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Balanophoraceae (order Santalales) A family of plants which are obligate parasites (see PARASITISM) attached to roots. A tuberous, subterranean, knobbly rhizome with no chlorophyll bears stout aerial spikes on which are borne minute male and female flowers and then tiny nuts, or drupes. There are 18 genera and 44 species, occurring in rain forests throughout the tropics.