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Common name. Samphires. Family Chenopodiaceae.
Habit and leaf form. Shrubs, or herbs. Switch-plants; somewhat ‘cactoid’. Leaves much reduced (appearing leafless but with small lobes at apex of internodes). Plants succulent (branches); unarmed. Perennial. Leaves cauline (ass.). Plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves. Stems ‘jointed’, with fleshy internodes. Young stems cylindrical (cylindric segments). Helophytic to xerophytic. Leaves minute to large; opposite; bladeless; sessile; (at least, the lobes representing them) connate; simple; epulvinate; without stipules; without a persistent basal meristem. Leaf anatomy. Hydathodes present, or absent. Extra-floral nectaries absent.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite, or functionally male and functionally female, or functionally male, or functionally female. Unisexual flowers present, or absent. Plants hermaphrodite, or monoecious, or dioecious (rarely).
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes (in spike-like thyrses), or in spikes (P). The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary (cymules); thyrse made up of 3–12 flowered cymules, spike of 3–12 flowered clusters; small, united to other flowers near base, facing outwards, well exposed. Flowers sessile; bracteate (bracts united in opposite pairs, subtending and embedding cymules, succulent, outer surface more or less shield-shaped); ebracteolate; minute, or small; regular; cyclic. Hypogynous disk present, or absent. Perianth sepaline; 3–4 (2 lateral and 1 small adaxial or 2 lateral and 1 small adaxial and 1 small abaxial); 1 -whorled; joined (imbricate); fleshy, or non-fleshy; persistent; accrescent, or non-accrescent. Calyx present; not replaced by accrescent bracteoles; 3–4 (2 long lateral and 1 small adaxial or 2 long lateral and 1 small adaxial and 1 small abaxial); gamosepalous; blunt-lobed; imbricate; non-fleshy; persistent (in the fruit); accrescent, or non-accrescent. The fruiting calyx not berrylike; wingless, spineless and without tubercles. Sepals apex truncate. Corolla absent. Fertile stamens present, or absent. Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 2. Androecial members free of the perianth, or adnate (to the base of the perianth); all equal (ass.); free of one another; 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 2; all more or less similar in shape (ass.); isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous (on abaxial and adaxial sides of ovary). Anthers bent inwards in bud; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; bilocular (A,K,P,L), or four locular (N); tetrasporangiate. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent (from male flowers). Gynoecium (2–)5 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to synstylovarious; superior. Ovary unilocular; 1 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles (1–)2–3(–4); partially joined. Stigmas 2(–3). Placentation basal. Ovules in the single cavity 1; pendulous, or ascending; non-arillate; campylotropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy (pericarp membranous or absent); indehiscent; 1 celled. Gynoecia of adjoining flowers combining to form a multiple fruit, or not forming a multiple fruit. Fruit 1 seeded. Seeds more or less non-endospermic. Perisperm absent. Cotyledons 2. Embryo curved (horseshoe-shaped).
Special features. 3–9 flowers subtended by each floral leaf.
Etymology. From the Greek for "flesh" and the Latin for "horn", referring to the succulent lobes on the internodes.
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Western Australian Herbarium (1998–). FloraBase—the Western Australian Flora. Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. https://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/