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Genus Hydrocotyle Family Araliaceae

Description: Perennial herbs with prostrate to ascending stems, rooting at nodes or with underground stolons, or annual herbs with erect branched stems.

Leaves simple, lamina circular or cordate, peltate, margins entire, lobed or dissected with crenate to toothed margins or palmately compound with 3–5 entire to lobed leaflets; petiolate, with scarious stipules.

Inflorescence usually a simple umbel, with or without bracts, or flowers in heads or spikes. Flowers bisexual or unisexual and plants dioecious; white, greenish or pinkish. Sepals minute or absent. Petals ± ovate, usually acute, the apex not inflexed. Stylopodium depressed.

Fruit laterally compressed; mericarps usually more or less distinctly 5-ribbed.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: >130 species, tropical & temperate areas. Australia: c. 55 species, (most species endemic), all States. Pennyworts

Formerly in Apiaceae.

Text by S. M. Hastings & B. M. Wiecek
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Hydrocotyle acutiloba,    Hydrocotyle digitata,    Hydrocotyle hirta,    Hydrocotyle pterocarpa,    Hydrocotyle rivularis

 Key to the species 
1Leaves peltate, more or less circular; flowers either in clusters along a rachis or in compound umbels2
Leaves not peltate; flowers in simple umbels or small heads3
2Flowers in clusters of 2–5 with 1–7 clusters along a simple sometimes branched rachisHydrocotyle verticillata
Flowers numerous in compound umbels
                       Back to 1
Hydrocotyle bonariensis
3Perennials with prostrate or ascending stems or stolons4
Annuals with erect or ascending stems
                       Back to 1
9
4Leaves palmatisect into 3–5 segments5
Leaves with lamina simple or sometimes palmatifid
                       Back to 3
6
5Leaf segments large, to 5 cm longHydrocotyle geraniifolia
Leaf segments small, usually less than 1 cm long, umbels few-flowered
                       Back to 4
Hydrocotyle tripartita
6Flowers conspicuously pedicellate in umbels7
Flowers sessile or very shortly and inconspicuously pedicellate, in small, dense heads
                       Back to 4
8
7Leaves mostly less than 4 cm wide, both surfaces hirsuteHydrocotyle laxiflora
Leaves mostly more than 5 cm, glabrous or with short more or less spreading hairs especially on lower veins
                       Back to 6
Hydrocotyle pedicellosa
8Flowers less than 12 per umbel; fruit c. 1 mm long and wideHydrocotyle sibthorpioides
Flowers c. 15 per umbel; fruit 1–1.7 mm long, 1.5–2 mm wide
                       Back to 6
Hydrocotyle algida
9Mericarps smooth or faintly wrinkled between dorsal and intermediate ribs10
Mericarps with tubercles or many pits between dorsal and intermediate ribs
                       Back to 3
Hydrocotyle trachycarpa
10Plants usually grey-green or often purplish tinged; umbels usually shortly pedunculate, with 6–15 flowersHydrocotyle callicarpa
Plants usually bright green to yellowish green; umbels mostly sessile, leaf-opposed, with 3–6 flowers
                       Back to 9
Hydrocotyle foveolata

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