Description: Sprawling or climbing, annual or perennial herbs or small shrubs.
Leaves alternate, flat, entire, somewhat succulent, usually papillose.
Flowers green or yellow, sessile or pedicellate, in axillary clusters of 1–5; bracts absent. Perianth lobes mostly 4 or 5. Stamens 4–many, alternating with perianth lobes or scattered, filaments fused to perianth tube; staminodes absent. Ovary inferior; loculi as many as styles, ovules 1 per loculus, placentation apical; styles 2–10, free.
Fruit indehiscent, dry or succulent, with hard endocarp, ridged, winged or horned, sometimes papillose; seeds 1–several.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 50 species cosmopolitan, largely in Southern Hemisphere, especially southern Africa. Australia: 8 species (5 species native), all States except N.T.
Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & J. Highet
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Flowers pedicellate; pedicels at least 4 mm long||Tetragonia decumbens|
|Flowers sessile or subsessile||2|
|2||Flower bud with distinct ridges that develop into lateral wings not appreciably extending above the ovary; stamens 4||Tetragonia eremaea|
|Flower bud without distinct ridges; ridges developing and extending above ovary in the fruiting stage; stamens 4–many|
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|3||Flowers solitary; ovary rounded, not projecting; stamens 4–numerous||4|
|Flowers in clusters of usually 3–5; ovary conical, almost as long as perianth; stames 4 or rarely 3|
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|4||Projections of fruit claw-like and incurved, sometimes erect; leaves narrow broad-ovate, elliptic or rhombic and gradually narrowed to the petiole; stamens 4–8||Tetragonia moorei|
|Projections of fruit horn-like and ± divergent; leaves usually triangular-ovate and ± abruptly narrowed to a cuneate base, narrowing to the petiole; stamens usually 8–22|
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