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Pakistan | Family List | Amaranthaceae

Aerva Forssk., Fl. Aegypt.-Arab. 170. 1775. Boiss., Fl. Or. 4:993. 1879; Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 4: 727. 1885; Schinz in E. and P., Pflanzenfam. ed. 2, 16c: 50. 1934.

Aerva javanica var. javanica

Credit: M.Y. Saleem

  • Ouret Adans.

    Perennial herbs (sometimes flowering in the first year), prostrate to erect or scandent. Leaves and branches alternate or occasionally opposite, leaves entire. Flowers hermaphrodite or dioecious, sometimes polygamous, bibracteolate, in axillary and terminal sessile or pedunculate bracteate spikes or panicles, one flower in the axil of each bract. Perianth segments 5, oval- or lanceolate-oblong, membranous-margined with a thin to wider green centre, the perianth deciduous with the fruit but bracts and bracteoles persistent. Stamens 5, shortly monadelphous at the base, alternating with subulate or rarely narrowly oblong and truncate or emarginate pseudostaminodes. Ovary with a single pendulous ovule; style very short to slender and distinct; stigmas 2, short to long and filiform (sometimes solitary and capitate, flowers then probably functionally male). Utricle thin-walled, bursting irregularly. Seed compressed-reniform, firm, black.

    About 10 species in the tropics, mostly in continental Africa, Madagascar and smaller islands (Rodriguez, Mauritius, Socotra).

    Type species: Aerva javanica (Burm. f.) Juss. ex J.A. Schultes.

    1 Outer tepals with the midrib ceasing well below the apex; flowers dioecious, either with a well developed style and stigmas but no anthers or anthers present but only rudimentary stigmas   Aerva javanica
    + Outer tepals with the midrib excurrent in a distinct mucro; flowers hermaphrodite or female and hermap- hrodite   (2)
    2 (1) Outer tepals abruptly narrowed to a short mucro at the tip, length without the mucro 0.75-1.25 mm; pikes axillary, usually clustered, forming a long, leafy inflorescence along the stem and branches   Aerva lanata
    + Outer tepals gradually narrowed to the mucro above, length without the mucro 1.57-2.25 mm; upper spikes of the stem and long, ascending branches frequently without subtending leaves, racemose, the whole inflorescence thus appearing paniculate   Aerva sanguinolenta

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