Melastome Family

Ours herbs (elsewhere also shrubs, trees, and vines). Stems often 4-angled. Leaves opposite, simple, often with 3 to 9 prominent, nearly parallel veins; ours estipulate. Flowers cymose, perfect, regular, mostly 4- or 5-merous, perigynous, hypanthium variously shaped. Sepals valvate on the rim of the hypanthium. Petals convolute in bud. Stamens usually in 2 whorls, often dimorphic, in ours usually twice as many as the petals, filaments commonly twisted to one side of the flower at anthesis, anthers variously dehiscent, sometimes appendaged. Ovary with (2)3 to 5(15) carpels and as many locules, rarely unilocular. Fruit a many-seeded capsule (as in ours) or berry. Seeds usually small, without endosperm, cotyledons unequal.

About 215 genera and 4,750 species of tropical and subtropical regions, especially S. America; 1 genus with 5 species in TX; 2 species in our area.

Some taxa have food, timber, dye, or ornamental uses (Mabberley 1987).

MELASTOMATACEAE RHEXIA1. RHEXIA L. Meadow-beauty, Deer-grass

Perennial herbs, some suffrutescent, from rather woody caudices, rhizomes, rhizomes, tubers, or some combination thereof. Stems 1 to several, simple or branched, sometimes spongy-thickened below or with a shredding epidermis, round below, more or less 4-angled above, edges winged or unwinged and faces concave to convex, often the opposite pairs different, glabrous to glandular pubescent and/or hirsute. Leaves opposite, decussate, sessile or short-petiolate, commonly with 3 major palmate, parallel veins, blades suborbicular to linear-lanceolate, margins ciliate to serrate. Flowers in cymes (rarely solitary and not in ours), showy, few to many, sessile or with pedicels shorter than the hypanthium, subtended by bracts similar to the leaves but smaller and often deciduous. Hypanthium essentially urceolate below, constricted above and then more or less expanding above the neck, composed of 2 layers, fused to the ovary so the gynoecium mostly inferior, but at anthesis the 2 layers separating and the capsule appearing superior. Calyx lobes 4, on the outer layer of the hypanthium, erect to recurved. Petals 4, borne on the inner layer of the hypanthium, free, asymmetrical with the right side larger than the left, short-clawed, commonly tipped with a bristly extension of the midvein, ascending to spreading, fugacious, rose to purple or in some white or yellow. Stamens 8, in 2 whorls on the inner hypanthium layer, subequal, filaments slender, downcurving, usually all pulled to the bottom of the flower, each with a small appendage at the juncture with the anther; anthers basifixed, with terminal pores, straight to curved or sigmoid. Ovary fully enclosed in the hypanthium, 4-celled, placentation axile; style 1, linear, stigma truncate. Fruit a loculicidal capsule. Seeds many, in most TX material curved like a snail shell, surface adornment various.

11 species of N. Amer., chiefly in the SE. U.S. but one species extending to Canada and another to Mex.; 5 in TX; 2 here.

Some, but not usually ours, are cultivated for ornament (Mabberley 1987).

NOTE: Interspecific hybrids between some taxa, including ours, are common. In addition, vital stem characters are easily lost in pressing, so identifications should be made from fresh material if possible. A useful referemce is Kral and Bostick (1969).

1. Faces of midstem markedly unequal, one pair flat to concave, narrower and paler than the other pair, which are broader , convex to rounded, and darker green; neck of

hypanthium about as long as the body of the hypanthium; petals usually glabrous ...............


var. mariana

1. Faces of midstem more or less equal, essentially flat, the angles sharp or winged so that the stem gives an impression of "square"; neck of hypanthium usually shorter than the body; petals usually with some hairs ...2.R.virginica

