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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Penaeaceae

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Rosids > Eurosid II > Order: Myrtales 

Nine genera and 34 species, native to eastern and southern Africa, also St Helena. The majority of the diversity is in southern Africa, particularly in fynbos of  the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.  All nine genera are native to southern Africa, and 31 species are native to the region.

Genera native to southern Africa

Information from Bredenkamp (2000).


Five species, endemic to the Western Cape.



Two species, endemic to the Western Cape - Endonema lateriflora and Endonema retzioides.



One species: Glischrocolla formosa, endemic to the Western Cape.



Ten species, native to Africa, with seven species native to southern Africa. Previously placed in its own family, the Oliniaceae.



Four species, endemic to the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.


One species: Rhynchocalyx lawsonioides, native to coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.


One species: Saltera sarcocolla, endemic to the Western Cape.


Two species, endemic to the Western Cape.


Eight species, endemic to the Western Cape.



  • Bredenkamp, C.L. 2000. Penaeaceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 440-442. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.
  • Bullock AA. 1959. Nomenclatural notes, 7. A new generic name in Penaeaceae. Kew Bulletin 13: 109.
  • Dahlgren R. 1967. Studies on Penaeaceae I. Systematics and gross morphology of the genus Stylapterus A.Juss. Opera Botanica 15: 3-40.
  • Dahlgren R. 1967. Studies on the Penaeaceae III. The genus Glischrocolla. Botaniska Notiser 120: 57-68.
  • Dahlgren R. 1967. Studies on Penaeaceae IV. The genus Endonema. Botaniska Notiser 120: 69-83.
  • Dahlgren R. 1968. Studies on Penaeaceae. II. The genera Brachysiphon, Sonderothamnus and Saltera. Opera Botanica 18: 5-72.
  • Dahlgren R. 1971. Studies on Penaeaceae: VI. The genus Penaea L. Opera Botanica 29: 5-58.
  • Carlquist S, Debuhr L. 1977. Wood anatomy of Penaeaceae (Myrtales): comparative, phylogenetic, and ecological implications. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 75(3): 211-227. doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.1977.tb01485.x
  • Dahlgren R, Van Wyk AE. 1988. Structures and relationships of families endemic to or centered in southern Africa. Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 25: 1-94.
  • Rourke JP, Macdonald DJ. 1989. A new species of Penaea (Penaeaceae) from the Langeberg Range, southern Cape. South African Journal of Botany 55: 400-404.
  • Rourke JP. 1995. A new species of Brachysiphon (Penaeaceae) from the Southern Cape, South Africa. Nordic Journal of Botany 15(1): 63-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-1051.1995.tb00122.x
  • Louw N. 1996. A comparative study of the reproduction, autecology and genetic diversity of Brachysiphon rupestris, B. acutus and some other species of the Penaeaceae. Ph.D., Stellenbosch University.
  • Schönenberger J, Conti E. 2003. Molecular phylogeny and floral evolution of Penaeaceae, Oliniaceae, Rhynchocalycaceae, and Alzateaceae (Myrtales). American Journal of Botany 90(2): 293-309. doi: 10.3732/ajb.90.2.293