Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Crassulaceae

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 282 (1753).

Derivation: Diminutive of Latin crassus, thick; alluding to the fleshy leaves and branches.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Crassulas.

Annual herbs, delicate aquatics or rarely soft-wooded perennial shrublets; leaves opposite, connate at the base; inflorescence usually a thyrse with several, rarely only 1 dichasium, or reduced to a monochasium.

Peduncle distinct only in C. ciliata and C. tetragona while bracts of other species are large and leaf-like; flowers 3-5-merous, usually partly hidden by leaf-like bracts, sometimes situated in the axil of one pair of leaf-like bracts in a monochasium; sepals shortly connate at the base, often unequally long, fleshy; petals scarcely connate, with lobes spreading or tubular, with apices more or less recurved; stamens in 1 whorl, glabrous.

Carpels free, each with 1 to several ovules; seeds with usually indistinct vertical ridges or tubercles arranged in vertical lines.

Distribution:  About 170 species mainly in temperate regions of the world and with more than 80% of the species occurring in southern Africa. Of the 15 species found in Australia, 12 have been recorded from S.Aust. (Toelken (1981) J. Adelaide Bot. Gard. 3:57-90).

Biology: No text

Key to Species:
1. Flowers borne well above leaves (bracts, if present, scale-like or with long internodes between pairs)
2. Leaves petiolate; blade 15-40 mm broad
C. multicava 8.
2. Leaves sessile, 3-8 mm broad
3. Leaves dorsiventrally flattened, with marginal cilia
C. ciliata 2.
3. Leaves terete or almost so, glabrous
C. tetragona subsp. robusta 13.
1. Flowers borne in the axils of leaf-like bracts; annuals or, if perennials, the leaves shorter than 12 mm
4. Petals papillose (visible without a lens); flowers terminal on branches
C. glomerata 6.
4. Petals smooth; flowers along branches
5. Flowers usually 3 from the axil of 1 leaf per node
6. Carpels each with 1 ovule
C. natans var. minus 9.
6. Carpels each with 2-16 ovules
7. Style less than one-quarter of the length of the ovary and abruptly joining the ovary; leaves rarely to 1 mm broad. C. peduncularis 11
7. Style about half as long as and gradually tapering into the ovary; leaves usually 1.5-3 mm broad
C. helmsii 7.
5. Flowers usually 3-18 in the axils of both leaves at a node
8. Flowers predominantly 3- or 4-merous
9. Flowers 3-merous
C. alata var. alata 1.
9. Flowers 4-merous
10. Part-inflorescences stalked
C. decumbens subsp. decumbens 4.
10. Part-inflorescences sessile or almost so
11. Basal branches carnose, articulated with swollen nodes; perennials
C. sieberana subsp. sieberana 12a.
11. Basal branches wiry-woody, not articulated; annuals C. sieberana subsp. tetramera 12b
8. Flower predominantly 5-merous
12. Flowers sessile or almost so
13. Follicles dehiscing by an apical pore and basal circumscissal split
C. exserta 5.
13. Follicles dehiscing only by a basal cimumscissal split
14. Follicles almost elliptic in profile, smooth or rarely with bulging epidermis cells
C. colorata var. colorata 3a.
14. Follicles oblanceolate to almost spathulate in profile, with clusters of tubercles below the middle
C. colorata var. acuminata 3b.
12. Flowers with pedicels at least 1.5 mm long
15. Carpels each with 1 or 2 ovules
C. exserta 5.
15. Carpels each with 8-20 ovules
16. Calyx lobes papillose; peduncles absent
C. pedicellosa 10.
16. Calyx lobes smooth or with few papillae towards the apex; peduncle 3-7 mm long
C. decumbens var. decumbens 4.

Author: Not yet available

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