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Genus Chamaecrista Family Fabaceae
Subfamily Caesalpinioideae

Description: Small trees, shrubs or herbs, unarmed; root nodules sometimes present.

Leaves alternate, paripinnate; leaflets 1-many pairs, elliptic to obovate, usually hairy; rachis with glands between leaflets pairs; stipules persistent or caducous.

Inflorescences axillary; bracts 1; bracteoles 2 per flower. Flowers rotate. Sepals 5, narrow, usually acuminate. Petals 5, yellow, sometimes red-spotted. Stamens mostly 5 or 10; anthers basifixed, equal or not, not bilaterally symmetric. Gynoecium curved, shorter than petals.

Pods flat and dry, elastically dehiscent by both sutures, the valves coiling after release; seeds with funicle triangularly dilated.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 350 spp., widely distributed in S Amer., southern Afr. & trop. Asia. Aust.: 14 spp. (2 spp. naturalized), Qld, N.S.W., N.T., W.A.

Text by B. Wiecek
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Leaves with 1 pair of leaflets; leaflets 5–30 mm wide; petiolar gland absent.Chamaecrista rotundifolia
Leaves with 3 or more pairs of leaflets; leaflets <2 mm wide; petiolar glands present.2
2Petiolar glands sessile; stamens 8 or more.3
Petiolar gland with a short thick stipe; stamens 5 or fewer.
                       Back to 1
Chamaecrista biddulphiana
3Leaves with rachis 4–10 cm long, ciliate on upper surface; leaflets 3–10 mm long; stipules 4–10 mm long; plants erect.Chamaecrista nomame
Leaves with rachis 2–4 cm long, ± glabrous on upper surface; leaflets 3–6 cm long; stipules 2–3 mm long; plant prostrate or tufted.
                       Back to 2
Chamaecrista maritima

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