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Family Papaveraceae

Synonyms: Fumariaceae APNI*

Description: Annual or perennial herbs to subshrubs or sometimes shrubs, scapose or caulescent, erect or prostrate, often with weak or trailing stems, sometimes climbing by sensitive petiolules, with milky, coloured or clear/watery sap.

Leaves alternate [to opposite], basal and/or cauline, simple and variously lobed or (compound) pinnately dissected 2 or 3 times with ultimate segments often deeply lobed, petiolate or sessile; stipules absent.

Inflorescences terminal, axillary or leaf-opposed. Flowers solitary or usually in cymes or racemes, actinomorphic or strongly zygomorphic, bisexual. Sepals 2 or 3, often caducous and shed early. Petals (in actinomorphic flowers) 4–6 or 8–12, distinct, usually ± obovate, or (in zygomorphic flowers) 4, in 2 pairs, the 2 outer petals dissimilar, larger, often pouched or spurred at the base, the inner 2 petals similar, smaller and narrower, ± fused over the stigmas at the tip. Stamens (in zygomorphic flowers) usually numerous (the filaments sometimes petaloid) or (in zygomorphic flowers) mostly 6 (dimorphic, united in 2 bundles); 1 or more nectaries, often spur-like in form, commonly present at the base of the stamens in zygomorphic flowers. Ovary superior, usually 1-locular; carpels 2–many; style 1 or absent; stigmas as many as the carpels.

Fruit a capsule dehiscing by pores or valves or nut-like and indehiscent; seeds 2–numerous.

Distribution and occurrence: World: 44 genera, 825 species, mostly temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, also East Africa. Australia: 7 genera, 22 species (all naturalised or 1 species doubtfully native), all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Papaveraceae, Order: Ranunculales)

Many species are grown as ornamentals, notably the Poppy Papaver spp., Californian Poppy Eschscholzia californica Cham., Bleeding Heart Lamprocapnos spectabilis (L.) Fukuhara, and Dutchman's Breeches Dicentra cucullaria (L.) Bernh.; some have escaped from cultivation and are weeds.

Text by based on S.W.L. Jacobs, Papaveraceae, and G.J. Harden, Fumariaceae, Flora of New South Wales Vol. 1 (1990). Revised April 2017, P.G. Kodela.
Taxon concept: Australian Plant Census (accessed April 2017)

 Key to the genera 
1Flowers mostly solitary (inflorescence cymose with flowers in 1s, 2s or 3s often on long scapes or peduncles), actinomorphic (radially symmetric); petals 4–12, similar, free, often imbricate; stamens numerous2
Flowers in racemes (inflorescence racemose with 6–40 flowers), zygomorphic (bilaterally symmetric); petals 4, in 2 pairs, the 2 outer petals dissimilar, larger, often pouched or spurred at the base, the inner 2 similar, smaller and narrower, ± fused over the stigmas at the tip; stamens mostly 6, united in 2 bundles6
2Erect, branching perennial subshrub or shrub to 3 m high; petals whiteRomneya
Annual or perennial herb or subshrub to 1.5 m high; petals not white or if white plant annual
                       Back to 1
3Capsule many times longer than broad; stigmas 2 or 44
Capsule at most 2–3 times longer than broad; stigmas mostly 5-merous (rarely 4)
                       Back to 2
4Sepals 2, fused into a calyptra; stigmas 4Eschscholzia
Sepals 2, free; stigmas 2
                       Back to 3
5Sepals 3; petals 6Argemone
Sepals 2; petals 4
                       Back to 3
6At least the lower fruit 1-seeded, more or less globose, 2–3 mm long, indehiscentFumaria
All fruit 4–12-seeded, linear, c. 15 mm long, dehiscing by 2 valves
                       Back to 1

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