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

Family: Lythraceae

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 446 (1753).

Derivation: Greek lythron, gore; a name attributed to some plant by Dioscorides.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Loosestrifes.

Prostrate to erect annuals and perennials; stems and branches round or 4-ribbed in section; leaves opposite or alternate or rarely in whorls of 3, sometimes somewhat auriculate at the base.

Flowers subsessile or shortly pedunculate, solitary, or clustered in the axils of leaves or bracts; floral tube tubular, 8-12-ribbed; sepals 4-6, shorter than the floral tube; epicalyx of 4-6 segments; petals 4-6, 1.5-8 mm long; stamens 4-12; ovary sessile or shortly stalked, incompletely 2-celled.

Capsule oblong, cartilaginous, splitting septicidally at the apex; seeds minute.

Distribution:  About 35 species, cosmopolitan.

Biology: In L. salicaria, L. junceum and other species three forms of flowers occur in which the stamens are of two lengths and the style is longer than or shorter than the stamens or intermediate in length. This mechanism, which enhances the likelihood of cross-pollination, is called trimorphic heterostyly.

Key to Species:
1. Petals 1.5-3 mm long; stamens 4-6
L. hyssopifolia 1.
1. Petals 5-10 mm long; stamens usually 12
2. Flowers solitary; plant prostrate to ascending, glabrous
L. junceum 2.
2. Flowers clustered; plant erect, usually pubescent
L. salicaria 3.

Author: Not yet available

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