Glycyrrhiza L.
Sp.Pl. 2:741 (1753)

Name Status: Current
Browse to the list of specimens for Glycyrrhiza L.

Scientific Description
Leslie Watson, Thursday 8 September 2016

Family Papilionaceae. Galegeae.

Habit and leaf form. (Sub-) shrubs, or herbs. Mesophytic, or xerophytic. Leaves alternate; spiral; ‘herbaceous’, or leathery; not imbricate; petiolate; non-sheathing; not gland-dotted; compound; pulvinate; pinnate; imparipinnate. Leaflets 9–15 (in ours); 6–17 cm long. Lateral leaflets opposite. Leaflets not stipellate; epulvinate; flat; without lateral lobes. Leaf blades dorsiventral. Leaves with stipules. Stipules intrapetiolar; adnate to the petiole, or free of the petiole; free of one another; scaly; caducous. Leaf blade margins entire, or dentate. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Leaf anatomy. Glandular hairs present (peltate or capitate). Stem anatomy. Nodes tri-lacunar, or penta-lacunar. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

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

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; not crowded at the stem bases; in racemes, or in spikes. Inflorescences simple. The terminal inflorescence unit racemose. Inflorescences axillary. Flowers pedicellate to sessile; bracteate. Bracts deciduous (narrow, membranous). Flowers ebracteolate; small to medium-sized; very irregular; zygomorphic; not resupinate. The floral asymmetry involving the perianth, or 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 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; imbricate, or valvate; exceeded by the corolla; more or less regular, or bilabiate (the posterior two lobes sometimes shorter or more connate); non-fleshy; persistent; non-accrescent; with the median member anterior. Epicalyx absent. Corolla present; 5; 1 -whorled; appendiculate, or not appendiculate. Standard not appendaged. Corolla polypetalous, or partially gamopetalous (‘petals scarcely connate’). If any, 2 of the petals joined (the two ventral petals connivent, their claws joined, forming the ‘keel’). The joined petals of the papilionate corolla anterior. The wings of the corolla free from the keel; not laterally spurred. Standard ‘normally’ developed (narrowly ovate or oblong, erect); not sericeous. Keel conspicuously exceeding the wings; not long-acuminate/beaked (acute or blunt); neither coiled nor spiralled; not bent and beaked. Corolla imbricate (descending); violet, or blue (lilac); deciduous. Petals clawed. 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 (with filaments basally connate into an adaxially split sheath); 1 - adelphous, or 2 - adelphous (with the tenth, posterior stamen free of the rest). The staminal tube free from the keel petals. Androecial members 1 -whorled. Stamens 10; all more or less similar in shape; diplostemonous; both opposite and alternating with the corolla members. Anthers separate from one another, or connivent; somewhat dimorphic, or all alike (alternately smaller, with large unequal valves more deeply open); dorsifixed; versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits, or dehiscing by longitudinal valves; latrorse, or introrse; tetrasporangiate. Pollen shed as single grains. 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 (in-) curved. Style filiform or rather thick. Style glabrous. Stigmatic tissue terminal. Carpel 2–25 ovuled (? — few or more). Placentation marginal (along the ventral suture). Gynoecium median (the placenta posterior, on the ventral suture). Ovary sessile. Stigmas punctiform. Ovules pendulous to ascending; biseriate (but staggered, and ostensibly uniseriate); arillate, or non-arillate; anatropous, or campylotropous to amphitropous, or hemianatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit 40–70 mm long; non-fleshy; not spinose. The fruiting carpel tardily dehiscent, or indehiscent; a legume. Pods somewhat elongated to much elongated (ovate, oblong or shortly linear); not triangular; straight to curved; becoming inflated, or not becoming inflated; somewhat compressed, or terete; not transversely septate; wingless. Valves of the dehisced pod not twisted. Dispersal unit the seed, or the fruit. Fruit 1–25 seeded. Seeds reniform, or angular; endospermic, or non-endospermic; not mucous; non-arillate. Cotyledons 2; accumbent. Embryo 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. A genus of about 20 species; 1 species in Western Australia.

Additional comments. An inadequate description.

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.