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Published In: The Gardeners Dictionary...Abridged...fourth edition 3:. 1754. (28 Jan 1754) (Gard. Dict. Abr. (ed. 4)) Name publication detailView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
Synonym Text: Polygonum L. sect. Persicaria (Mill.) Meisn., Monogr. Polyg. 1826; Hook., f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 5: 34. 1886; Coode & Cullen in P.H.Davis, Fl. Turk. 2: 272. 1966; Schiman-Czeika & Rech.f., Fl. Iran. 56: 56. 1968; Bhopal & Chaudhri, in Pak. Syst. 1(2): 75. 1977.


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Erect-prostrate, ascending, annual (-perennial) herb. Stem herbaceous, sometimes woody. Leaves narrow, linear-lanceolate or elliptic-ovate, mostly without glands, sometimes gland-dotted. Ochreae tubular, ciliate-partite at the mouth, sometime eciliate, membranous. Inflorescence a spike, raceme or sometimes a head. Ochreolae tubular, membranous, ciliate or partite. Perianth segments 4-5, divided usually upto middle, or above or below, glandular. Glands usually alternating with stamens. Stamens 4-8. Ovary biconvex-trigonous with 2-3 long, filiform, fused or free styles with capitate stigmas. Nuts biconvex-trigonous, glabrous, dark brown - black, shiny.

A genus of c. 150 species, distributed in North temperate regions of both the hemisphere. In Pakistan, it is represented by 21 species.

The genus Persicaria Mill. is sometimes treated in a broader sense and a number of genera like Bistorta, Aconogonon, Rubrivena and Knorringia are included. Most of them are treated here as independent genera on the basis of several characters such as habit, inflorescence, number of stamens and pollen type. In the genus Persicaria (s. str.) two major taxonomic categories can be recognized which probably deserve the rank of two distinct subgenera or even genera. These can be recognized on the basis of the inflorescence and pollen type. In one group the racemes are spike-like cylindrical to filiform and pollen grains are tri to pantoporate whereas in the other group the inflorescence is ovoid or subglobose, capitate, pollen grains are 3-4 colpate. The second group is often placed under a separate section Cephaphilon Meisn. of the genus Polygonum.


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1 Fruiting perianth neither fleshy nor accrescent. (2)
+ Fruiting perianth fleshy and accrescent. 1 Persicaria chinensis
2 (1) Racemes spike-like, cylindrical to filiform, sometimes branched. Perianth segments 4-5-partite. Stamens alternating with glands. Pollen grains tri to pantoporate. (3)
+ Racemes ovoid or subglobose, capitate. Perianth segments 4-5-lobed. Glands usually absent or obscure. Pollen grains 3-4-colpate. (19)
3 (2) Ochrea membranous without a herbaceous limb. (4)
+ Ochreae thick, with a herbaceous limb at the top, when young. 2 Persicaria orientalis
4 (3) Ochrea usually without cilia at the mouth rarely very finely ciliate in some forms of P. lapathifolia. (5)
+ Ochrea distinctly ciliate at the mouth. (8)
5 (4) Plants terrestrial, usually annual. Leaves of one type. Spikes in axillary panicles, slender and laxly flowered. (6)
+ Amphibious, perennials. Rhizome extensively creeping. Areal leaves usually smaller. Spikes densely conical, ovoid or shortly cylindrical. 3 Persicaria amphibia
6 (5) Plants ± pubescent, scabrid, tomentose. (7)
+ Plants entirely glabrous. 5 Persicaria glabra
7 (6) Peduncles eglandular. Leaves with white cottony tomentum on both surfaces but more below, without yellow glands. Stem without red dots. 6 Persicaria lanata
+ Peduncles scurfily glandular. Leaves either glabrous or ± tomentose below only, usually with yellow glands. Stem usually with red dots. 4 Persicaria lapathifolia
8 (4) Styles 2. Nuts biconvex, rarely few nuts trigonous within the same spike. (9)
+ Styles 3. Nuts trigonous. (11)
9 (8) Leaves without a blotch, bearing minute glands below. Spikes lax and slender, at least interrupted below. (10)
+ Leaves often with a dark blotch near the middle above, without minute glands beneath. Spikes dense and compact not interrupted. 7 Persicaria maculosa
10 (9) Cilia as long as the ochreal tube. Spikes often drooping. Stamens 8. Nuts 1.5-3.0 mm. 10 Persicaria mitis
+ Cilia much shorter than the ochreal tube. Spikes not drooping. Stamens 5. Nuts c. 1.5 mm. 11 Persicaria tenella
11 (8) Perianth and ochreolae gland-dotted. (12)
+ Perianth and ochreolae eglandular. (13)
12 (11) Cilia of the ochreal tube 8-10 mm long. Spikes up to 15 cm long, drooping. Stamens 8. 9 Persicaria pubescens
+ Cilia of the ochreal tube 1-4 mm long. Spike 3-7 cm long, not drooping. Stamens 6. 8 Persicaria hydropiper
13 (11) Cilia of the ochreal tube either almost equalling or longer than the tube. Leaves either glabrous or if pubescent then only on the margins and midrib beneath. (14)
+ Cilia of the ochreal tube much shorter than the tube. Leaves strigosely hairy on both surfaces. 12 Persicaria stagnina
14 (13) Spikes lax and slender often interrupted, each flower distinctly visible. (15)
+ Spikes compact, dense, not interrupted each flower not distinctly visible. 13 Persicaria barbata
15 (14) Leaves eglandular, sometimes whitish-dotted but not obviously glandular. (16)
+ Leaves gland-dotted or punctate at least beneath. (17)
16 (15) Leaves punctate. Spikes erect. Nuts always trigonous. 16 Persicaria punctata
+ Leaves not punctate spikes often drooping. Nuts mostly biconvex, rarely trigonous within the same spike. 10 Persicaria mitis
17 (15) Leaves with rounded or cordate base. Inflorescence up to 4 cm long. 15 Persicaria longiseta
+ Leaves with acute base. Inflorescence filiform up to 10 cm long. 14 Persicaria posumbu
18 Leaves entire. (19)
+ Leaves runcinate pinnatifid; petiole auriculate. 17 Persicaria sinuata
19 (2) Plants annual. (20)
+ Plants perennial. 21 Persicaria capitata
20 (19) Floral head without bract. (21)
+ Floral head usually with an involucral bract or leaf. 18 Persicaria nepalensis
21 (20) Leaves distinctly petiolate. Nuts not pitted. 19 Persicaria glacialis
+ Leaves sessile or nearly so. Nuts densely pitted. 20 Persicaria humilis
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