Description: Prostrate or decumbent perennial or annual herbs, frequently with a thick taproot. Stems glabrous or with one or more types of glandular hairs.
Leaves opposite, the members of each pair frequently unequal, lower surface often paler.
Inflorescences terminal and/or axillary, from simple to compound, often on the same plant. Flowers solitary, or sessile or pedicellate in small umbels; bisexual. Perianth 5-lobed, white to dark pink. Stamens 1–4.
Fruit indehiscent, conspicuously 3–5-ribbed, the ribs ± mucilaginous when wet; seed 1.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 20 species, tropical & subtropical regions. Australia: c. 8 species (5 species endemic), all mainland States.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & G. J. Harden
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Flowers 3–10, subsessile in small umbels; peduncle comparatively stout; stems with long (usually more than 5 cells) hairs||Boerhavia coccinea|
|Flowers 1–10, shortly to distinctly pedicellate in small umbels; peduncle comparatively slender; stems glandular-hairy mostly with short (less than 5 cells) hairs||2|
|2||Fruit with ribs much broader than the narrow furrows; inflorescence usually 1- or 2-flowered; peduncle usually less than 10 mm long||Boerhavia repleta|
|Fruit with ribs narrower than or similar in breadth to the furrows; inflorescence usually 2–10-flowered; peduncles usually more than 10 mm long|
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