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Synonyms: Rulingia APNI*
Description: Trees or shrubs, stellate-tomentose.
Leaves simple, ovate to broad-ovate, often cordate at base, glabrous to pubescent above, densely tomentose below, margins mostly irregularly toothed to ± entire, sometimes shallowly lobed on juvenile shoots; petiolate.
Flowers bisexual, small, in cymose panicles, leaf-opposed or axillary. Calyx 5-lobed. Petals 5, c. as long as calyx. Stamens 5, opposite petals, filaments united in a short cup; staminodes 5, alternating with stamens, deeply 3-lobed, central lobe wider than the 2 filiform lateral lobes. Ovary sessile, 5-locular, each loculus with 2–6 ovules; styles 5, partly free.
Capsule bristly, bristles covered with soft stellate hairs.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 58 species (Commersonia s. lat.), mainly tropical regions, South-East Asia, Australia & Pacific islands. Australia: 43 species (21 species in Commersonia s. str.; 22 species in Androcalva), all mainland States and the Northern Territory.
Occurs mainly inland in heathlands, shrublands, woodlands and rainforest, on various rocky substrates.
Recent molecular studies of the Malvaceae by CF Wilkins, BA Whitlock and other authors have concluded that the Rulingia is a synonym of Commersonia. Within Commersonia s. lat., two strongly supported clades (groups) were resolved; one group representing Commersonia s. str. (including Rulingia), the other described as the new genus Androcalva. In the treatment present here, a broad generic concept is applied such that all species are treated as species of Commersonia. However, each of the key leads that identify species that Wilkins et al. include in Androcalva are annotated.
For further reading links are provided to the following three papers: Polyphyly of Rulingia and Commersonia (Lasopetaleae, Malvaceae s.l.); A revision of Commersonia including Rulingia (Malvaceae s.l. or Byttneriacceae); A new Australian genus Androcalva separated from Commersonia (Malvaceae s.l. or Byttneriaceae).
Text by B.J. Conn (2013)
Taxon concept: Based in part on papers by CF Wilkins, BA Whitlock and others (2011), plus GP Guymer (Austrobaileya, volume 7)
| ||Key to the species|| |
|Note||Couplets 9–12 of this key identify those species of Commersonia that have also been recognised as the separate genus Androcalva||9|
|1||Anthers more or less laterally dehiscent; staminodes densely hairy; hairs stellate (Commersonia s. str.)||2|
|Anthers extrorsely dehiscent; staminodes glabrous (Androcalva)||9|
|2||Staminodes 3 between each stamen; tree (shrub-like when juvenile or regrowth form); inflorescence with 50–200 flowers; flowers cream-coloured||Commersonia bartramia|
|Staminodes 1 between each stamen; shrubs; inflorescence with 1 to many flowers; flowers white, pink or yellow|
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|3||Upper surface of leaf with few, scattered hairs towards margin or glabrous throughout||4|
|Upper surface of leaf moderately to very densely hairy|
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|4||Leaf elliptic to narrowly elliptic, chartaceous; petioles less than 5 mm long; shrub, prostrate, becoming procumbent; fruit with setae up to 0.9 mm long||Commersonia hermanniifolia|
|Leaf ovate, thin pliable; petioles 10–20 mm long; prostrate mat; fruit with setae more than 2 mm long. (NSW: N of Newcastle to Vic: Gippsland Lakes)|
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|5||Petal base prominently gibbous (cup-like) below and above petal attachment point||Commersonia amystia|
|Petal base not gibbous, or gibbous only above petal attachment point|
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|6||Lower and upper surface of leaf densely hairy; hairs long, stellate, all equally long; fruit setae have apical hairs with reflexed arms||Commersonia dasyphylla|
|Lower surface of leaf tomentose with long, stellate hairs; upper surface with stellate hairs shortly armed; fruit setae have apical hairs with erect or horizontal arms|
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|7||Leaf narrowly ovate; margin mainly entire; petals absent or less than 3 mm long; ligule up to 1.7 mm long||Commersonia salviifolia|
|Leaf ovate or elliptic; margin serrulate; petals 2.1–3.8 mm long; ligule 1.3–2.9 mm long|
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|8||Mature leaves ovate or narrowly ovate; anther filaments mainly stellate hairy; fruit with setae dense throughout, up to 4.6 mm long||Commersonia rugosa|
|Mature leaves narrowly elliptic or elliptic, rarely ovate; anther filaments mainly glabrous; fruit with setae scattered towards apex, up to 0.9 mm long|
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|9||Staminodes three between each stamen, all narrowly spathulate, petaloid, glabrous; leaf with apex acute; pedicels articulated; capsules with conspicuous, triangular wings||10|
|Staminodes 1–3 between each stamen, with central or single staminode petaloid, ovate or narrowly triangular; lateral staminodes (when present) terete,linear or clavate and apical third minutely papillose; leaf with apex obtuse to subacute; pedicels not articulated; capsules lacking conspicuous wings|
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|10||Stems and pedicels with conspicuous, red-tipped, clavate, glandular trichomes, much longer than stellate hairs||Commersonia viscidula|
|Stems and pedicels without glandular trichomes, or glandular trichomes inconspicuous and shorter than, or as long as stellate hairs|
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|11||Stem and flowering stems with white, stellate hairs, or hairs white with pale brown centres, c. 0.5 mm long||Commersonia fraseri|
|Stem and flowering stems with long golden to ferruginous stellate hairs, c. 1 mm long|
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|12||Petals with ligule narrower at apex than at base, either narrowly triangular, triangular, ovate or narrowly ovate with apex blunt, or narrowly oblong with base only very slightly broader base. Petal base (when lateral lobes flattened) 2–4.5mm across||Commersonia rosea|
|Petal with ligule broader towards apex than base, orbicular, suborbicular, obovate, spathulate; petal base (when flattened) less than 2.5 mm wide|
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