• WordNet 3.6
    • n Plagianthus small genus of shrubs and trees of Australia and New Zealand
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n plagianthus A genus of polypetalous shrubs of the order Malvaceæ and the tribe Malveæ unlike the other genera of its subtribe Sideæ in its longitudinally stigmatose style-branches, and characterized by a five-cleft calyx, distant or obsolete bracteoles, many-cleft stamen-column, and one, two, or many carpels, each with one Pendulous seed. There are 11species, all natives of Australia and New Zealand. They bear alternate or clustered, usually entire or angled leaves, and polygamous red, whitish, or yellowish flowers, usually small and densely crowded in the axils or in a terminal spike. Several low shrubby species produce a useful flber. (See hemp-bush and currajong.) P. betulinus, the ribbon-tree of Otago, New Zealand, also called cotton-tree, lacebark, and akaroa-tree, is an evergreen reaching sometimes 70 feet, though usually a tangled bush, and yields a very fine tough flber resembling flax, derived from the inner bark of the young branches.
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