Greek kyphos — curved, referring to the bowed capsule.
Annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs. Leaves opposite, rarely whorled, stalked; stipules bristle-like. Flowers in cymes or raceme-like clusters, occasionally solitary, irregular, 6-parted. Calyx tube swollen or spurred at the base, ribbed. Ovary of 2 carpels and incompletely 2-chambered. Fruit a capsule splitting down 1 side.
C. carthagenensis (Jacq.) J.F. Macbr. from C and S America is naturalised in moist situations in NSW and Qld. C. caeciliae Koehne from Mexico is a perennial to 0.5 m tall with elliptic leaves and orange-purple flowers although the petals are inconspicuous. C. micropetala HBK, also from Mexico, is a larger perennial to nearly 1m tall.
260 species from C and S America with a few species extending into Peru.
Shrubs by cuttings, herbs by seed or division.
An extract from some species is used as a substitute for palm and coconut oils.
Lourteig (1988), Graham (1988, 1989, 1990, 1998).
Source: (2002). Lythraceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.