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Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Chenopodiaceae
Sclerolaena

Citation: R. Br., Prod. Fl. Nov. Holl. 410 (1810).

Derivation: Greek skleros, hard; chlaina, covering; referring to the hard perianth in fruit.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Bindyis or copperburrs.

Description:
Perennial herbs or small shrubs, glabrous or variously pubescent with simple (rarely bifid or branched) hairs; leaves small, simple, entire, usually semiterete or linear, fleshy, sessile or shortly petiolate.

Flowers small, axillary, solitary or paired, bisexual or rarely unisexual; perianth usually cup-shaped, shortly 3-5-lobed, enlarging in fruit; stamens 3-5, hypogynous; anthers exserted; ovary thin-walled; stigmas 2 or 3, slender, papillose.

Fruiting perianth enveloping the utricle as a tube, crustaceous to woody, often with a lower chamber (hollow base) filled with moist tissue when fresh; a slit or tubercle (radicular tubercle) present opposite the radicle; spines 0-9 usually 2-6, arising between the perianth lobes, a contiguous pair often opposite the radicle (radicular spines); perianth lobes and the upper portion of the tube (above the spines) sometimes prominent (the limb); utricle thin-walled; seed horizontal to erect; testa membranous; embryo horseshoe-shaped to annular, the radicle often lying within a radicular tubercle (through which it emerges on germinating); perisperm central.

Distribution:  An Australian endemic genus of 62 species none of which are found in Tas. Typically found in heavy soil in semi-arid regions. (E. H. Ising (1964) Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 88:63-110; A. J. Scott (1978) Reprium nov. Spec. Regni veg. 89:110-114.)

Biology: No text

Taxonomic notes: 1) In the key the term 'perianth' is used for the fruiting perianth 2) Species of Sclerolaena sometimes hybridise with other members of the genus, or with members of related genera. Hybrids can often be recognised as such by the perianths which may be deformed or be exceedingly variable on the one plant; they are frequently sterile. 3) The full number of spines are not necessarily expressed on every perianth; a check should therefore be made of several. 4) Fruiting perianths frequently develop even though the seed does not; the sterile 'fruits' sometimes differ substantially from fertile 'fruits' and may cause confusion with identification. 5) In the description the spine numbers are divided between the radicular spines and the normal spines; thus '4 + 2' indicates that 4 spines alternate with the perianth lobes and 2 spines are placed opposite the radicle.

Key to Species:
1. Spines absent or represented by 1 or 2 blunt tubercles
S. patenticuspis 30.
1. Spines 1-10, hard
 
2. Plant glabrous apart from axillary tufts of hairs
 
3. Leaves linear to narrow-oblong or elliptic, flat
S. muricata 26.
3. Leaves terete to semiterete, fleshy
 
4. Spines 1-3
 
5. Perianth and young leaves variously pubescent; limb erect, oblong, c. 3.5 mm long
S. bicuspis 3.
5. Perianth glabrous (or with a puberulous limb); young leaves glabrous or almost so
 
6. Base of the perianth tube expanded, principal spines 3
 
7. Principal spines irregularly arranged, 20-30 mm long
S. longicuspis 25.
7. Principal spines symmetrically arranged, under 15 mm long
S. tricuspis 33.
6. Base of the perianth tube not expanded
 
8. Limb fully erect; leaf axil woolly-pilose
S. articulata 1.
8. Limb incurved (at least at the tip); leaf axil shortly pubescent to glabrous
 
9. Principal spines 2, laterally placed and ascending; radicular spine solitary and curved adaxially
S. glabra 19.
9. Principal spines 3, almost horizontal (one lateral, one abaxial, and one somewhat adaxial or curved around the branch)
S. cuneata 12.
4. Spines 4-9
 
10. Longer spines 20-30 mm long, slender; perianth tube very thick, with an expanded base
S. longicuspis 25.
10. Longer spines under 15 mm long
 
11. Spines 6, spreading; 4 equidistantly arranged and a short contiguous pair on a radicular spur, base slightly hollowed
S. calcarata 7.
11. Spines 4 or 5
 
12. Perianth very shortly cylindrical, attachment basal; spines 5, spreading (3 equidistant and a contiguous pair)
S. johnsonii 22.
12. Perianth dorsiventrally compressed; attachment very oblique
 
13. Spines 4 (on some 'fruits' 3); perianth limb inflexed or inflexed at the tip
 
14. Major spines 2, laterally placed
S. glabra 19.
14. Major spines 2 or 3 one of which is somewhat abaxially placed
 
15. Major spines: 1 abaxial and 2 lateral in line; stamens 3
S. divaricata 16.
15. Major spines: 1 abaxial, 1 lateral, and 1 some- what adaxial or curved around the branch; stamens 5
S. cuneata 12.
13. Spines 5 (3 major and 2 minor adaxial); limb erect
S. intricata 21.
2. Plant variously hairy
 
