Subordinate Taxa
Scientific Name:
Centrolepidaceae Endl., Gen. Pl. 2, 119 (1836)
Type Taxon:

Perennial or annual, leafy, moss-like cushions or small solitary tufts. Stems branching or condensed without discernible internodes; producing axillary adventitious roots. Leaves grass-like with open sheaths. Flowering stem a scape. Inflorescence a terminal spike with opposing or alternating sheathing bracts subtending female and/or bisexual reproductive units, or a solitary bisexual flower. Androecium 1 or 2 stamens; anthers dorsifixed, versatile, bisporangiate unilocular, dehiscing by a slit; pollen grains 1-porate. Gynoecium a multilocular ovary of superposed carpels in 1 or 2 rows, or a single carpel, or a collateral bilocular ovary; ovules solitary; styles as many as carpels; stigmatic region papillate. Flowers wind pollinated or selfed. Fruit a capsule. Seeds dehiscent.


Analyses using chloroplast DNA data are conflicted as to whether the centrolepids should remain as a separate family or be placed in the Restionaceae (Briggs B.G.; Linder H.P. 2009; Briggs et al. 2010). Traditionally the family has been separated from the Restionaceae on the basis of leafiness, monoecism (vs dioecism), the sometimes presence of an annual habit, and the unusual reduced floral structures that have either been interpreted as pseudanthia (Eichler 1875; Moore & Edgar 1970; Cooke 1988) or as bisexual flowers (Hieronymus 1873; Cheeseman 1925; Sokoloff et al. 2009).

1Inflorescence a spike with 2–3 alternate bracts; reproductive unit (a true flower) with 2 collateral carpels, stamens 2Gaimardia
Inflorescence a spike with 2 opposing bracts; Reproductive units with 1 carpel or 2-many superposed carpels, stamens 1 or absentCentrolepis
Number of species in New Zealand within Centrolepidaceae Endl.
Indigenous (Endemic)2
Indigenous (Non-endemic)3
Exotic: Casual1
Briggs B.G.; Linder H.P. 2009: A new subfamilial and tribal classification of Restionaceae (Poales). Telopea 12: 333–345.
Briggs, B.G.; Marchant, A.D.; Perkins, A.J. 2010: Phylogeny and Features in Restionaceae, Centrolepidaceae and Anarthriaceae (Restiid Clade of Poales). In: Seberg, O.; Petersen, G.; Barfod, S.; Davis, J.I. (ed.) Diversity, Phylogeny, and Evolution in the Monocotyledons. Aarhus University Press, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Chanda, S. 1966: On the Pollen Morphology of the Centrolepidaceae, Restionaceae and Flagellariaceae, with Special Reference to Taxonomy. Grana Palynologica 6: 355–415.
Cheeseman, T.F. 1925: Manual of the New Zealand Flora. Edition 2. Government Printer, Wellington.
Cooke, D.A. 1988: Centrolepidaceae. In: Flowering plants – Monocotyledons – Alismatanae and Commelinaenae (except Gramineae). Vol. IV. In: Kubitzki, K. (ed.) The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 106–109.
Cronquist, A. 1988: The evolution and classification of flowering plants. The New York Botanic Gardens, New York.
Curtis, W.M.; Morris, D. I. 1994: The Students' Flora of Tasmania. 4B, Angiospermae: Alismataceae to Burmanniaceae. St David's Park Publishing, Hobart.
Ding Hou 1957: Centrolepidaceae. In: Flora Malesiana, Series I. Vol. 5. 421–428.
Eichler, A.W. 1875: Blüthendiagramme. Vol. 1. Engelmann, Leipzig, Germany.
Endlicher, S.F.L. 1836: Genera plantarum secundum ordines naturales disposita (Endlicher). Vol. 2. Beck, Vienna.
Ford, K.A. 2014: Centrolepidaceae. In: Breitwieser, I.; Brownsey, P.J.; Heenan, P.B.; Wilton, A.D. (ed.) Flora of New Zealand — Seed Plants. Fascicle 2. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln.
Ford, K.A. 2014: Taxonomic notes on the New Zealand flora: a new species of Centrolepis for New Zealand, Centrolepis glabra (F.Muell. ex Sonder) Hieron., and the taxonomic status of Centrolepis minima Kirk (Centrolepidaceae). New Zealand Journal of Botany 52(2): 262–266.
Hieronymus, G. 1886: Über Blüte und Blütenstand der Centrolepidaceen. Botanische Jahrbücher für Systematik, Pflanzengeschichte und Pflanzengeographie 7: 319–330.
Hieronymus, G.H.E.W. 1873: Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Centrolepidaceen. Abhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft zu Halle 12: 115–222.
Mabberley, D.J. 2008: Mabberley's plant book, a portable dictionary of plants, their classification and uses. Edition 3. Cambridge University Press.
Royen, P.van 1979: The Alpine Flora of New Guinea. Volume 2, Taxonomic Part: Cupressaceae to Poaceae. Vaduz, J. Cramer.
Sokoloff, D.D.; Remizowa, M.V.; Linder, H.P.; Rudall, P.J. 2009: Morphology and development of the gynoecium in Centrolepidaceae: The most remarkable range of variation in Poales. American Journal of Botany 96: 1925–1940.