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

Family: Plantaginaceae

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. t12 (1753).

Derivation: Latin name for several European species of this genus.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Plantains.

Annual or perennial herbs with an erect or tufted habit; leaves opposite on erect stems or alternate and in a basal rosette, often with a petiole and usually with a sheathing base, exstipulate.

Capsule dehiscing the lower part by a circumscissal split, but the upper part indehiscent; seeds 1-5, often mucilaginous.

Distribution:  A cosmopolitan genus of about 280 species some of which have become widespread weeds.

Biology: No text

Taxonomic notes: The approach taken by Briggs et al. (1977) Flora of New South Wales, no. 181. Plantaginaceae is largely accepted here, and where it is not satisfactory, particularly in the P. varia-complex, it could not be evaluated whether or not our forms conform with those described for N.S.W. They reported integrades between pairs of species of this complex between: P. debilis, P. hispida, P. varia and P. gaudichaudii. The present treatment was developed from dried material in which there is a shift in the prominence of some characters, such as the shades of colour of the basal tuft of hairs on the leaves, which were not found useful. Most of the species endemic to Australia have a third cell at the apex of the ovary produced by a horizontal false septum from the placenta. The single seed in it is not shed and of multiangular shape different from the lower seeds. However, the upper seed does not develop in all fruits and in such cases the upper cell is hardly distinguishable.

Key to Species:
1. Leaves along erect stems with internodes visible between them; plant glandular-hairy
P. scabra 13.
1. Leaves in basal rosettes with internodes not visible between them; plants eglandular-hairy or glabrous
2. Plants with mainly adventitious roots
3. Corolla lobes remaining erect
P. australis 2.
3. Corolla lobes spreading to recurved in mature flowers
4. Anterior sepals fused; peduncle grooved to ridged
P. lanceolata 10.
4. Anterior sepals free or almost so; peduncle terete
P. major 11.
2. Plants with a tap root and lateral roots
5. Anterior sepals fused; peduncle longitudinally grooved to ridged
P. lanceolata 10.
5. Sepals free; peduncle terete
6. Leaves linear, entire, covered with appressed silky hairs
P. albicans 1.
6. Leaves oblanceolate or if linear then glabrous or with short hairs
7. Spikes compact with flowers appressed to the axis; corolla tube sparcely hairy
P. coronopus 4.
7. Spikes loose or if compact then with spreading flower apices; corolla tube glabrous
8. Annuals with a slender tap root (if thicker than 3 mm then capsules dark-brown); anthers up to 1 mm long
9. Capsules ellipsoid to globose, usually pale-brown often tinged purplish
10. Peduncle with long fine hairs spreading at about right angles; lower bracts longer than the sepals . P. bellardii 3
10. Peduncle with coarse hairs appressed or not spreading at right angles; lower bracts shorter than the sepals
11. Leaf bases hairy and with long woolly tufts of hairs; capsules 3-5 mm long, dark-brown
12. Leaves oblanceolate or linear-oblanceolate, flat P. drummondii 7
12. Leaves linear, often with recurved margins
P. multiscapa 12.
11. Leaf bases glabrous to hairy and with basal tufts of hairs usually not visible; capsules 1.5-2.5 mm long, pale-brown often tinged a purplish red
13. Leaves glabrous or almost so; sepals 1.5-1.8 mm long
P. sp.a 16.
13. Leaves densely hairy; sepals 2-2.5 mm long
P. sp.b 17.
9. Capsules pyriform (more or less abruptly constricted some distance below the apex)
14. Capsule apex acute or rounded, usually terete.
15. Capsule 1.5-2 mm diam., distinctly beaked
P. cunninghamii 5.
15. Capsule 2.2-3.5 mm diam., scarcely constricted towards the apex
P. drummondii 7.
14. Capsule apex truncate, quadrangular
P. turrifera 14.
8. Perennials with a tap root 3-15 mm diam., fleshy (usually shrivelling when dried); anthers 1.5-2.5 mm long or if shorter then sepals shorter than 2.5 mm
16. Leaves linear, glabrous or with few hairs mainly abaxially
P. gaudichaudii 8.
16. Leaves oblanceolate, spathulate, pubescent on both surfaces
17. Anthers shorter than I mm long; sepals 18-22 mm long; fruits widely spaced
P. aff.debilis 6.
17. Anthers 1.5-2.2 mm long; sepals 2.5-3.5 mm long; fruits usually densely clustered
18. Leaves linear-oblanceolate, usually drying a greyish-green
P. hispida 9.
18. Leaves linear-elliptic rarely linear-oblanceolate, usually drying a blackish-brown
P. varia 15.

Author: Not yet available

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