Physopsis Turcz.

Bull.Soc.Imp.Naturalistes Moscou 22:34-35 (1849)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Common name. Lambs Tails. Family Lamiaceae.

Sometimes included in Chloanthaceae, Verbenaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Spreading shrubs; evergreen; without essential oils; not resinous. ‘Normal’ plants to switch-plants (somewhat switch-plant-like, owing to sparse leaves and broom-like habit). Leaves well developed, or much reduced. Plants unarmed. Leaves cauline. Young stems cylindrical. Stem internodes solid (woody). To 0.6–1.2 m high. Leptocaul. Leaves small; not fasciculate; opposite; decussate; not decurrent on the stems; leathery; imbricate, or not imbricate; sessile; aromatic, or without marked odour; simple; epulvinate. Leaf blades entire; rolled (often with recurved to deeply revolute margins); linear, or lanceolate, or oblong, or ovate; oblong, or ovate, or ovate to oblong; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Mature leaf blades adaxially glabrous to scabrous (or sometimes more or less glutinous); abaxially woolly. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire; revolute. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Leaf anatomy. Hairs present; glandular hairs absent; complex hairs present. Complex hairs stellate. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening anomalous; via concentric cambia.

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

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; terminal. Inflorescence many-flowered. Flowers not in pairs subtended by a common bract; in spikes. Inflorescences terminal; elongated dense woolly spikes. The fruiting inflorescence not conelike. Flowers shortly pedicellate, or sessile; bracteate; bracteolate; small; regular; 4 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk absent. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx present (densely woolly much-branched tomentum outside, glabrous inside); 4; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; blunt-lobed; exceeding the corolla; cyathiform; regular; covered in dense greyish-white tomentum; non-fleshy; persistent; non-accrescent. Calyx lobes triangular (to deltoid). Corolla present; 4 (lobes equal, spreading); 1 -whorled; gamopetalous; blunt-lobed; imbricate; tubular (almost cylindrical); regular; glabrous abaxially; glabrous adaxially to hairy adaxially (villous near base of tube only); plain; yellow (or ochraceus-yellow). Corolla lobes oblong to elliptic (oblong), or oblong (broadly), or orbicular (sub-). Corolla members entire. Androecium present. Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 4. Androecial members adnate (epipetalous); all equal; free of one another; 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 4. Staminal insertion midway down the corolla tube. Stamens attached inside the hypanthium; remaining included; all more or less similar in shape; isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous. Filaments glabrous; filiform (short or almost absent). Anthers dorsifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; bilocular (lobes free in the lower halves). Gynoecium 2 carpelled. The pistil 4 celled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious (styles free in upper part); superior. Ovary plurilocular; 2 locular (theoretically), or 4 locular (ostensibly, via false septa). Locules secondarily divided by ‘false septa’. Gynoecium median. Ovary summit hairy, the hairs not confined to radiating bands (glandular and tomentose in the upper half, glabrous below). Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; simple; apical, or lateral; about as long as the ovary at anthesis; not becoming exserted; hairy, or hairless (sometimes glabrous, sometimes glandular and tomentose below). Stigmas 1; 1 - lobed (or very shortly notched at the apex). Placentation axile. Ovules 2 per locule (theoretically), or 1 per locule (per locellus, attached on the central axis above the middle, usually only one perfect); non-arillate; hemianatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; indehiscent (often enclosed in calyx); a nut; 4 celled; 4 locular. Dispersal unit the seed. Fruit 1–4 seeded. Seeds 1 per mericarp. Seeds endospermic. Embryo straight.

Special features. Perianth (calyx) woolly outside. Calyx limb 4 lobed. Corolla tube exceeding the calyx, or not exceeding the calyx; straight.

Geography, cytology, number of species. Australian. Native of Australia. Endemic to Australia. Australian states and territories: Western Australia. South-West Botanical Province. A genus of 2 species; 2 species in Western Australia; 2 endemic to Western Australia.

Etymology. From the Greek for "blown or puffed up" and "outward appearance"; the calyx is enveloped in a cottony mass.

T.R. Lally, 8 September 2016

Taxonomic Literature

  • Rye, B. L. (1996). A taxonomic review of the genera Lachnostachys, Newcastelia and Physopsis (Chloanthaceae) in Western Australia.
  • Blackall, William E.; Grieve, Brian J. (1981). How to know Western Australian wildflowers : a key to the flora of the extratropical regions of Western Australia. Part IIIB, (Epacridaceae-Lamiaceae). University of W.A. Press. [Perth].