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Genus Lepidium Family Brassicaceae

Synonyms: Cardaria APNI*

Description: Annual to perennial herbs or shrubs, glabrous or with simple hairs.

Leaves variable, basal leaves often pinnatisect with stem leaves reducing in size and commonly toothed or entire.

Flowers in racemes, usually many-flowered, bractless, elongating in fruit. Sepals usually short, ± erect. Petals present and longer than sepals, or more often reduced or absent. Stamens 6, 4 or 2. Ovary sessile or rarely on a gynophore; stigma capitate to slightly lobed.

Silicula pedicellate, dehiscent or not, not constricted into valve and beak regions, flattened at right angles to the narrow septum, usually notched with the style either enclosed in or exserted from notch; valves strongly keeled, usually winged; seed 1 per loculus.

Distribution and occurrence: World: 150 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: 43 species (35 species endemic, 8 species naturalized), all States.

Text by L. Retter & G. J. Harden
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Lepidium didymum,    Lepidium draba,    Lepidium howei-insulae,    Lepidium nesophilum

 Key to the species 
1Stamens 62
Stamens 2 or 46
2Stem leaves sessile, auriculate, entire to toothed, generally more than 3 mm wide, scattered3
Stem leaves more or less linear, entire, not auriculate, mostly less than 2 mm wide, often clustered
                       Back to 1
3Stem leaves more or less broad-ovate to circular, entireLepidium perfoliatum
Stem leaves more or less triangular or oblanceolate to obovate, margins usually toothed, sometimes lobed or entire
                       Back to 2
4Stems, pedicels and leaves glabrousLepidium foliosum
Stems, pedicels and leaves hairy
                       Back to 3
Lepidium campestre
5Fruiting pedicel less than 5 mm long; style more or less shorter than apical notch of silicula; stem warty or shortly papilloseLepidium phlebopetalum
Fruiting pedicel more than 5 mm long; style longer than apical notch of silicula; stem sparsely papillose
                       Back to 2
Lepidium leptopetalum
6Stamens usually 47
Stamens usually 2
                       Back to 1
7Leaves auriculate; stems distinctly hairy; silicula more or less hairy when young8
Stem leaves attenuate at base; stems more or less glabrous or finely hairy; silicula glabrous or papillose
                       Back to 6
8Stem with obtuse hairs or papilloseLepidium papillosum
Stem with acicular hairs
                       Back to 7
Lepidium oxytrichum
9Petals absent or shorter than sepals; wings at least commencing in lower half of fruit10
Petals longer than sepals; wing formed only in upper half of fruit
                       Back to 7
Lepidium virginicum
10Fruit glabrous; wings acute, uniform around fruitLepidium monoplocoides
Fruit papillose; wings obtuse, tapering in lower half of fruit
                       Back to 9
Lepidium pseudopapillosum
11Petals longer than sepalsLepidium virginicum
Petals absent or reduced and shorter than sepals
                       Back to 6
12All leaves lobed or dissected to some degreeLepidium bonariense
At least upper stem leaves neither lobed nor dissected
                       Back to 11
13Leaf bases more or less auriculate14
Leaf bases attenuate
                       Back to 12
14Inflorescence a corymb, short, not elongating in fruitLepidium fasciculatum
Inflorescence a raceme, elongating in fruit
                       Back to 13
15Pedicels glabrous16
Pedicels hairy
                       Back to 14
16Silicula more than 3 mm long; petals rudimentary, ovateLepidium hypenantion
Silicula less than 3 mm long; petals, if present, rudimentary, linear
                       Back to 15
17Silicula 2–2.5 mm long, not tapering to base; lower stem leaves 5–10 cm long, pinnatifid with linear lobesLepidium sagittulatum
Silicula 3 mm long, tapering into base; stem leaves 3-toothed at apex to entire
                       Back to 16
Lepidium sp. B sensu Harden (1990)
18Plants not spinescent; silicula more or less hairyLepidium hyssopifolium
Smaller branches spinescent; silicula glabrous
                       Back to 15
Lepidium aschersonii
19Pedicels glabrousLepidium pseudohyssopifolium
Pedicels hairy
                       Back to 13
20Pedicels more or less shorter than or equal to silicula21
Pedicel longer than silicula
                       Back to 19
Lepidium peregrinum
21Fruit less than 3 mm long; stem glabrous or with a few scattered hairs22
Fruit more than 3 mm long; stem with long spreading obtuse hairs
                       Back to 20
Lepidium muelleri-ferdinandi
22Marginal hairs on leaves long or absentLepidium africanum
Marginal hairs on leaves short, acute or obtuse (often visible only on young leaves)
                       Back to 21
Lepidium pseudotasmanicum

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