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Common name. Samphires. Family Chenopodiaceae.
Habit and leaf form. Shrubs (dwarf); outer portion of branches eventually shrivelling and deciduous from woody axis. Switch-plants; somewhat ‘cactoid’. Leaves much reduced (appearing leafless, but the internode apices bilobed or cupshaped). Plants succulent; unarmed. Leaves cauline. Plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves. Stems ‘jointed’, with fleshy internodes. Young stems cylindrical (cylindrical to spherical internodes when young). Leaves minute to large; opposite; bladeless; (lobes representing them) connate; simple; epulvinate; without stipules; without a persistent basal meristem. Leaf anatomy. Hydathodes present, or absent. Hairs absent. Extra-floral nectaries absent.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite, or hermaphrodite and functionally male. Unisexual flowers present, or absent. Plants hermaphrodite, or andromonoecious (ass.).
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes (in spike-like thyrse or triads of flowers dispersed among branch segments). The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary; thyrse made up of 3 flowers (cymes) immersed in axil of fleshy bracts; central flower bisexual, lateral flowers male. Flowers sessile; bracteate (succulent, free or united in opposite pairs); ebracteolate; minute, or small; regular; cyclic. Hypogynous disk present, or absent. Perianth sepaline; 2–3 (2 lateral lobes on abaxial side of orifice or 2 lateral lobes on abaxial side of orifice plus 1 small abaxial inner lobe); 1 -whorled; joined (imbricate); fleshy, or non-fleshy; persistent; accrescent, or non-accrescent. Calyx present; not replaced by accrescent bracteoles; (interpreting the perianth as such) 2–3; gamosepalous; blunt-lobed; imbricate; fleshy, or non-fleshy; persistent (in the fruit); accrescent, or non-accrescent. The fruiting calyx not berrylike; wingless, spineless and without tubercles. Corolla absent. Fertile stamens present, or absent (from female flowers). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 1. Androecial members free of the perianth, or adnate (to the base of the perianth); all equal; free of one another; 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 1; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous (abaxial in bisexual flowers). Anthers bent inwards in bud; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; bilocular (AKPL), 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; sessile. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; partially joined. Stigmas 2; narrowly triangular, papillose. Placentation basal. Ovules in the single cavity 1; pendulous, or ascending; non-arillate; campylotropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; indehiscent; capsular-indehiscent; enclosed in the fleshy perianth, or without fleshy investment; 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 present. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight to curved.
Special features. 3 flowers subtended by each floral leaf.
Etymology. From the Greek for "hard" and "shelter", referring to the hard pericarp.
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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/