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Common name. Water-starwort Family.
Habit and leaf form. Aquatic herbs. Annual; plants with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves, or with terminal rosettes of leaves. Hydrophytic, or helophytic; rooted. Leaves submerged, or emergent, or submerged and emergent. Heterophyllous (usually), or not heterophyllous. Leaves opposite (decussate, to rosetted towards branch tips); not gland-dotted; simple, or simple and compound (linear and bifid when submerged); epulvinate. Leaf blades dissected, or entire; when dissected, dichotomously dissected. Leaves without stipules. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers functionally male and functionally female, or functionally male, or functionally female. Unisexual flowers present. Plants monoecious, or dioecious. Sometimes pollinated by water.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers solitary (usually), or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’ (rarely, then paired). Inflorescences and flowers axillary. Flowers commonly bracteolate (the bracteoles hornlike); minute. Perianth absent. Fertile stamens present (male flowers), or absent (female flowers). Androecium in male flowers 1. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 1. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits. Fertile gynoecium present (female flowers), or absent (male flowers). Gynoecium in female flowers 2 carpelled. The pistil 4 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious; superior. Ovary plurilocular; 2 locular (morphologically), or 4 locular (ostensibly, via a ‘false septum’, cf. Labiatae). Locules secondarily divided by ‘false septa’. Ovary sessile. Styles 2; free; from a depression at the top of the ovary; apical. Stigmas 2. Placentation apical. Ovules 2 per locule (i.e. 2 per ‘carpel’), or 1 per locule (per locellus); pendulous; anatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy; a schizocarp. Mericarps comprising nutlets. Seeds endospermic (the endosperm fleshy). Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight. Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.
Physiology, biochemistry. Photosynthetic pathway: C3.
Geography, cytology, number of species. World distribution: cosmopolitan, except South Africa. X = 3 or 5(+). 25 species.
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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/