Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Saururaceae or Lizard’s-tail Family

The Saururaceae or Lizard’s-tail family is a small family within the Order Piperales. Saururaceae are native to North America, Central America and Southeast Asia. World-wide, according to The Plant List, the Saururaceae family has 4 genera and 7 species. In North America there are 2 native genera, Anemopsis and Saururus both monotypic with 1 species each.

Most of the members here are aromatic herbs with creeping rhizomatous roots and preference for wet, shallow riparian habitats. Inflorescence: other common characteristics include spike type inflorescences with small inconspicuous clustered flowers. This inflorescence over-all looks like one attractive “flower”. In the genus Saururus the spike inflorescence is elongated bending over like a “lizards tail”, thus the common name of the family; Flowers: this family lacks both sepals and petals and has bisexual flowers; Leaves: basal and/or cauline, alternate, simple, margins entire; Fruits: are capsule or schizocarps, 1 or more (40) seeds.

Anemopsis is the only genus from this family to be found In Arizona.

Date Family Profile Completed: 08/10/2016
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database.[and all genera cited above - (accessed 08/10/2016).
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 08/10/2016).
George F. Buddell II & John W. Thieret, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 3, 6. Saururaceae E. Meyer, Lizard's-tail Family
Magnoliidae. (2016). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 10 Aug. 2016 Retrieved from
Wikipedia contributors, 'Saururaceae', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 June 2016, 05:56 UTC, [accessed 10 August 2016]