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Genus Sauropus Family Phyllanthaceae

Description: Shrubs, subshrubs or herbs sometimes from a woody base, monoecious or dioecious.

Leaves alternate, entire, shortly petiolate; stipules small.

Flowers axillary, mostly clustered. Perianth segments 6, in 2 whorls, usually larger in female flowers, free or fused below, often enlarging during fruit formation. Male flowers with perianth forming a tube, or frequently flattened, entire or acutely 6–12-lobed; glands or disc absent; stamens 3, free or fused into a short column. Female flowers without a disc; ovules 2 in each loculus; styles entire or bifid.

Capsule globose or ovoid, [occasionally fleshy and berry-like].

Distribution and occurrence: World: 40 species, South-East Asia, Malesia, Australia. Australia: c. 15 species, all mainland States except Vic.

Formerly in Euphorbiaceae.

Text by T.A. James & G.J. Harden, Flora of New South Wales Vol. 1: 399-400 (1990), in Euphorbiaceae
Taxon concept: Australian Plant Census (accessed May 2017)

 Key to the species 
1Stems and leaves minutely bristly; rigid shrub, branchlets often ending in a spineSauropus rigens
Stems and leaves glabrous; slender or wiry shrubs, subshrubs or herbs, branchlets not ending in spines2
2Leaves 1–2 mm wide, falling earlySauropus ramosissimus
Leaves mostly 2–5 mm wide, more or less persistent
                       Back to 1
3Leaves oblong or ovate to lanceolate, thin-textured, with margins flat; seeds deeply sculpturedSauropus trachyspermus
Leaves linear or obovate to oblanceolate, relatively thick, recurved to revolute and thickened; seeds rugose with a longitudinal rib on one side
                       Back to 2
Sauropus hirtellus

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