PlantNET Home PlantNET Home | Search NSW Flora | Contact Us  
FloraOnline
Introduction
Plant Name Search
Index Search
Spatial Search
Identification Keys
Classification
Glossary
HerbLink (Type Images)
WeedAlert
Other PlantNET Sites
Other Data Sources
NEW SOUTH WALES FLORA ONLINE Printable Page

Family Polygonaceae

Description: Annual or perennial herbs, shrubs or climbers; stems often with swollen nodes, the nodes surrounded by a membranous or scarious sheath (ocrea), usually shortly tubular, often disintegrating [or reduced or rarely absent].

Leaves alternate, opposite or whorled, simple and usually entire, petiolate or sessile, sometimes articulate; sunken (pit) nectaries sometimes present at base of petiole on lower surface.

Inflorescence a raceme or spike-like panicle; flowers clustered or solitary, each cluster subtended by an ocreola and each flower by a similar small persistent sheath. Flowers actinomorphic, bisexual or unisexual (plants dioecious or monoecious); pedicels mostly articulate, with portion ('fruiting pedicel') falling with fruit. Perianth segments mostly 4–6 in 2 whorls, imbricate, united at least at base, sepaloid and greenish or petaloid and white to deep pink, persistent, often enlarged in fruit and membranous, hard or succulent. Stamens mostly 2–9; anthers versatile or basifixed, 2-locular, longitudinally dehiscent. Ovary superior, 1-locular with a solitary basal ovule; styles 1–4, free or fused at base; stigmas variable.

Fruit an achene, trigonous or lenticular, mostly enclosed by persistent perianth and falling as a unit with portion of pedicel.


Habitat
Photo Karen L Wilson

Habit
Photo J. Plaza

Flower
Photo J. R. Hosking

Fruit
Photo L. von Richter

Distribution and occurrence: World: 40 gen., 800 spp., cosmop., especially in N temp. regions. Aust.: 10 gen. (4 gen. native), 57 spp., all States.

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

Various species are cultivated as ornamentals or food crops, including Antigonon leptopus Hook. & Arn. (Coral Vine), Fagopyrum esculentum Moench (Buckwheat), Muehlenbeckia platyclada (Homalocladium platycladum), Persicaria odorata (Lour.) Sojak (Vietnamese Mint), Persicaria orientalis (L.) Spach (Princes Feathers), Rheum x rhabarbarum L. (Rhubarb). Various species are weedy, especially introduced species of Acetosa, Acetosella (Sorrel), Emex and Rumex (Docks).

Text by K. L. Wilson
Taxon concept:

 Key to the genera 
1Perianth segments 4 or 5; anthers versatile2
Perianth segments 6 (occasionally 5 in male Emex flowers); anthers basifixed8
2Ocreas entire, tubular, often only shortly so and soon disintegrating, pale brown, upper margin often ciliate or with a green limb; stamen filaments subulate or filiform3
Ocreas lacerate, often nearly to base, glabrous, silvery or white; stamen filaments subulate above, widely dilated in lower half
                       Back to 1
Polygonum
3Shrubs with thorn-like branch tips; extrafloral nectaries absentDuma
Vines or shrubs without thorn-like branch tips; extrafloral nectaries present or absent
                       Back to 2
4
4Flowers mostly unisexual; stigmas elongate or peltate, fimbriate; extrafloral nectary present at base of petiole on abaxial surface5
Flowers bisexual; stigmas capitate, usually smooth; petiolar nectaries absent or present
                       Back to 3
6
5Outer 3 perianth segments winged in fruit; stigmas shortly elongate; rhizomatous perennials with stout erect annual stemsReynoutria
Perianth segments not winged but often enlarged in fruit, and becoming fleshy or membranous; stigmas peltate; slender perennial shrubs or woody herbs or climbers, not rhizomatous
                       Back to 4
Muehlenbeckia
6Nut much exceeding perianth segmentsFagopyrum
Nut enclosed by perianth segments
                       Back to 4
7
7Outer 3 perianth segments winged or keeled in fruit; twining or decumbent, slender but woody herbs; nectary present at base of petioleFallopia
Perianth segments not winged or keeled; erect to procumbent non-woody herbs, slender to stout; nectaries absent
                       Back to 6
Persicaria
8Outer 3 perianth segments in female flowers enlarged and hardened in fruit and produced in a rigid spreading spine; perianth segments subequal in male flowersEmex
Outer 3 perianth segments smaller than inner 3, not spiny or hardened
                       Back to 1
9
9Flowers unisexual; inner 3 perianth segments scarcely exceeding the nut; leaves hastateAcetosella
Flowers mostly bisexual; inner 3 perianth segments much exceeding nut; leaves variable
                       Back to 8
10
10Leaves hastate or sagittate at base; inner 3 perianth segments membranous, inflatedAcetosa
Leaves rounded, cuneate or cordate at the base; inner 3 perianth segments leathery, not inflated, often toothed
                       Back to 9
Rumex

  Privacy | Copyright | Disclaimer | About PlantNET | Cite PlantNET