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Genus Gonocarpus Family Haloragaceae

Description: Annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs, glabrous, scabrous or pilose.

Leaves alternate or opposite, rarely in whorls of 3, sessile or petiolate, simple, the margins entire or toothed.

Inflorescences indeterminate, spike-like, mostly lateral. Flowers usually 4-merous, shortly pedicellate, single in the axis of bracts usually with a pair of bracteoles. Sepals and petals usually 4, sepals often with prominent basal callus, persistent in fruit. Petals hooded, keeled, usually shortly clawed. Stamens usually 8; filaments short, anthers not apiculate. Ovary incompletely 4-locular; styles mostly 4.

Fruit ovoid to semiglobose, smooth or ribbed; seed 1, occupying the entire fruit.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: 41 spp., Aust., N.Z., Malesia. Aust.: 36 spp., all States.

Text by Peter G. Wilson
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Primary bracts of inflorescences opposite, at least towards the base2
Primary bracts of the inflorescences alternate4
2Leaves ovate to broad-lanceolate, more than 2 mm wide3
Leaves linear, usually 1–2 mm wide
                       Back to 1
Gonocarpus salsoloides
3Leaves and stems moderately to densely hairy with spreading, coarse hairs (often with a tuberculate base)Gonocarpus teucrioides
Leaves scarcely hairy, stems with short, appressed hairs
                       Back to 2
Gonocarpus montanus
4Leaves all opposite (occasionally alternate in G. longifolius) on vegetative growth5
Leaves all alternate; plants with rather long spreading hairs
                       Back to 1
Gonocarpus elatus
5Fruits with oblique calluses between the ribs6
Fruits smooth or papillose between the ribs
                       Back to 4
10
6Stamens 8, all fertile7
Stamens 4, opposite the sepals, rarely with 4 staminodes opposite the petals
                       Back to 5
Gonocarpus humilis
7Subshrubs with woody stems, usually more than 50 cm high8
Perennial herbs, usually less than 35 cm high; stems herbaceous or only slightly woody
                       Back to 6
9
8Leaves linear-oblong; stems and leaves moderately densely covered with spreading hairsGonocarpus longifolius
Leaves ovate to oblong, stems and leaves densely covered with very short hairs
                       Back to 7
Gonocarpus oreophilus
9Leaves narrow-ovate; indumentum soft and spreadingGonocarpus hirtus
Leaves lanceolate to narrow-elliptic; indumentum scabrous, appressed
                       Back to 7
Gonocarpus tetragynus
10Leaves narrow-lanceolate to elliptic; stem and leaves scabrous with sparse, appressed hairs; fruits papilloseGonocarpus chinensis
Leaves ovate to circular; stem and leaves glabrous; fruits smooth
                       Back to 5
Gonocarpus micranthus

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