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Genus Sida Family Malvaceae

Description: Herbs or shrubs with stellate hairs.

Leaves shallowly lobed or more often unlobed, margins entire to toothed; petioles usually short.

Flowers axillary, solitary or in terminal heads or spikes; peduncles often jointed. Epicalyx absent. Calyx 5-lobed, often 10-ribbed at base in fruit. Petals yellow to orange. Staminal tube slender. Ovary 5–10-locular, each loculus 1-ovulate; styles as many as loculi; stigmas terminal, capitate.

Fruit a schizocarp; mericarps indehiscent or 2-valved.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: >200 species, widespread America & warmer regions of Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Australia: c. 40 species, all mainland States, arid & tropical areas.

This group requires much taxonomic attention; recent studies indicate that only 4 of the N.S.W. species (numbered 3–6) should be included in Sida s. str. with the remaining species assignable to other genera. Several undescribed taxa that are poorly known have not been included in this treatment.

Text by A. S. Mitchell & E. H. Norris
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Sida brachypoda,    Sida hackettiana

 Key to the species 
1Mericarps distinctly awned and calyx distinctly ribbed at the base, or mericarps covered with stout spines and calyx prominently veined, or mericarps winged2
Mericarps not distinctly awned, not covered with stout spines or winged, but sometimes deeply wrinkled, grooved or with short points; calyx not prominently ribbed or veined7
2Mericarps winged or covered with stout spines3
Mericarps distinctly awned and calyx with 10 definite ribs at base when in fruit
                       Back to 1
4
3Mericarps covered with long stout spinesSida platycalyx
Mericarps with prominent ribs or wings
                       Back to 2
Sida goniocarpa
4Flowers on peduncles 10–30 mm long; mostly solitary5
Flowers on peduncles <10 mm long; in dense clusters or solitary
                       Back to 2
6
5Plant with a persistent short grey tomentum; flowering calyx 6–10 mm long; mericarps with apical points 3–5 mm long, armed with retrorse hairsSida rohlenae
Plant glabrescent; flowering calyx 5–6 mm long; mericarps with apical points to 1 mm long
                       Back to 4
Sida rhombifolia
6Leaves with a soft or short tomentum or glabrescent; fruit with barbs on the spines of the mericarps23
Leaves glabrous or with hairs on margins; fruit without barbs on the spines of the mericarps
                       Back to 4
Sida acuta
7Flowers 2–15, clustered in axils, sometimes forming dense spikes8
Flowers solitary or in pairs in axils or in cymes
                       Back to 1
11
8Peduncles 5–10 mm long; mericarps 7–10 per fruitSida pleiantha
Peduncles 0.5–3.5 mm long; mericarps 4–6 per fruit
                       Back to 7
9
9Shrub to 2 m high; flowers more or less sessile, few to several in clusters on axils, often forming a terminal spikeSida subspicata
Subshrub or herb less than 50 cm high; flowers on peduncles 1–3.5 mm long, 1–4 per axil
                       Back to 8
10
10Lamina ovate to obovate; stipules filiform; calyx lobes acuminate; mericarps 5Sida sp. A sensu Harden (1990)
Lamina narrow-ovate to oblong; stipules narrow-triangular; calyx lobes truncate; mericarps 6 or 7
                       Back to 9
Sida sp. B sensu Harden (1990)
11Leaf laminas either reniform with scales or ovate to triangular, less than 10 mm long, and plant often spiny12
Leaf laminas not as above or if so then plant not spiny
                       Back to 7
13
12Perennial herb covered with minute scales; leaves reniform, more than 10 mm longSida leprosa
Small spindly subshrub with stellate hairs; branches sometimes ending in spines; leaves ovate to obovate, less than 10 mm long or absent
                       Back to 11
Sida intricata
13Fruit 7–10 mm wide; hoary, more or less flat on top; mericarps 9–12Sida cunninghamii
Fruit less than 7 mm wide; not hoary and flat on top; mericarps less than 8 (6–10 in Sida corrugata)
                       Back to 11
14
14Calyx 6–12 mm long in fruit; plant with a dense tomentum often yellow- or brown-tinted15
Calyx less than 5 mm long in fruit; plant mostly grey- to green- tomentose or glabrescent
                       Back to 13
16
15Calyx lobes ovate-triangular, finely stellate-pubescent often with dark hairs, to 12 mm long in fruit; plant with a yellowish grey tomentumSida petrophila
Calyx lobes narrow-triangular, obscured by thick brown stellate hair; to 10 mm long in fruit; plant with yellowish brown tomentum
                       Back to 14
Sida phaeotricha
16Flowers cymose, 3–7 (sometimes appearing solitary); fruit hardly wrinkled on sidesSida fibulifera
Flowers 1 or 2 in axils; fruit wrinkled on sides
                       Back to 14
17
17Flowers on peduncles 5 mm or more in length18
Flowers on peduncles less than 5 mm long
                       Back to 16
22
18Fruit glabrous; the central apical region prominently raised19
Fruit persistently pubescent (occasionally more or less glabrous in Sida trichopoda); the central apical region flat to rounded, hardly raised
                       Back to 17
21
19Mericarps 5; leaf laminas narrow-ovate to narrow-oblong, 10–50 mm long, 2–11 mm wideSida ammophila
Mericarps 5–8; leaf laminas mostly ovate, ovate-cordate to lanceolate, 5–30 mm long, 5–22 mm wide
                       Back to 18
20
20Prostrate to erect subshrub less than 30 cm high; leaves with persistent dense velvety tomentum, grey-blue turning green above, grey-green below; flowers on peduncles to 15 mm longSida sp. C sensu Harden (1990)
Erect or procumbent subshrub to 60 cm high; leaves with a coarse to dense tomentum, often brownish and sometimes velvety; flowers on peduncles to 40 mm long
                       Back to 19
Sida filiformis
21Flowers on peduncles to 60 mm long; corolla 5–15 mm long; leaves linear to ovate-oblong, 2–15 mm wideSida trichopoda
Flowers on peduncles to 15 mm long; corolla 4–7 mm long; leaves circular to ovate
                       Back to 18
Sida corrugata
22Leaves ovate to obovate; stipules filiform; calyx lobes acuminate; mericarps 5Sida sp. A sensu Harden (1990)
Leaves narrow-ovate to oblong; stipules narrow, triangular; calyx lobes truncate; mericarps 6 or 7
                       Back to 17
Sida sp. B sensu Harden (1990)
23Plant with a persistent, soft yellowish green tomentum; leaves 10–40 mm wide; mericarps 8–10 per fruitSida cordifolia
Plant with a short grey-green tomentum, often glabrescent; leaves 4–15 mm wide; mericarps 3–5 per fruit
                       Back to 6
Sida spinosa

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