Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Santalaceae or Sandalwood Family

The Santalaceae or Sandalwood Family is a small family within the order Santalales whose members are parasitic or semi-parasitic shrubs, herbs and trees. World-wide, The Plant List identifies just over 40 plant genera and 992 accepted species names. In North America, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) shows 9 genera and 34 accepted taxa overall.

In the North America flora, depending of which taxonomy you review, Santalaceae includes 2 large mistletoe genera, Phoradendron (mistletoes) and Arceuthobium (dwarf mistletoes). Others place these species in the Viscaceae Family under the order Santalales.

Common North American characteristics: Leaves; alternate, entire, narrowly linear lanceolate, to ovate-oblong, simple, sub-sessile to short petiolate. Flowers; small, greenish or white, perfect, in terminal or sub-terminal clusters, 3 to 6 flowered cymes, actinomorphic, funnel-shaped, no petals, tepals 5,bisexual or unisexual. Fruit; a drupe, sub-globose indehiscent, dry or fleshy seed-like nut.

Date Family Profile Completed: 08/01/2016
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database.[and all genera cited above - (accessed 07/30/2016).
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 07/30/2016).
The Morton Arboretum
Laferriere, Joseph E. 1994. Santalaceae Sandalwood Family. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science and Canotia; Santalaceae - JANAS 27(2): 240. 1994. (J.E. LaFerriere)