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Illecebrum L.

Sp.Pl. 2:206 (1753)
Name Status

Scientific Description

Family Caryophyllaceae.

Subfamily Paronychioideae, Tribe Paronychieae.

Habit and leaf form. Herbs; non-laticiferous and without coloured juice. ‘Normal’ plants. Leaves well developed. Plants with roots; non-succulent; unarmed. Annual. Leaves cauline. Self supporting. Mesophytic. Not heterophyllous. Leaves small; opposite; with blades; sessile; simple; not peltate. Leaf blades entire; flat; obovate to elliptic. Mature leaf blades adaxially glabrous; abaxially glabrous. Leaves with stipules (inconspicuous). Stipules scaly (scarious). Leaf blade margins entire; flat. Leaf anatomy. Hairs absent; glandular hairs absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite, or functionally male and functionally female. Unisexual flowers absent, or present. Plants hermaphrodite, or monoecious.

Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’. Inflorescence few-flowered. Flowers in cymes. Inflorescences compound. The terminal inflorescence unit cymose. Inflorescences axillary; in clusters. Flowers pedicellate; bracteolate. Bracteoles silvery. Flowers minute; regular; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium present (shortly perigynous). Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 -whorled; isomerous. Calyx present; 5; 1 -whorled; polysepalous. Calyx segments entire (hooded, awned from dorsal curved shoulder). Calyx glabrous; valvate; white; fleshy; persistent. Corolla vestigial; 5; 1 -whorled; polypetalous; valvate, or with open aestivation. Petals oblong to obovate; sessile. Corolla members entire. Androecium present, or absent. Fertile stamens present, or absent. Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 3–5. Androecial members free of the perianth; all equal; free of one another; 1 -whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 3–5; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth, or isomerous with the perianth; oppositisepalous; all alternating with the corolla members; erect in bud. Filaments glabrous. Anthers separate from one another; versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; bilocular; tetrasporangiate. Fertile gynoecium present, or absent. Gynoecium 2 carpelled. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary unilocular; 1 locular. Gynoecium non-stylate, or stylate (shortly). Styles 1; simple; apical. Stigmas 1, or 2; 1 - lobed; capitate. Placentation basal. Ovules in the single cavity 1; ascending; campylotropous.

Fruit and seed features. Fruit falling from the plant before the next growing season; not hairy; dehiscent (irregularly); a nut; enclosed in the fleshy perianth; 1 celled; 1 locular; passively dehiscent. Dispersal unit the flower. Fruit 1 seeded. Seeds 1 per locule. Perisperm present. Seeds small, or minute; non-arillate. Testa homogeneous in colour; brown.

Geography, cytology, number of species. Holarctic. World distribution: west and central Europe; Canary Islands; naturalized in Australia, New Zealand. Adventive. Australian states and territories: Western Australia. South-West Botanical Province. 2n=10. A genus of 1 species; 1 species in Western Australia; 0 endemic to Western Australia.

Etymology. Illecebra, Latin for an enticement in a good or bad sense.

B. Richardson, 8 September 2016

Taxonomic Literature

  • Wheeler, Judy; Marchant, Neville; Lewington, Margaret; Graham, Lorraine 2002. Flora of the south west, Bunbury, Augusta, Denmark. Volume 2, dicotyledons. Australian Biological Resources Study.. Canberra..
  • Wilson, Paul G. 1998. Illecebrum verticillatum (Caryophyllaceae), a new record for Australia.