Prostrate shrubs to small trees. Leaves alternate, more or less coriaceous, concolorous or discolorous, the lower surface usually somewhat striate from the 3–several longitudinal (rarely palmate) nerves. Inflorescences terminal and/or axillary, with flowers solitary, or few to many in spikes; individual flowers with a bract and a pair of bracteoles immediately subtending sepals; sepals resembling bracts but larger; corolla lobes valvate in bud, finally spreading to recurved, white-bearded internally (rarely papillose or glabrous); stamens inserted just below lobes; filaments shorter than anthers; anthers with a sterile tip; ovary 2–5(–6)-locular, with 1 ovule per loculus, completely encircled by nectary of 5 lobes, style slender and terete or thickish near base and tapered upwards. Fruit a drupe.
About 200 species (including many undescribed from Western Australia), all but c. 30 endemic in Australia, the remainder extending from Malesia north-west to Indo-China, and south-east to New Zealand.
Previously treated as a larger, heterogenous genus, but recent DNA-based phylogenetic studies suggest relationships are better reflected through the erection of new genera (e.g., in Victoria, Acrothamnus), and the reassignment of some species to an expanded Styphelia (Puente-Lelièvre et al. 2015; Crayn et al. 2020).
Crayn, D.M., Hislop, M. & Puente-Lelièvre, C. (2020). A phylogenetic recircumscription of Styphelia (Ericaceae, Epacridoideae, Styphelieae), Austral. Syst. Bot. 33: 137-168.
Puente-Lelièvre, C.; Hislop, M.; Harrington, M.; Brown, E.A.; Kuzmina, M. & Crayn, D.M. (2015). A five-marker molecular phylogeny of the Styphelieae (Epacridoideae, Ericaceae) supports a broad concept of Styphelia, Australian Systematic Botany 28: 368-387.