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Santalum L.

Sp.Pl. 2:349 (1753)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Common name. Sandalwood. Family Santalaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Trees (small), or shrubs. More or less ‘normal’ plants, or switch-plants; sometimes with the principal photosynthesizing function transferred to stems. Leaves well developed. Plants with roots, or rootless; partially parasitic. On roots of the host. Stem internodes solid. Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Leaves alternate (rarely), or opposite, or whorled; ‘herbaceous’, or leathery, or fleshy; petiolate; gland-dotted, or not gland-dotted; aromatic, or without marked odour; simple; pulvinate. Leaf blades entire; flat; one-veined, or pinnately veined. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire. Leaf anatomy. Extra-floral nectaries absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes, or in umbels (rarely and small), or in panicles. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary; inflorescences usually shorter than leaves. Flowers pedicellate (short), or sessile; bracteate (the bracts small, scale-like). Bracts deciduous (long before anthesis). Flowers ebracteolate; small; regular; 4 merous; cyclic; tricyclic. Free hypanthium present; commonly cup-shaped, shortly produced beyond the ovary into a broad, open free portion lined by a 4-lobed disc. Perianth sepaline; 4 (usually); 1 -whorled; free, or joined; sepaloid; green, or white, or cream, or yellow, or red; fleshy, or non-fleshy; persistent, or deciduous. Calyx (‘calycode’) 4; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; valvate; campanulate (or turbinate, in West Australia); regular; fleshy, or non-fleshy; persistent, or not persistent. Androecium 4. Androecial members free of the perianth, or adnate; all equal; free of one another; 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 4; all more or less similar in shape; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous (opposite the perianth lobes and at the base of the lobes). Anthers basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; bilocular; tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium (2–)3(–5) carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth to isomerous with the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious, or eu-syncarpous; partly inferior (B), or inferior (AKP). Ovary unilocular; 1 locular. Epigynous disk present. Gynoecium non-stylate, or stylate. Styles 0–1; attenuate from the ovary; apical. Stigmas 1; 2–4 - lobed; capitate (or lobed). Placentation free central. Ovules differentiated to not differentiated; in the single cavity 2–4 (not sure if total or per locule); pendulous; hemianatropous to anatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit fleshy (succulent or firm); indehiscent; a drupe; 1 celled; 1 seeded (per cell). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily, or not oily. Seeds without a testa. Cotyledons 2.

Economic uses, etc. Santalum album is the source of timber and perfume (sandalwood/sandalwood oil).

Etymology. From the Greek santalon, from the Arabic sandal, the Indian sandalwood; the common name of some species is "sandalwood".

J. Gathe and Leslie Watson, 8 September 2016

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, J. R.; Rye, B. L.; Koch, B. L.; Wilson, A. J. G.; Western Australian Herbarium 1992. Flora of the Kimberley region. Western Australian Herbarium.. Como, W.A..
  • Blackall, William E.; Grieve, Brian J. 1988. How to know Western Australian wildflowers : a key to the flora of the extratropical regions of Western Australia. Part I : Dicotyledons (Casuarinaceae to Chenopodiaceae). University of W.A. Press.. [Perth]..
  • Marchant, N. G.; Wheeler, J. R.; Rye, B. L.; Bennett, E. M.; Lander, N. S.; Macfarlane, T. D.; Western Australian Herbarium 1987. Flora of the Perth region. Part one. Western Australian Herbarium.. [Perth]..