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Phyla canescens (Kunth) Greene
Family Verbenaceae
Phyla canescens (Kunth) Greene APNI*

Synonyms: Phyla nodiflora var. canescens (Kunth) Moldenke APNI*

Description: Perennial herb with slender procumbent or ascending flowering branches; stem much branched, usually 30–90 cm long, hoary with closely appressed hairs or nearly glabrous.

Leaves with petiole 1–8 mm long; lamina obovate, spathulate or narrowly ovate, sometimes elliptic or cuneiform, ± fleshy, 1–2(-3) cm long, 0.3–0.7(-1) cm wide; margin coarsely toothed on distal half; surface minutely puberulent or glabrous.

Inflorescence with peduncles axillary, but only 1 to each pair of leaves, 1–11 cm long; spikes 0.5–0.8(-1) cm long at maturity, many-flowered. Calyx shorter than the bract, deeply 2-cleft, slightly 2-keeled, 1.5–2.5 mm long. Corolla purple or pink to white; limb at first white, afterwards lilac with a darker dot, 2–3 mm across, the lower lip twice as long as the upper one and about half as long as the tube.

Fruit ellpisoid to globose, 1.5–2 mm long.

Photo J. R. Hosking

Photo J. R. Hosking


Flowering: Flowers mostly October–April

Distribution and occurrence: Inland regions of N.S.W. from the Murray River (in the south) to the Moree area (in the north). QLD, VIC., SA., WA.

Found in moist or wet areas, particularly on clay flood plains near rivers.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *NT, *ST, *NWS, *CWS, *SWS, *NWP, *SWP, *SFWP
Other Australian states: *Qld *Vic. *W.A. *S.A.
AVH map***

This species is considered to be spreading rapidly and could be a menace in cultivated areas.
O'Leary et al. (2012) suggested that this taxon be treated as P. nodiflora var. minima. However, this opinion is not accepted. Therefore, Phyla canescens is here retained as a distinct species.

Text by B.J. Conn (2012)
Taxon concept: A.A. Munir (1993)

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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