexual flowers, male zone fertile to apex. FLOWERS : unisexual, perigoniate, borne in single basal whorl or in spirals; perigone a single cup-like (urceolate) structure. MALE FLOWER : perigone often with very thick, fleshy margins, stamens 2-7, free, filaments filiform, long, rarely much thickened apically, connective slender, sometimes slightly thickened, thecae oblong, dehiscing by longitudinal slit, pistillode central, cylindric to conoid, sometimes absent. POLLEN : inaperturate, or sometimes vestigially monosulcate, ellipsoid, large (mean 53 µm., range 43-58 µm.), exine foveolate-reticulate or subreticulate. FEMALE FLOWER : perigone usually greatly thickened and sticky-glandular or farinaceous on upper surface, ovary 1-4-locular, ovules 1-many per locule, anatropous, placenta basal, parietal or axile, style thick, ± cylindric, exserted beyond perigone, stigma capitate to broadly discoid and massive. BERRY : borne at or below ground level in globose to cylindric infructescence, often rugose, fleshy, 1-few-seeded. SEED : ovoid to ellipsoid, slightly compressed, testa black, thin, costate, embryo axile, elongate, endosperm copious.

Diagnostic Description

Seasonally dormant or evergreen, rhizomatous geophytes; cataphylls often conspicuously mottled; leaf blade linear to cordate, sagittate or hastate, fine venation reticulate; inflorescence appearing before or with the leaves, borne at or partially below ground level; flowers unisexual, perigoniate, perigone a single cup-like structure, more conspicuous in female flowers; male flower usually with central pistillode, filaments slender, free. Differs from Zamioculcas and Gonatopus in having entire (not compound) leaves, tepals connate into a cup and spathe tube margins connate.


Tropical humid forests (evergreen species, e.g. S. zenkeri), tropical savannas and deciduous forests (seasonally dormant species, e.g. S. natalensis); geophytes.


Trop. & S. Africa.

Distribution Map

  • Native distribution
Found in
  • Africa East Tropical Africa Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Northeast Tropical Africa Chad
  • Ethiopia
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • South Tropical Africa Angola
  • Malawi
  • Mozambique
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
  • Southern Africa KwaZulu-Natal
  • Northern Provinces
  • Swaziland
  • West Tropical Africa Benin
  • Burkina
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Ivory Coast
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo
  • West-Central Tropical Africa Cameroon
  • Central African Republic
  • Congo
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Gabon
  • Zaire


  • 1 Govaerts, R. & Frodin, D.G. (2002). World Checklist and Bibliography of Araceae (and Acoraceae): 1-560. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • 2 Gardens, K.""Royal Bot World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. (2008).
  • 3 Mayo, S.J., Bogner, J. & Boyce, P.C. The Genera of Araceae. (Royal Botanic Gardens Kew: 1997).

 Information From

CATE Araceae
Haigh, A., Clark, B., Reynolds, L., Mayo, S.J., Croat, T.B., Lay, L., Boyce, P.C., Mora, M., Bogner, J., Sellaro, M., Wong, S.Y., Kostelac, C., Grayum, M.H., Keating, R.C., Ruckert, G., Naylor, M.F. and Hay, A., CATE Araceae, 14 Dec 2011 . 17 Dec 2011.
  • A All Rights Reserved
Global Biodiversity Information Facility
  • B All Rights Reserved
eMonocot. (2010, 1st November). Retrieved Wednesday, 8th February, 2012, from
  • C Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
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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