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Published In: Florae Peruvianae, et Chilensis Prodromus 9. 1794. (early Oct 1794) (Fl. Peruv. Prodr.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 8/4/2009)


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2. Heteranthera Ruíz & Pav. (mud plantain)

(Horn, 1985)

Plants annual or perennial. Stems slender or stout, sometimes rooting at the nodes. Leaves dimorphic (except in H. dubia), the submerged and floating leaves linear, lacking petioles, the emergent leaves oblong to reniform, petiolate. Stipules usually present. Flowers 1–10, single or in loose spikes, these sessile or stalked, partly or mostly covered by the spathe. Perianth fused below the middle. Stamens 3. Fruits slender, thin‑walled capsules to 2 cm long. Seeds numerous (7–30 in H. dubia), 0.5–1.5 mm long, with 8–22 longitudinal ribs.

Twelve species, North America to South America, West Indies, Africa.

The flowers of our species all open early to midmorning and, except for those of H. dubia, they are closed by midafternoon.


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1 Leaves all linear, lacking petioles; tepals yellow; stamens all the same length 1 Heteranthera dubia
+ Some leaves lanceolate or broader, petiolate; tepals white to purple or blue; stamens of two sizes (2)
2 (1) Mature vegetative stems short, the leaves clustered at the tips; leaves truncate to acutely angled at base 2 Heteranthera limosa
+ Mature vegetative stems creeping, at least some of the leaves at well-separated nodes; leaves cordate at base (sometimes truncate in H. rotundifolia) (3)
3 (2) Inflorescence with only 1 flower; perianth with 3 tepal lobes erect, 2 spreading, and 1 descending; leaf blades lanceolate to ovate, mostly longer than wide 5 Heteranthera rotundifolia
+ Inflorescence with 3 or more flowers; perianth with 1 tepal lobe descending, the other 5 clustered and ascending to spreading; leaf blades kidney-shaped to circular-cordate, about as long as wide or wider (4)
4 (3) Flowering spikes sessile or nearly so, well exserted, up to 3 times as long as spathe; perianth purple, rarely white; hairs on filaments of stamens purple 3 Heteranthera multiflora
+ Flowering spikes short-stalked, less than 2 times as long as the spathe; perianth and hairs on filaments of stamens white 4 Heteranthera reniformis
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