Description: Small perennial or annual herbs, prostrate, decumbent or rarely ascending and erect, much branched, often forming mats, rooting at nodes and with acrid milky sap.
Leaves alternate and often 2-ranked, margins entire or toothed, usually sessile or lower leaves petiolate.
Flowers solitary in axils of leaf-like bracts towards the end of branches at irregular intervals, flowers bisexual or unisexual and then plants dioecious. Calyx shortly tubular, 5-lobed. Corolla white to pale purple, 5-lobed, oblique, 2-lipped, tube split to the base on the upper side, the upper lip 2-lobed, the lower 3-lobed. Stamens fused to corolla at base; filaments usually free from each other for about half their length; 3 upper anthers slightly longer at the apex and curved down onto the 2 shorter lower ones with a terminal tuft of hairs and 1 or more bristles (the 2 anterior anthers each bear a bristle). Stigma 2-lobed, or emarginate and hairy, eventually protruding from the anther column. Ovary inferior, usually 2-locular; stigma 2-lobed.
Fruit globose or ovoid and crowned by the persistent calyx, indehiscent of tardily dehiscent, usually ± fleshy, summit of ovary between the calyx lobes nearly flat, seeds numerous and small.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 30 species, temperate to tropical regions of Asia, Australia, South America, tropical Africa, Pac. Is. Australia: 13 species (?all probably endemic), all States.
Text by B. Wiecek
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Peduncles <5 mm long||2|
|Peduncles >5 mm long||4|
|2||Leaves to 12 mm long; corolla to 5 mm long||3|
|Leaves 10–30 mm long; corolla >5 mm long|
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|3||Leaves oblong to elliptic; 1–3 mm wide; inland species||Pratia darlingensis|
|Leaves ovate to spathulate or ± circular, 2.5–8 mm wide; tableland species.|
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|Pratia sp. A sensu Harden (1992)|
|4||Leaves usually obovate to spathulate, margins mostly entire||Pratia surrepens|
|Leaves not as above, margins ± toothed|
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|5||Leaves ovate to lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 10–30 mm long, glabrous||6|
|Leaves ovate to ± circular, mostly <10 mm long, usually hairy or glabrescent|
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|6||Peduncles 10–70 mm long; calyx lobes with a small basal tooth on each side; leaves mostly petiolate, often purplish on lower surface||Pratia purpurascens|
|Peduncles 3–13 mm long; calyx lobes without basal teeth; leaves sessile, green on lower surface|
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|7||Peduncles mostly <20 mm long; corolla 4–6 mm long||Pratia puberula|
|Peduncles >20 mm long, corolla usually 6–10 mm long|
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