Bloodworts are Monocotyledons in Family Haemodoraceae which has 13 or 14 genera with 75 to 103 species.
Australia has around 86 species in 7 genera found mostly in Western Australia.
There are 2 subfamilies:
Haemodoroideae with 2 whorls in the perianth, 3 or 6 stamens and unbranched hairs and
Conostylidoideae with the perianth in 1 whorl, 6 stamens, hairy flowers and branched hairs.
It includes the genera Anigozanthos, Conostylus and Macropidia with a single species M. fuliginosa (Black Kangaroo paw).
Haemodoraceae are perennial herbs with stolons or rhizomes (horizontal above or below-ground stems) or tubers.
These can all used to propagate the plants vegetatively.
The rhizomes and roots often have a red sap which is sometimes present throughout the plant.
The mostly basal leaves are arranged in 2 ranks (distichous) or whorls.
The leaf bases sheath the stem and the sheath margins are free.
They linear blade can be flat or the edges may curve up or back sometimes fusing to form a round blade.
The edge is smooth and the veins parallel.
Terminal inflorescences are variously branched and rarely a single flower or a head.
They are on a leafless stem or scape that can be up to 2 or 3 m high.
On any branch either the bottom or terminal flower can open first.
Bracteoles are present under the flowers but bracts at the base of each branch may be present or absent.
The bisexual short-stalked flowers have parts in 3’s.
There may be simple, branched or glandular hairs that are often brightly coloured.
The 6 tepals may be free and in 2 whorls forming a radially symmetric perianth.
Alternately they can be in 1 whorl with the bases fused into a long or short, straight or curved tube with 6 lobes.
In these the perianth is markedly bilaterally symmetric.
The tepals are petal-like and can be green, yellow, red, orange, pink, magenta, black or white.
There may be spots or streaks of colour.
There are 1, 3 or 6 stamens in 1 or 2 whorls that are free or partly fused to the perianth tube.
Up to 2 staminodes (infertile stamens) may be present.
The basi or dorsi-fixed anthers open inwards through longitudinal slits.
The superior to inferior ovary, of 3 fused carpels has 3 locules.
Each locule has 1 to many ovules with axile or apical placentation.
There is 1 style or 3 partly fused ones with a single small spherical or slightly 3-lobed stigma.
In most species nectar is produced from nectaries lying on the septa between the carpels.
The fruit is mostly a loculicidal capsule with 3 chambers each with 2 to many seeds.
The seeds are distinctive for each genus being globular, ellipsoidal or flattened and straight or curved.
The surface can have ridges or small nodules and there may be a wing around the edge.