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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, each subtended by a small bract and 2 bracteoles. 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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