Description from Flora of China
Herbs, fleshy, parasitic on roots, stems, or branches of various hosts. Vegetative body thalloid or reduced to myceliumlike tissue within host. Normal leaves absent. Inflorescences terminal, usually 1-flowered, rarely a spike; bracts scale-like, several at base of inflorescence. Flowers usually unisexual (plants dioecious or monoecious), bisexual in Mitrastemon, actinomorphic, minute to extremely large [Rafflesia arnoldii R. Brown of Indonesia (Sumatra) produces a flower to 7.5 kg and to 1 m in diam.], 4-10-merous. Perianth lobes well-developed or absent, basally connate, rarely free. Stamens 5 to very numerous, in 1-3 series, fused with the rudimentary pistil into a gynostemium or in bisexual flowers connate into a cylinder; free filaments absent; anthers 2-loculed, dehiscent longitudinally or by apical pores. Ovary superior, semisuperior, or inferior, absent in male flowers, 1-loculed with many parietal placentas; ovules numerous, anatropous, integuments 1 or 2. Style 1 or none; stigma discoid, capitate, or with many lobes. Fruit a berry. Seeds minute, very numerous; testa hard; endosperm present.
The family is poorly represented in herbaria.
Eight genera and 27 species: mostly in tropical and subtropical regions; two genera and two species in China.
(Authors: Huang Shumei (黄淑美 Hwang Shu-mei) ; Michael G. Gilbert)
Wu Te-lin. 1988. Rafflesiaceae. In: Kiu Hua-shing & Ling Yeou-ruenn, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 24: 246–249.