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

Family: Amaranthaceae

Citation: Moq., Chenop. Monogr. Enum. 95 (1840).

Derivation: After ?C. Lemaire, 1800-1871, a French botanist and friend of the author.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: None

Herbaceous to woody perennials or small shrubs, glabrous or hairy; leaves alternate or opposite, often succulent.

Flowers axillary, solitary or paired, sessile, rarely minutely bibracteolate, unisexual or bisexual; perianth: tube flat to cup-shaped, greatly enlarging in fruit; lobes 5, usually deeply divided opposite the radicle and sometimes extending down the tube as a radicular split; stamens 5, exserted; stigmas 2 or 3.

Fruiting perianth spongy, leathery, crustaceous or woody; tube saucer-shaped to globular, at the base of the perianth lobes developing a more or less horizontal wing or 5 separate wings which arise from the base of each lobe, additional accessary wings sometimes present; perianth lobes occasionally giving rise to erect appendages or to emergences; utricle discoid to globular; pericarp membranous to crustaceous; seed horizontal; embryo circular or horseshoe-shaped; perisperm copious, central.

Distribution:  About 57 species endemic to the mainland States; rare in the tropics. (P. G. Wilson (1975) Nuytsia 2:2-83). Bluebushes.

Biology: No text

Taxonomic notes: The fruiting perianth is here sometimes called the 'fruit'; that portion lying within the horizontal wings is called the 'upper perianth'; that portion below the wings the 'tube' irrespective of its shape.

