Sp. Pl. 1: 287. 1753.


Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 139. 1754.

Etymology: For Johannes Burman, 1707–1779, Dutch botanist
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 487.

Plants annual, autotrophic, at least partly green. Rhizomes absent. Roots filiform. Stems usually unbranched, green. Leaves cauline, sometimes basal, green, purplish, or pale, scalelike to linear. Inflorescences 2–25-flowered cymes or flowers solitary; floral bracts sometimes appearing imbricate if internodes of cyme rachis are very short; pedicels 0–1 mm. Flowers erect, 3-ribbed to 3-winged; perianth persistent in fruit; annulus absent; stamens 3, proximal to inner perianth lobes, sessile; ovary 3-locular; placentation axile. Capsules obovoid to ellipsoid, transversely dehiscent.


Mostly tropical and subtropical, Western Hemisphere, Africa, Asia (China).


Species ca. 60 (3 in the flora).

Selected References



1 Flowers 3-ribbed or slightly 3-winged; inflorescences usually appearing capitate; inner perianth lobes usually less than 2/3 length of outer lobes. Burmannia capitata
1 Flowers distinctly 3-winged; inflorescences loosely flowered cymes or flowers solitary; inner perianth lobes 2/3 to nearly equaling length of outer lobes. > 2
2 Flowers bluish with perianth lobes paler, often cream-colored; basal leaves absent. Burmannia biflora
2 Flowers yellow or greenish; basal leaves present. Burmannia flava