Cymbalaria Hill
Brit.Herb. 113-114 (1756)

Name Status: Current
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Scientific Description
H.R. Coleman, Thursday 8 September 2016

Common name. Toadflaxes. Family Scrophulariaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs (often with trailing or creeping stems). Annual, or perennial; plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves. Helophytic, or mesophytic. Leaves small to medium-sized; alternate (usually), or opposite; when alternate spiral, or four-ranked; ‘herbaceous’, or leathery, or membranous; petiolate; simple; epulvinate. Leaf blades dissected, or entire; orbicular (to reniform); if dissected palmately lobed; palmately veined. Mature leaf blades adaxially glabrous; abaxially glabrous. Leaves without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire, or crenate, or serrate, or dentate. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem. Leaf anatomy. Hydathodes present (occasionally), or absent. Hairs absent; glandular hairs absent. Stem anatomy. 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 solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’ (rarely); axillary; in cymes. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary. Flowers pedicellate; bracteate; ebracteolate; small to medium-sized; very irregular; zygomorphic; 4 merous, or 5 merous; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present. Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 9, or 10; 2 -whorled; isomerous, or anisomerous. Calyx present; 5; 1 -whorled; gamosepalous; lobed. Calyx lobes markedly longer than the tube. Calyx imbricate, or valvate; more or less regular; persistent; with the median member posterior. Calyx lobes ovate. Corolla present; 4 (the posterior pair united), or 5; 1 -whorled; gamopetalous; lobed. Corolla lobes about the same length as the tube. Corolla imbricate, or valvate; bilabiate; glabrous abaxially; hairy adaxially; with contrasting markings; yellow, or purple, or violet, or blue; spurred (at the base). Androecium 4. Androecial members adnate (to the corolla); markedly unequal; coherent; 1 -whorled. Stamens 4; remaining included; didynamous; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth, or isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous. Anthers cohering (in pairs); dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate. Gynoecium 2 carpelled. The pistil 2 celled. Gynoecium non-petaloid; syncarpous; eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 2 locular. Gynoecium median; stylate. Styles 1; attenuate from the ovary, or from a depression at the top of the ovary; apical. Stigmas 1; 1 - lobed. Placentation axile, or apical. Ovules 50 per locule (to ‘many’); pendulous to ascending; non-arillate; anatropous, or campylotropous, or hemianatropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; not hairy; not spinose; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules poricidal (each cell opening by an apical pore which has 3 valves). Fruit 2 celled; 50 seeded (to ‘many’). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Seeds minute. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight to curved. Testa with tubercles (or rugose).

Special features. Corolla tube exceeding the calyx; straight. The upper lip of the corolla incorporating 2 members, the lower 3; (posterior, adaxial) lip of the corolla entire, or bilobed. Lower (abaxial) lip of the corolla 3 lobed (with a prominent palate at the base closing the mouth).

Geography, cytology, number of species. Holarctic. Adventive. Australian states and territories: Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania. South-West Botanical Province.

Etymology. From the Greek for "a cymbal", referring to the shape of the leaves.

Taxonomic Literature

  • Grieve, Brian J.; Blackall, William E. (1982). How to know Western Australian wildflowers : a key to the flora of the extratropical regions of Western Australia. Part IV. University of W.A. Press. Perth.