Description: Shrubs, subshrubs or herbs sometimes from a woody base, monoecious or dioecious.
Leaves alternate, entire, shortly petiolate; stipules small.
Flowers axillary, mostly clustered. Perianth segments 6, in 2 whorls, usually larger in female flowers, free or fused below, often enlarging during fruit formation. Male flowers with perianth forming a tube, or frequently flattened, entire or acutely 6–12-lobed; glands or disc absent; stamens 3, free or fused into a short column. Female flowers without a disc; ovules 2 in each loculus; styles entire or bifid.
Capsule globose or ovoid, [occasionally fleshy and berry-like].
Distribution and occurrence: World: 40 species, South-East Asia, Malesia, Australia. Australia: c. 15 species, all mainland States except Vic.
Formerly in Euphorbiaceae.
Text by T.A. James & G.J. Harden, Flora of New South Wales Vol. 1: 399-400 (1990), in Euphorbiaceae
Taxon concept: Australian Plant Census (accessed May 2017)
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Stems and leaves minutely bristly; rigid shrub, branchlets often ending in a spine||Sauropus rigens|
|Stems and leaves glabrous; slender or wiry shrubs, subshrubs or herbs, branchlets not ending in spines||2|
|2||Leaves 1–2 mm wide, falling early||Sauropus ramosissimus|
|Leaves mostly 2–5 mm wide, more or less persistent|
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|3||Leaves oblong or ovate to lanceolate, thin-textured, with margins flat; seeds deeply sculptured||Sauropus trachyspermus|
|Leaves linear or obovate to oblanceolate, relatively thick, recurved to revolute and thickened; seeds rugose with a longitudinal rib on one side|
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