16. Flowers in pairs; perianth appendages ('spines') in 2 series, fan-shaped, fimbriate; leaves linear, silky
S. symoniana 31.
16. Flowers solitary in the leaf axil; perianth appendages (spines) not in 2 series
 
17. Spines 2; perianth with a prominently hollowed base
 
18. Perianth tube glabrous, oblong, dorsiventrally compressed, c. 3 mm long, crustaceous, straw-coloured
S. tatei 32.
18. Perianth tube hairy
 
19. Perianth 1ong-silky-villous
S. eriacantha 17.
19. Perianth puberulous to shortly woolly
 
20. Spines parallel and erect; perianth expanded into a hollow base with an elliptic attachment
S. parallelicuspis 28.
20. Spines riot parallel or, it so, attachment circular
 
21. Perianth narrowed above the very swollen hollow base to form a dorsiventrally compressed tube
S. constricta 9.
21. Perianth tube and base continuous
 
22. Perianth slightly ribbed on the abaxial face; attachment narrow- to broad-elliptic
S. holtiana 20.
22. Perianth smooth or almost so; attachment circular
 
23. Spines erect and almost parallel, mostly 0.5-1 mm long
S. uniflora 34.
23. Spines divergent, mostly c. 2 mm long
S. diacantha 15.
17. Spines 1-9, if 2 then the perianth base not prominently hollowed
 
24. Spines 5 or more
 
25. Spines 6
 
26. Perianth oblong, dorsiventrally compressed, glabrous; spines spreading, 1-4 mm long
S. calcarata 7.
26. Perianth shortly cylindrical to broadly turbinate; spines 1-2 mm long
S. parviflora 29.
25. Spines 5
 
27. Spines equal, regularly arranged around the apex of the barrel-shaped tube; plant loosely woolly all over
S. blackiana 5.
27. Spines irregular in arrangement or size
 
28. Perianth tube oblong, dorsiventrally compressed, curved, woolly; spines flattened and fused to form an abaxial and an adaxial group
S. clelandii 8.
28. Perianth tube squat, shortly turbinate to subglobular, spines not in 2 groups
 
29. Perianth silky-villous, with a prominent erect chartaceous limb
S. fontinalis 18.
29. Perianth glabrous, sparsely villous or woolly; limb not apparent
 
30. Perianth glabrous or very sparsely woolly, prominently ribbed; apex cushion-shaped, sunken in the centre
S. costata 11.
30. Perianth sparsely villous or woolly, not prominently ribbed, if glabrous then with a convex apex
 
31. Perianth tube somewhat narrowed towards the base, pubescent or shortly villous; apex convex, attachment circular, not sunken
S. convexula 10.
31. Perianth tube not obviously narrowed towards the base; attachment broad or elliptic, sometimes hollowed
 
32. Leaves slender, semiterete, villous; perianth woolly, the 3 longer spines 5-8 mm long
S. deserticola 14.
32. Leaves linear to elliptic or obovate, flattened (sometimes fleshy)
 
33. Perianth densely woolly; apex convex; 2 longest spines 8-15 mm long
S. birchii 4.
33. Perianth glabrous, sparsely villous, or minutely woolly; longer spines 5-10 mm long
S. muricata 26.
24. Spines 1-4
 
34. Longer spines 10-30 mm long
S. bicornis 2.
34. Longer spines mostly under 10 mm long
 
35. Perianth glabrous (limb sometimes hairy); leaves glossy; hairs on the leaves appressed, medifixed
S. decurrens 13.
35. Perianth hairy; hairs on the leaves basifixed
 
36. Spines 3 or 4; perianth barrel-shaped; limb erect, densely hairy
S. ventricosa 35.
36. Spines 2-4, if 3 or 4 then the perianth tube not barrel-shaped
 
37. Leaves tomentose with shortly branched hairs
S. limbata 24.
37. Leaves glabrous or with simple (sometimes asperulous) hairs
 
38. Leaves slender, semiterete, 10-20 mm long, with a recurved apex at least when young
S. bicornis 2.
38. Leaves flattened, or ellipsoid, or if semiterete less than 10 mm long
 
39. Spines 2, slender, 4-7 mm long, glabrous or sparsely hairy towards the base
 
40. Spines ascending in the same vertical plane; hairs smooth
S. patenticuspis 30.
40. Spines ascending in different vertical planes
 
41. Leaves 2-3 mm long; hairs smooth
S. brevifolia 6.
41. Leaves mostly 6-10 mm long; hairs asperulous
S. obliquicuspis 27.
39. Spines 3 or 4, short or slender, glabrous or densely hairy in the lower part
 
42. Perianth tube oblong, dorsiventrally compressed, curved; spines up to 1 mm long
S. clelandii 8.
42. Perianth tube turbinate, not curved; 2 longer spines slender, 3-6 mm long, pilose in the lower half
S. lanicuspis 23.

Author: Not yet available


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