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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 445. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
General/Distribution: About 200 species, chiefly American but also distributed in other tropical and subtropical regions of the world.


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Diffuse, annual or perennial, often trailing or ascending, usually glabrous and fleshy herbs. Leaves simple, alternate or opposite, sometimes subopposite; the uppermost crowded to form a sort of involucre below the flowers, flat or terete-semiterete, fleshy; stipules scarious or modified into a bunch of hairs, rarely absent. Inflorescence a terminal fasciculate cyme or flowers solitary ter¬minal, surrounded by a whorl of leaves. Flowers bisexual, actinomorphic, sessile, perigynous, usually 5-merous, showy, variously coloured; bracts entire or modified into hairs. Sepals 2, fused at the base to form a very short tube partly adnate to ovary and the lobes caducous. Petals 4-6, free or united at the base, inserted on rim of calyx tube, marcescent. Stamens 4-many, free or united at the base, inserted on rim of calyx tube and adnate to petals, rarely epipetalous. Carpels usually more than 3, syncarpous; ovary ovoid, half adnate to calyx, semi-inferior; ovules many, campylotropous; style with 3-8 elongated and radiating stigmas. Fruit brittle with thin membranous wall, subglobose to globose or oblong-conical, unilocular capsule, with transverse (circumscissile) dehiscence. Seeds numerous, minute, reniform or lenticular, testa shining, aculeate, tuberculate or somewhat papillate.

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1 Leaves alternate or subopposite, Flowers in terminal clusters. Petals 5 or more (2)
+ Leaves opposite. Flowers solitary terminal. Petals 4 Portulaca quadrifida
2 (1) Leaves linear to linear-oblong. Stipular hairs copious. Flowers surrounded by more than a 4-leaved involucre. Sepals not keeled. Stamens 20 or more (3)
+ Leaves usually spathulate or obovate-oblong. Stipular hairs absent or very minute. Flowers Surrounded by a 4-leaved involucre. Sepals keeled. Stamens 7-12 Portulaca oleracea
3 (2) Root tuberous, somewhat fusiform. Petals lanceolate. Capsule subglobose, apiculate. Seeds lenticular
+ Root not tuberous. Petals obovate. Capsule oblong or ovoid. Seeds reniform (4)
4 (3) Leaves subterete, linear-oblong, Flowers 2-5 cm across. Petals 5 or more, pale brown or yellow spotted at the base. emarginate. Seeds metallic grey or greyish-black Portulaca grandiflora
+ Leaves linear-lanceolate. Flowers 1 cm across. Petals only 5, not spotted at the base, obtuse. Seeds dark brown to black Portulaca pilosa
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