Key to Species:
1. Fruit with 5 more or less horizontal wings surrounding the upper perianth
2. Fruit with erect processes arising from the upper perianth
M. lobiflora 18.
2. Fruit without erect processes
3. Leaves sericeous; fruit densely silky-lanate, c. 10 mm diam
M. eriantha 12.
3. Leaves and flowers not as above
4. Flowers in pairs (tube of the fruit more or less flat or very shallow)
5. Wings more or less glabrous, pungent, woody
M. luehmannii 19.
5. Wings densely woolly
M. scleroptera 31.
4. Flowers solitary; (wings glabrous)
6. Wings thin, obovate to fan-shaped
7. Wings equal and horizontal; leaves alternate; flowers hermaphrodite
M. brevifolia 4.
7. Two of the 5 wings smaller and suberect; leaves often opposite; plants usually dioecious
M. oppositifolia 22.
6. Wings small, imbricate, lunate, incurved or inflated on the margins; slender perennial to 0.3 m high
M. enchylaenoides 11.
1. Fruit with a single wing surrounding the upper perianth (accessory wings on the tube or upper perianth may also be present)
8. Fruit small (under 5 mm diam.), more or less densely silky-pilose; tube almost flat and continuous with the narrow wing; (small perennials)
9. Upper surface of the fruit with an erect cup-shaped outgrowth
M. coronata 9.
9. Fruit without such an outgrowth. 10. Fruit 2.5-4 mm diam., upper surface with a pentagonal-shaped ridge
M. pentagona 24.
10. Fruit c. 4 mm diam., upper surface with 5 narrow radial ridges extending from near the centre to the edge of the wing
M. ciliata 8.
8. Fruit (including wing) mostly over 5 mm diam. or if smaller not silky-pilose
11. Fruit enveloped in long dense wool
M. carnosa 7.
11. Fruit not enveloped in long wool
12. Fruit glabrous, with a large rounded soft spongy tube; upper perianth more or less flat
13. Branches with a pale-fawn indumentum of branched hairs; leaves very slender, glaucous; horizontal wing not decurrent on the tube
M. campanulata 5.
13. Branches with a white woolly indumentum of simple hairs; leaves fleshy, narrowly terete or fusiform; horizontal wing attached by a short decurrent wing to the tube
M. spongiocarpa 33.
12. Fruit not with the above characters combined
14. 1-5 vertical wings on the tube
15. Plant glabrous (or almost so)
M. triptera 37.
15. Plant hairy, at least on the branches
16. Leaves villous; perianth lobes erect and longer than the tube
M. schistocarpa 30.
16. Leaves glabrous; perianth lobes not erect
17. Vertical wings running the length of the tube and united at the apex to the horizontal wing; perianth lobes prominently woolly-ciliate
M. erioclada 13.
17. Vertical wings often present only towards the base of the tube; perianth lobes arched and prominently tomentose
M. pentatropis 25.
14. No vertical wings on the tube
18. Vertical processes present on the upper perianth
M. lanosa 17.
18. No vertical processes above the wing
19. Plant glabrous (apart from axillary tufts of wool); slender lax plants
20. Upper perianth convex; wing of the mature fruit straw-coloured when dry
M. aphylla 1.
20. Upper perianth more or less flat; fruit pale-brown when dry
21. Leaves slender-fusiform on flowering branches; flowers minutely bracteolate
M. suaedifolia 34.
21. Leaves terete; flowers ebracteolate
M. decalvans 10.
19. Plant variously hairy
22. Leaves opposite; tube dish-shaped; leaves sessile by a broad base, apex recurved; wing c. 6 mm diam
M. cannonii 6.
22. Leaves all or mostly scattered
23. Wing of the fruit glabrous
24. Upper perianth flat or slightly concave or convex
25. Tube of the fruit abruptly narrowed at the base into a prominent terete stipe 2-3 rarely 1 mm long
26. Upper perianth convex, open in the centre to expose the utricle
M. aphylla 1.
26. Upper perianth flat or slightly sunken, completely covering the utricle
M. appressa 2.
25. Tube not as above
27. Tube expanded into a hollow spongy base; (perennial herb)
M. excavata 14.
27. Tube not (or scarcely) expanded at the base
28. Wing of the fruit with a radial (radicular) slit
29. Leaves, branches and flowers closely tomentose with branched hairs; leaves obovoid; tube and the convex upper perianth of the fruit pubescent
M. astrotricha 3.
29. Leaves and branches with more or less simple hairs or glabrous
30. Fruit large (wing c. 15 mm diam. or more); tube thick-walled, turbinate
M. georgei 15.
30. Fruit with a wing 5-14 mm diam.; tube not thick-walled
31. Tube of the fruit pubescent; upper perianth more or less flat; leaves obovoid, fleshy
M. sedifolia 32.
31. Tube of the fruit glabrous; leaves various
32. Leaves flattened, linear to obovate
33. Leaves linear, appressed-villous; upper perianth glabrous; wing with radial anastomosing veins when dry
M. villosa 39.
33. Leaves narrowly to broadly obovate, pubescent with curled hairs; upper perianth pubescent; wing without obvious nerves
M. planifolia 26.
32. Leaves terete, semiterete or obovoid
34. Fruit produced into a short terete hollow stipe at the base, straw-coloured when dry
35. Open divaricately branched shrub; branches striate and often spinescent; upper perianth convex and open in the centre
M. aphylla 1.
35. Branches more or less ascending, neither spinescent nor striate; upper perianth flat or sunken and completely covering the utricle
M. appressa 2.
34. Fruit without a stipe-like base
36. Upper perianth with a convex disc, open in the centre; wing not prominently crenulate
37. Stem striate; leaves sessile, woolly to glabrescent
M. aphylla 1.
37. Stem not obviously striate, leaves narrowed at the base, glabrous
M. rohrlachii 29.
36. Upper perianth more or less flat, concave, of if convex then closed in the centre
38. Upper perianth tomentose; wing with fine but obvious radiating nerves
M. radiata 28.
38. Fruit glabrous or sparsely villous
39. Leaves tomentose
40. Fruit straw-coloured when dry and with a short hollow stipe
M. appressa 2.
40. Fruit almost black when dry, sessile
M. melanocarpa 20.
39. Leaves glabrous or sparsely villous; fruit brown when dry
41. Upper perianth closed in the centre; tube firm
M. microcarpa 21.
41. Upper perianth open in the centre (exposing the utricle); tube weak
42. Wing 11-16 mm diam., often undulate
M. rohrlachii 29.
42. Wing c. 8mm diam., flat
M. decalvans 10.
28. Wing of the fruit continuous (i.e. with-out a radial slit); leaves semiterete
43. Fruit large, wing c. 15 mm diam.; tube turbinate, smooth
M. turbinata 38.
43. Fruit small, wing 11 mm or less in diam.; tube hemispherical to cup-shaped
44. Leaves 2-5 mm long, appressed on younger branches; wing 4-6 mm diam
M. ovata 23.
44. Leaves over 5 mm long, spreading; wing usually 8-10 mm diam
45. Upper perianth pubescent
M. integra 16.
45. Upper perianth glabrous (or almost so) apart from the ciliate lobes
M. tomentosa 35.
24. Upper perianth columnar in form, with large erect lobes
46. Leaves 2-6 mm long, shortly pubescent; no vertical wings on the tube
M. pyramidata 27.
46. Leaves 5-12 mm long, appressed-villous; tube with a narrow vertical wing
M. schistocarpa 30.
23. Wing of the fruit pubescent above
47. Upper perianth erect and columnar
M. schistocarpa 30.
47. Upper perianth not erect
M. trichoptera 36.

Author: Not yet available

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