Lizards Tail Family

Perennial aromatic herbs, usually with rhizomes and creeping stolons. Stems with pronounced joints. Leaves alternate or basal, simple; stipules sheathing and partly fused to the leaf stalk. Flowers bisexual, asymmetric, in terminal spikes or opposite the leaves, often with petal-like bracts at the base of the spike reminiscent of Cornus. Petals and sepals absent. Stamens 3, 4, 6 or occasionally 8, the bases often fused to the carpels. Carpels 3-5. Ovary superior or inferior, immersed in the flower cluster stalk or fused to form a capsule.

Related to the Piperaceae but also with similarities to the Polygonaceae. Saururus cernuus L., Water Dragon, from E North America is sometimes available as a moist area plant.

Saururus chinensis (Lour.) Baill. and Houttuynia species are used medicinally and the latter also for food.

Creeping plants that are aromatic when crushed; stems with thickened joints; petal-like bracts; tail-like flower spikes.

4 genera and 6 species of damp or aquatic habitats from E Asia and SE North America.

Source: Spencer, R. (1997). Saururaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Magnolianae
order      Piperales
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
genus        Houttuynia Thunb.