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Family Amaranthaceae

Description: Annual or perennial herbs, subshrubs or climbers.

Leaves opposite or simple, usually petiolate.

Inflorescence spicate or racemose or flowers in clusters, rarely reduced to a single flower. Flowers generally actinomorphic, bisexual or less often unisexual. Perianth segments 3–5, free or variously fused. Stamens 5, sometimes reduced in number with staminodes present, sometimes staminodes alternate with stamens; filaments frequently fused, at least partially. Ovary superior, 1-locular, ovules 1 or several; style 1, entire, bifid or trifid.

Fruit succulent or dry, indehiscent or circumsciss; seeds laterally compressed.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 65 genera, c. 900 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: 15 genera, c. 150 species, all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Amaranthaceae, Order: Caryophyllales)
Wikipedia

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & L. Lapinpuro
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Hemichroa

 Key to the genera 
1Leaves alternate or all radical2
Leaves opposite4
2Woody climbers; fruit a red berryDeeringia
Annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs; fruit dry
                       Back to 1
3
3Inflorescence and perianths mostly glabrous; filaments free; fruit 1-seededAmaranthus
Inflorescence and perianths variously hairy; filaments fused at the base; fruit with 1 or more seeds
                       Back to 2
10
4Perianth rigid, especially in fruit5
Perianth membranous or scarious in fruit, not rigid
                       Back to 1
8
5Perianth segments 4; bracts spinescent, spreading in fruitNyssanthes
Perianth segments 5; bracts variously armed, not spreading in fruit
                       Back to 4
6
6Inflorescence an axillary clusterAlternanthera
Inflorescence a terminal spike
                       Back to 5
7
7Flowers not reflexed in fruit; bracts not pungentFroelichia
Flowers reflexed in fruit; bracts pungent
                       Back to 6
Achyranthes
8Stigma bifid; at least some bracts subequal to perianthGomphrena
Stigma entire; bracts shorter than perianth
                       Back to 4
9
9Perianth segments fused to c. halfway; inflorescence woollyGuilleminea
Perianth segments free or almost so; perianths glabrous or variously hairy but inflorescence not woolly
                       Back to 8
Alternanthera
10Fruit with 2 or more seeds; flowers mostly in simple terminal spicate inflorescences; anthers 2-locularPtilotus
Fruit with 1 seed; flowers in terminal and lateral spicate inflorescences; anthers 4-locular
                       Back to 3
Aerva

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