Trigonella L.

Sp.Pl. 2:776 (1753)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Family Papilionaceae. Trifolieae.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs; not resinous. Annual, or biennial, or perennial. Leaves cauline. Plants with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves. Helophytic, or mesophytic. Leaves small to medium-sized; alternate; spiral; ‘herbaceous’; not imbricate; petiolate; non-sheathing; not gland-dotted; aromatic; compound; epulvinate; ternate. Leaves pinnately trifoliolate. Leaves imparipinnate. Leaflets 3; not stipellate; pulvinate, or epulvinate; flat. Leaf blades dorsiventral. Leaves with stipules. Stipules intrapetiolar; adnate to the petiole; free of one another; persistent. Leaf blade margins minutely dentate (denticulate). Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Stem anatomy. Nodes tri-lacunar, or penta-lacunar. Secondary thickening absent, or developing from a conventional cambial ring.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Entomophilous.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes, or in heads. The terminal inflorescence unit racemose. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary (mostly); few- to many-flowered capitate or spicate racemes, short umbelliform racemes in T. suavissima; pseudanthial, or not pseudanthial. Flowers pedicellate to sessile; bracteate (minute); ebracteolate; small to medium-sized; very irregular; zygomorphic; not resupinate. The floral asymmetry involving the perianth and involving the androecium. Flowers papilionaceous (imbricate-descending, with the posterior petal outside and forming the ‘standard’); basically 5 merous. Floral receptacle developing a gynophore, or with neither androphore nor gynophore. Free hypanthium present, or absent. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx present; 5; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; five lobed. Calyx lobes markedly shorter than the tube. Calyx imbricate, or valvate; exceeded by the corolla; campanulate; regular to unequal but not bilabiate (with five subequal lobes); non-fleshy; persistent; non-accrescent; with the median member anterior. Epicalyx absent. Corolla present; 5; 1 -whorled; appendiculate, or not appendiculate. Standard appendaged, or not appendaged. Corolla partially gamopetalous. 2 of the petals joined (the two ventral petals connivent to form the ‘keel’). The joined petals anterior. The wings of the corolla free from the keel; not laterally spurred. Standard ‘normally’ developed. Keel conspicuously exceeded by the wings; not long-acuminate/beaked (blunt); neither coiled nor spiralled; not bent and beaked. Corolla imbricate (descending); white, or yellow, or blue; deciduous. Petals clawed, or sessile. Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 10. Androecial sequence determinable, or not determinable. Androecial members free of the perianth; all equal, or markedly unequal; coherent (nine or all of them with filaments basally united to form an adaxially split tube); 2 - adelphous (1+9, the vexillary member free of the tube, e.g. T. suavissima), or 1 - adelphous (then the vexillary connate with the others); 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 10; all more or less similar in shape, or distinctly dissimilar in shape; (sub-) diplostemonous; both opposite and alternating with the corolla members. Filaments filiform (distally, beyond the tube). Anthers separate from one another, or connivent; all alike; dorsifixed, or basifixed; versatile, or non-versatile; dehiscing via pores, or dehiscing via longitudinal slits; latrorse, or introrse; tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium 1 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. Gynoecium monomerous; of one carpel; superior. Carpel stylate; apically stigmatic. Style straight, or curved, or hooked, or bent. Style filiform to thick. Style glabrous. Stigmatic tissue terminal. Carpel 7–50 ovuled (‘many’). Placentation marginal (along the ventral suture). Gynoecium median (the placenta posterior, on the ventral suture). Ovary shortly stipitate, or sessile to subsessile. Ovules pendulous to ascending; biseriate; arillate, or non-arillate; anatropous, or campylotropous to amphitropous, or hemianatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit aerial; non-fleshy; not spinose. The fruiting carpel dehiscent, or indehiscent, or dehiscent to indehiscent (tardily dehiscent in T. suavissima); a legume, or a follicle. Pods somewhat elongated, or much elongated (T. suavissima); not triangular; straight, or curved (T. suavissima); beaked, or not beaked; not becoming inflated; more or less flat, or somewhat compressed, or terete; not transversely septate. Fruit 1 celled. Dispersal unit the seed, or the fruit. Fruit 7–25 seeded. Seeds endospermic, or non-endospermic; not mucous; small; non-arillate. Cotyledons 2; accumbent. Embryo chlorophyllous; (in-) curved, or bent (the radicle inflexed?). Testa non-operculate. Micropyle zigzag, or not zigzag. Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.

Physiology, biochemistry. Nitrogen-fixing root nodules present. Aluminium accumulation not found. Photosynthetic pathway: C3.

Geography, cytology, number of species. Native of Australia. Endemic to Australia, or not endemic to Australia. 2n=16, (28, 32). A genus of about 80 species; 1 species in Western Australia.

Leslie Watson, 8 September 2016

Taxonomic Literature

  • Grieve, B. J.; Blackall, W. E. (1998). How to know Western Australian wildflowers : a key to the flora of the extratropical regions of Western Australia. Part II, Dicotyledons (Amaranthaceae to Lythraceae). University of W.A. Press. Nedlands, W.A.