Description: Annual or perennial herbs.
Leaves opposite, whorled or alternate, sessile.
Flowers solitary or in small cymes in the leaf axils, leaves sometimes reduced to give rise to a spike-like conflorescence. Flowers actinomorphic, usually 6-merous, sometimes heterostylous. Hypanthium usually tubular, 8–12-veined; calyx appendages present. Petals usually present. Stamens as many as or twice as many as the petals. Ovary 2-locular; style length uniform or variable.
Capsule enclosed in the fruiting hypanthium, septicidally dehiscent at the summit; seeds numerous.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 36 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: 5 species (2 species endemic), all States.
Text by J. Highet & Peter G. Wilson
Taxa not yet included in identification key
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Flowers in spike-like conflorescences at the top of the stem; leaves almost all opposite or whorled, more or less cordate at the base||Lythrum salicaria|
|Flowers solitary or few in the axils of unreduced leaves; leaves usually alternate, lamina obtuse or rounded at the base||2|
|2||Flowers in groups of 3–7 in the leaf axils; plants usually erect||Lythrum wilsonii|
|Flowers solitary in the leaf axils; plants procumbent or ascending|
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