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Genus Frankenia Family Frankeniaceae

Description: Subshrubs, usually salt-tolerant, often pubescent.

Leaves small, generally crowded on short lateral branches, hairy, often greyish owing to salt encrusted on surface.

Flowers each subtended by a pair of bracts and decussate pair of bracteoles; bracts and bracteoles usually similar and pairs often united by a stipular sheath. Calyx usually 5-ribbed and 5-lobed, ciliate, persistent. Petals 4–6, pink or white. Stamens 4–8, outer whorl shorter than the inner whorl, filaments often fused at base. Ovary of 3 carpels, placentation parietal or basal.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: 80 species, temperate & subtropical regions. Australia: c. 50 species, all mainland States.

Note: specimens are difficult to determine as many species are superficially similar. The entire genus needs revision.

Text by C. Miller
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Placentation parietal but placentas sometimes almost basal; ovules 3–many, 1 or more per placenta, funicle not or scarcely longer than ovule, erect to sometimes recurved2
Placentation basal; ovules usually 3 (same number as style branches), rarely 4 or 5 (divided funicle with 2 ovules), funicle longer than ovule, erect at base then recurved6
2Leaves more or less sessile; stigmas club-shapedFrankenia foliosa
Leaves petiolate, the petiole often winged and ciliate; stigmas linear to club-shaped
                       Back to 1
3
3Bracteolar sheath cupped, clasping calyx and often partly fused to itFrankenia cupularis
Bracteolar sheath small, if cupped then not fused to the calyx
                       Back to 2
4
4Ovules 1 per placenta, attached in upper half of ovary; stems densely hairy with thick white recurved hairsFrankenia crispa
Ovules more than 1 per placenta; stems minutely pubescent
                       Back to 3
5
5Small shrub; hairs more or less dense, those on the stems and calyces never hookedFrankenia sp. A sensu Harden (1990)
Annual herb; hairs sparse and at least some of those on stems and calyces hooked
                       Back to 4
Frankenia annua
6Upper leaf surface more or less glabrous7
Upper leaf surface densely pubescent, sometimes glabrescent with age
                       Back to 1
8
7Stigmas linear to filiform; hairs of indumentum very shortFrankenia gracilis
Stigmas linear to club-shaped, capitate; hairs of indumentum long, pilose becoming scabrous
                       Back to 6
Frankenia uncinata
8Hairs on leaves, stems and calyx ribs bristly, to 1 mm long; bracts and bracteoles often smaller and hairier than leaves; funicles long, recurved; stigmas capitate to club-shapedFrankenia serpyllifolia
Hairs on leaves less than 0.5 mm long; bracts and bracteoles the same as leaves; funicles long, reflexed; stigmas linear
                       Back to 6
9
9Calyces 6–10 mm long; stigmas 0.7–2 mm long10
Calyces 3–7 mm long; stigmas 0.3–1 mm long
                       Back to 8
Frankenia angustipetala
10All leaves linear to more or less oblong, margins strongly recurved with only midrib exposed below; calyx ribs minutely pubescentFrankenia connata
Lower leaves ovate or elliptic to oblong, margins slightly recurved or flat; calyx with spreading hairs 0.5–1 mm long
                       Back to 9
Frankenia latior

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