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Polygonaceae Jussieu


Polygonum virginianum

Credit: Photo by Xiangying Wen

Description from Flora of China

Herbs, shrubs, or small trees, sometimes monoecious or dioecious. Stems erect, prostrate, twining, or scandent, often with swollen nodes, striate, grooved, or prickly. Leaves simple, alternate, rarely opposite or whorled, petiolate or subsessile; stipules often united to a sheath (ocrea). Inflorescence terminal or axillary, spicate, racemose, paniculate, or capitate. Pedicel occasionally articulate. Flowers small, actinomorphic, bisexual, rarely unisexual. Perianth 3-6-merous, in 1 or 2 series, herbaceous, often enlarged in fruit or inner tepals enlarged, with wings, tubercles, or spines. Stamens usually (3-)6-9, rarely more; filaments free or united at base; anthers 2-loculed, opening lengthwise; disk annular (often lobed). Ovary superior, 1-loculed; styles 2 or 3, rarely 4, free or connate at lower part. Fruit a trigonous, biconvex, or biconcave achene; seed with straight or curved embryo and copious endosperm.

All Chinese genera belong to the Polygonoideae, a subfamily of some 790 species defined by the presence of ocreae, a monopodial branching pattern, and the lack of an involucre. The Eriogonoideae (330 species) are found only in the New World.

Chinese genera of economic importance include Rheum, which has medicinal uses and is also a food plant (rhubarb) in many other regions, and Fagopyrum, which produces a grain (buckwheat).

Fallopia nervosa Loureiro is Microcos paniculata Linnaeus (Tiliaceae).

About 50 genera and 1120 species: worldwide, but primarily N temperate with a few species in tropical regions; 13 genera (two endemic) and 238 species (65 endemic) in China.

(Authors: Li Anjen (李安仁 Li An-ren) , Bao Bojian (包伯坚)1; Alisa E. Grabovskaya-Borodina , Suk-pyo Hong , John McNeill , Sergei L. Mosyakin , Hideaki Ohba , Chong-wook Park)

Li Anjen, Kao Tsoching, Mao Zumei & Liu Yulan. 1998. Polygonaceae. In: Li Anjen, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 25(1): 1–209.

  • List of lower taxa


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