Description: Large annual or short-lived perennial herbs with glandular hairs, viscid.
Leaves alternate or the upper ones paired, simple, margins entire, base narrowing into a ± winged petiole.
Flowers solitary in leaf axils, bisexual, usually slightly zygomorphic. Calyx campanulate, deeply 5-lobed. Corolla funnel-shaped or trumpet-shaped, white or entirely purple with the tube length and the corolla diam. 2 cm; limb shortly 5-lobed. Stamens 5, 4 in two pairs, inserted on corolla tube; anthers 2-locular, versatile, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary 2-locular.
Fruit a capsule, enclosed by calyx.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 7–15 species, mostly South America. Australia: 1 or 2 species (naturalized), Qld, N.S.W.
The widely cultivated garden species P. hybrida Vilm. is derived from P. axillaris, P. integrifolia (Hook.) Schinz & Thellung, and complex hybrids between them. This species occasionally appears spontaneously and may possibly revert to P. axillaris.
Text by B. J. Conn
|One species in NSW: Petunia axillaris|