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Family Chenopodiaceae

Description: Perennial shrubs or annual or perennial herbs, sometimes succulent.

Leaves usually alternate but opposite and reduced in the samphires.

Inflorescence paniculate or cymose, though frequently reduced to solitary axillary flowers. Flowers bisexual or unisexual, with a single perianth whorl. Perianth of 1–5 segments, often variously fused, rarely absent, frequently developing spines, wings or tubercles in fruit. Stamens opposite and equal to, or fewer than, perianth segments. Ovary usually superior (half-inferior in Beta), 1-locular; stigmas 2 or 3.

Fruit a nut or berry with membranous, crustaceous, or succulent pericarp.


Distribution and occurrence: World: >100 genera, 1500 species, widespread. Australia: 29 genera, c. 300 species, all States.

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

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

 Key to the genera 
1Plants with obvious leaves, mostly alternate; branches not articulated2
Plants with opposite very reduced leaves or apparently leafless; younger branch internodes swollen and succulent, photosynthetic, apparently articulated (samphires)22
2Ovary half-inferior; fruiting perianths united in clusters; introduced species in coastal areasBeta
Ovary superior; fruiting perianths free or variously fused; native and introduced species of various habitats
                       Back to 1
3
3Fruiting perianth fused and succulent, frequently red, yellow or puceEnchylaena
Fruiting perianth various but never succulent and berry-like
                       Back to 2
4
4Flowers free from one another and fruiting perianth not or little changed from perianth at early flowering stages5
Either flowers variously fused and/or fruiting perianth hardened or with various wings, spines or other modifications developing from early flowering stages (very occasionally these failing to develop in some individuals), or perianth absent and fruit subtended by modified bracteoles
                       Back to 3
13
5Herbs6
Shrubs
                       Back to 4
10
6Herb with basal rosette of leaves; perianth segments 4, cartilaginous in fruitScleroblitum
Herbs without basal rosette; perianth segments 1–5, remaining unaltered in fruit
                       Back to 5
7
7Glandular-pubescent herbs; perianth segments 1–4; stamens 1 or 2Dysphania
Either plants not glandular-pubescent or perianth segments 5; stamens 1–5
                       Back to 6
8
8Leaves semiterete; hairs, if present, simple; embryo spirally coiledSuaeda
Leaves flattened; hairs glandular or vesicular (mealy); embryo in one plane
                       Back to 7
9
9Perianth segments 5; stamens 1–3 only in terminal (on branches) bisexual flowers, lateral flowers female; fruit occasionally with inflated succulent pericarpEinadia
Perianth segments 3–5; stamens 1–5; flowers mostly bisexual but some species with terminal (on branches) bisexual flowers and lateral female flowers; fruit only rarely (Chenopodium curvispicatum) with inflated succulent pericarp
                       Back to 8
Chenopodium
10Leaves semiterete; hairs, if present, simple; embryo spirally coiledSuaeda
Leaves flattened; hairs vesicular (mealy); embryo in one plane
                       Back to 5
11
11Plants shrubby, mainly dioecious; stamens 5; fruit with inflated succulent pericarpRhagodia
Plants herbaceous or shrubby, mainly monoecious though flowers frequently bisexual; stamens 1–5; pericarp inflated and succulent or not
                       Back to 10
12
12Perianth segments 5; stamens 1–3 only in terminal (on branches) bisexual flowers, lateral flowers female; fruit occasionally with inflated succulent pericarpEinadia
Perianth segments 3–5; stamens 1–5; flowers mostly bisexual but some species with terminal (on branches) bisexual flowers and lateral female flowers; fruit rarely (Chenopodium curvispicatum) with inflated succulent pericarp
                       Back to 11
Chenopodium
13Flowers mostly unisexual, the female flowers lacking a perianth but subtended by a pair of bracteoles that are variously free, fused or ornamentedAtriplex
Flowers bisexual or unisexual, all flowers with a perianth but this often much modified in fruit
                       Back to 4
14
14Flowers fused in clusters of 2 or moreDissocarpus
Flowers free
                       Back to 13
15
15Fruiting perianth without appendages; cartilaginous to hardened16
Fruiting perianth with various appendages
                       Back to 14
17
16Herbs with a basal rosette of leaves; fruiting perianth cartilaginous; perianth segments 4Scleroblitum
Small woody perennials without a basal rosette of leaves; fruiting perianth hardened; perianth usually 5-lobed or rarely 3- or 4-lobed
                       Back to 15
Threlkeldia
17Fruiting perianth spinescent or with other cylindrical outgrowths joined by wings or free18
Fruiting perianth with various wings, not spinescent
                       Back to 15
20
18Fruiting perianth with 3–5 more or less cylindrical, soft appendagesMalacocera
Fruiting perianth spinescent
                       Back to 17
19
19Fruiting perianth cylindrical with 5 spines arising from base of perianth lobes, the spines united into an apical cup-shaped structureNeobassia
Fruiting perianth variously shaped with 1–6 (sometimes 8–15) spines or tubercles arising between the perianth lobes
                       Back to 18
Sclerolaena
20Wings on fruiting perianth verticalOsteocarpum
At least some wings on fruiting perianth horizontal
                       Back to 17
21
21Flowers subtended by a pair of prominent spinescent bracteoles; embryo spirally coiledSalsola
Floral bracts absent or minute, never spinescent; embryo in one plane
                       Back to 20
Maireana
22Axillary inflorescences 5–9-flowered; plants spreading; stamens 2; perisperm absentSarcocornia
Axillary inflorescences 3-flowered; plants more or less low hemispherical shrubs; stamen 1; perisperm present
                       Back to 1
Tecticornia

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