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a family of herbaceous dicotyledonous plants. They are parasites, more or less lacking chlorophyll and settling on the roots of trees. The underground part of this plant is a tuber-like, branching rhizome which sits on the roots of the host plant. The flower clusters which form on the rhizome are frequently brightly colored, and they extend above the surface of the soil at the ends of short fleshy stems covered with scalelike leaves. The flowers are small and unisexual, with a reduced calyx. The pistillate flowers are without a perianth, and the staminal flowers usually have a corolla. The fruit is nutlike or drupaceous. There are 18 genera (110 species) of mono- or dioecious plants, mainly in the rain forests of the tropics, and less often in the subtropics. The rhizomes of the genera Balano-phora (12 species in the tropics of Asia and Australia) and Langsdorffia (one species in tropical America) are rich in a waxlike resin, balanophorin; they are used in their native regions as candles. In the rhizome of Lophophytum mirabile (South America) there is a great deal of starch, lophophyton, and other substances which are used in medicine.
REFERENCESTakhtadzhian, A. L. Sistema i filogeniia tsvetkovykh rastenii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.
Terekhin, E. S., and M. S. lakovlev. “Embriologiia Balano phoraceae (K voprosu o gomologiiakh ‘tsvetka’ Balanophora). “Botanicheskii zhurnal, 1967, vol. 52, no. 6.
M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV