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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Santalales

Familia: Balanophoraceae
Genus: Balanophora
Species: B. abbreviata – B. coralliformis – B. dioica – B. elongata – B. fargesii – B. fungosa – B. hansenii – B. harlandii – B. indica – B. involucrata – B. japonica – B. latisepala – B. laxiflora – B. lowii – B. papuana – B. polyandra – B. reflexa – B. taiwaniana – B. tobiracola – B. wilderi – B. yakushimensis
Source(s) of checklist:

Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Balanophora in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Nov 23. Reference page.


Balanophora J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. Char. Gen. Pl. 50. (1775)
Type species: Balanophora fungosa J.R. Forst. & G. Forst. Char. Gen. Pl. 50. (1775)


Balania Tiegh. Bull. Soc. Bot. France, 43: 297–298. (1896)
Balaniella Tiegh. Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot., sér. 9,6: 144. (1907)
Polyplethia (Griff.) Tiegh. Bull. Soc. Bot. France, 43: 297–298. (1896)


Forster, J.R. & Forster, J.G.A. (1755) Characteres Generum Plantarum 50.


Hassler, M. 2019. Balanophora. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Apr. 06. Reference page.
The Plant List 2013. Balanophora in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2014 Jan. 26. 2014. Balanophora. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2014 Jan. 26.
International Plant Names Index. 2014. Balanophora. Published online. Accessed: 26 Jan. 2014.

Balanophora is a genus of parasitic plants in the family Balanophoraceae found in parts of tropical and temperate Asia, including the Eastern Himalayas,[1] Malesia region, Pacific Islands, Madagascar, and tropical Africa.[2][3] There are about 20 accepted species,[4] including the newly discovered B. coralliformis. Many species emit an odour which possibly attracts pollinators in the same way that pollinators are attracted to Rafflesia.[5]

Balanophora species are used in folk medicine in many Asian cultures.[3] For example, in China, Balanophora is known as she-gu (stone-fungus) and in Thailand as hoh-ra-tao-su-nak. In both cases, the plant is used to treat a variety of ailments and has various ritual purposes. The tubers of Balanophora are rich in a wax-like substance which is used in Java as a fuel for torches.[5][6]


The genus was first described in 1775 by Johann Reinhold Forster and his son Georg Forster in Characteres Generum Plantarum.[7][8] The name is derived from the ancient Greek words balanos (βάλανος), meaning "acorn" and pherein (φέρειν), meaning "to carry".[9]

As of May 2020, the following species are accepted at Plants of the World Online:[4]

Balanophora abbreviata Blume
Balanophora coralliformis Barcelona, Tandang & Pelser
Balanophora dioica R.Br. ex Royle
Balanophora elongata Blume
Balanophora fargesii (Tiegh.) Harms
Balanophora fungosa J.R.Forst. & G.Forst. (type species)
Balanophora harlandii Hook.f.
Balanophora involucrata Hook.f. & Thomson
Balanophora japonica Makino
Balanophora latisepala (Tiegh.) Lecomte
Balanophora laxiflora Hemsl.
Balanophora lowii Hook.f.
Balanophora nipponica Makino
Balanophora papuana Schltr.
Balanophora pierrei Lecomte
Balanophora polyandra Griff.
Balanophora reflexa Becc.
Balanophora subcupularis P.C.Tam
Balanophora tobiracola Makino
Balanophora wilderi Setch.
Balanophora yakushimensis Hatus. & Masam.


O'Neill, Alexander; Rana, Santosh (26 July 2018). "Root holoparasite Balanophora polyandra Griff. (Balanophoraceae) in eastern Himalaya (Sikkim, India): distribution, range, status and threats". Journal of Threatened Taxa. 10 (8): 12123–12129. doi:10.11609/jott.3644.10.8.12123-12129.
"Balanophora J.R. Forst. & G. Forst". Botanical Garden. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
O'Neill, A.R.; Rana, S.K. (2019). "An ethnobotanical analysis of parasitic plants (Parijibi) in the Nepal Himalaya". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 12 (14). doi:10.1186/s13002-016-0086-y.
"Search results for Balanophora". The Plant List. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
Jin, Chee Beng; Hoo, Lau Kah (2010). "Balanophora:the hidden highland parasite with unexplored medicinal potential". Malaysian Naturalist: 20–21. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
"Balanophoraceae". Flora Malesiana. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
"Balanophora". International Plant Names Index (IPNI). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
Forster, Johann Reinhold; Forster, Georg (1775). Characteres Generum Plantarum. London: White, Cadell & Elmsly. p. 99. Retrieved 22 April 2016.
Backer, C.A. (1936). Verklarend woordenboek der wetenschappelijke namen van de in Nederland en Nederlandsch-Indië in het wild groeiende en in tuinen en parken gekweekte varens en hoogere planten (Edition Nicoline van der Sijs).

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