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Published In: Genera Plantarum 400. 1789. (4 Aug 1789) (Gen. 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)
Contributor Text: ABDUL GHAFOOR
Contributor Institution: Herbarium, Department of Botany,

Al-Faateh University, Tripoli, Libya

General/Distribution: A family of about 45 genera and nearly 600 species; widely distributed in tropics, subtropics and temperate regions in all the continents.
Comment/Acknowledgements: Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under P.L. 480. Thanks are also due to Mr. I.C. Hedge and Miss J. Lamond of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, for their helpful suggestions.


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Mostly herbs or undershrubs, with or without stinging hairs. Leaves simple, stipulate, rarely exstipulate, alternate or opposite, often with dot-like or linear cystoliths. Inflorescence axillary, cymose or fasciculate, rarely flowers solitary. Flowers minute, usually greenish, unisexual (Plants monoecious or dioecious), actinomorphic, hypogynous. Calyx (3-) 4-5-lobed, often enlarged in fruit, rarely absent in female flowers; lobes equal or unequal, imbricate or valvate, rarely sepals free. Petals absent. Stamens (3-) 4-5, rarely solitary, antisepalous, generally inflexed in bud; anthers dithecous, dehiscence longitudinal; staminodes scaly or absent in female flowers. Ovary monocarpellary, free or rarely adnate to calyx, unilocular, uniovulate, ovule orthotropous, erect or ascending, pseudobasal, rarely apical; style simple, stigma capitate and mostly penicillate; pistillode present in male flowers. Fruit a monospermous achene or fleshy drupe, more or less enveloped by persistent membranous calyx. Seed albuminous, embryo straight.

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1 Plants with stinging hairs or prickles (2)
+ Plants without stinging hairs (3)
2 (1) Leaves alternate, 3-costate. Sepals valvate. Stigma subulate, minutely papillose Girardinia
+ Leaves opposite, (3-) 5-7-costate. Sepals imbricate. Stigma capitate, penicillate Urtica
3 (1) Stamens more than one. Calyx present in female flowers (4)
+ Stamen one. Calyx absent in female flowers Forsskaolea
4 (3) Leaves stipulate (5)
+ Leaves exstipulate Parietaria
5 (4) Stipules free lateral; not interpetiolar. Style filiform, laterally stigmatic (6)
+ Stipules connate, interpetiolar. Style absent (rarely present but short), stigma penicillate (7)
6 (5) Leaves entire. Inflorescence of axillary, cymose sessile clusters of flowers Pouzolzia
+ Leaves serrate. Inflorescence of spicate or paniculate globose clusters of flowers Boehmeria
7 (5) Leaves green beneath. Fruiting calyx not or slightly fleshy (8)
+ Leaves silvery or greyish-tomentose beneath. Fruiting calyx fleshy Debregeasia
8 (7) Calyx lobes of male flowers not as above. Staminodes absent or not inflexed in the female flowers (9)
+ Calyx lobes of male flowers horned outside below the apex. Staminodes scale like and inflexed in the female flowers Pilea
9 (8) Herbs, annual or perennial. Leaves opposite, anisophyllous. Achenes not adnate to but partly enveloped by calyx Lecanthus
+ Trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate, not anisophyllous. Achenes adnate to and completely enveloped by slightly fleshy calyx Villebrunea
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