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Genus Alternanthera Family Amaranthaceae

Description: Annual or perennial herbs, with prostrate or ascending stems.

Leaves opposite.

Inflorescence globose to ovoid, axillary or terminal, usually of 1–several spikes, these sometimes clustered. Flowers bisexual. Bracts small. Perianth segments 5, scarious and white. Stamens 5 (or a few reduced to staminodes), fused at the base. Ovary sessile, flattened to globose; style short or not developed; stigma capitate.

Fruit indehiscent, compressed, with an apical notch, 1-seeded.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 200 species, tropical & subtropical regions. Australia: 8 or 9 species, all States.

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & L. Lapinpuro
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Inflorescence pedunculate, axillary or terminal; peduncles to 4 cm longAlternanthera philoxeroides
Inflorescence sessile, axillary2
2Perianth segments unequal; outer 2 c. 4–5 mm long, acuminate, pungent; next inner narrower, c. 3 mm, apex toothed with midrib excurrent; 2 innermost to c. 2.5 mm long, acute, sigmoid, with dorsal tuft of hairs at first bendAlternanthera pungens
Perianth segments more or less equal
                       Back to 1
3Perianth segments woolly on the midbackAlternanthera angustifolia
Perianth segments mostly glabrous, or sometimes with a few hairs along back of midrib
                       Back to 2
4Perianth segments 4–5 mm long, lanceolate, with long, tapered, acute apexAlternanthera nodiflora
Perianth segments 2–3 mm long, lanceolate or oblong, acute
                       Back to 3
5Innermost bracts lanceolate, acuminate, 1.5–2.5 mm long; perianth segments lanceolateAlternanthera denticulata
Innermost bracts ovate, acute, to 1.5 mm long; perianth segments oblong
                       Back to 4
6Leaves lanceolate to oblanceolate or elliptic, 15–25 mm long, 6–10 mm wideAlternanthera nana
Leaves ovate to oblong-ovate or obovate, 5–50 mm long, 3–6 mm wide
                       Back to 5
Alternanthera sp. A Flora of New South Wales (M.Gray 5187)

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