1.R. marianaMELASTOMATACEAE RHEXIA marianaL. var. mariana Maryland Meadow-beauty. Plants from shallow, slender rhizomes; stems 2 to 20 dm tall, simple or with axillary branches in the upper 1/2, spreading-hirsute, opposite pairs of stem faces markedly unequal: one pair narrower, flat to convex, paler than the other pair which is broader, convex to rounded and darker, the stem giving the overall impression of "roundedness". Leaves short- petiolate, blades variously linear to lanceolate, elliptic, or narrowly ovate, the larger 2 to 4(6) cm long, acute to acuminate, basally acute to attenuate, margin serrate with apiculate or hair-tipped teeth, surface sparsely to densely appressed-hirsute, usually with 3 major veins (sometimes only 1). Cyme with few to many branches, mature hypanthia commonly secund on the interiors of the main branches. Calyx lobes triangular to lanceolate, acute to acuminate; petals oblong, obovate, or broadly cuneate, 12 to 15(18) mm long, white to lavender or in our area commonly rose-purple, glabrous. Mature hypanthium 6 to 10 mm long, body ovoid to globose, more or less evenly tapered into a cylindrical or slightly expanded neck equalling or slightly longer than the body, surface glabrous to moderately pubescent; seeds curved or coiled, ca. 0.7 mm long, longitudinally ridged, the ridges tuberculate, papillose, or with flattened domes, rarely smooth. Ditches, wet meadows and floodplains, bogs, seepage areas, edges of woods, savannahs, etc. where moist or wet. Throughout E. TX; MA to VA, KY, S. IN and S. IL, S. to FL and SW to SE. OK and TX. May-Sept.(Oct.) [Includes var. exalbida Michx. and var. leiosperma Fern. & Grisc.; R. lanceolata Walt.; R. delicatula Small; R. filiformis Small.]

Our most common Rhexia locally. Several other varieties are recognized. One other, var. interior (Penn.) Kral & Bostick, reaches TX (Kral and Bostick 1969) but is not present in our area as far as is now known. It is actually similar to R. virginica, below, in stem-face characters, but lacks the winged angles and has a hypanthium neck longer than the body [R. interior Penn.].

2.R. virginicaMELASTOMATACEAE RHEXIA virginica L. Common Meadow-beauty, Handsome Harry. Plant from tubiferous or spongy-thickened rootstocks (these sometimes missed in collecting); stem simple or sparsely branched, to 1 m tall, at midstem 4-angled, the pairs of opposite faces more or less equal, essentially flat, the angles usually conspicuously winged, sparsely glandular pubescent, sometimes only so at the nodes. Leaves essentially sessile or with petioles to 5 mm long, ascending, ovate, elliptic or commonly lanceolate, 3 to 5(10) cm long, to 3.5 cm broad, acute to acuminate, base rounded to acute, often with more than 3 prominent veins, margins finely serrate with the teeth hair-tipped. Cymes with few to many flowers, open or contracted. Calyx lobes to 2.5 mm long, triangular to lanceolate, acute to acuminate; petals oblong to obovate, 1.5 to 2 cm long, lavender rose to dark rose or rose-purple, with glandular hairs at the tips, usually some hairs on the abaxial (lower) surface. Mature hypanthium 7 to 10 mm long, body globose, neck slightly shorter than the body, surface glabrous to sparsely glandular pubescent; seeds ca. 0.7 mm long, curved or coiled, the surface muriculate, papillose, or tuberculate in concentric lines. Seepage slopes and bogs in E. TX, known from Robertson Co. and to be looked for in our other bogs; N. S. to S. Ont., S. WI, and E. IA, S. to FL and TX. Jun.-Oct. [Includes var. purshii (Spreng.) James and var. septemnerva (Walt.) Pursh; R. stricta Pursh].


Dogwood Family

Shrubs or trees (rarely herbs). Leaves alternate or opposite, simple, entire or essentially so, estipulate, usually deciduous. Flowers small, regular, perfect or unisexual, 4- or 5-merous, often in cymose arrangements, sometimes subtended by showy bracts. Calyx small or rudimentary. Petals 0 or 4 or 5. Stamens 4 to 12, sometimes in 2 series, filaments elongate; anthers introrse. Ovary inferior, of (1)2 to 4(5) carpels, styles 1 or 2, locules 1 or 2. Fruit drupe-like, with 1 to 5 locules and usually 1 pyrene per locule.

As treated here the family includes the Nyssaceae and comprises 3 genera and 7 species in TX; 2 genera and 3 species here. The trend in recent years has been to separate the Nyssaceae from the Cornaceae on the basis of various factors, including the 5-merous perianth of the Nyssaceae. However, the two groups are undoubtedly closely related and are retained as a unit by some systematists such as Thorne (See Zomlefer 1994). It is perhaps easiest for the student to interpret them as one family. If the families are separated, our Nyssa move to the Nyssaceae (3 genera and 8 species) and Cornus remains in the Cornaceae (12 genera and 90 species). The other TX genus, Garrya, can be put into its own family, the Garryaceae (1 genus, 13 species.)

Some taxa are cultivated ornamentals, some are timber sources, and some have edible fruit (Mabberley, 1987).

1. Plants shrubs or small trees; leaves opposite; perianth 4-merous ........................1. Cornus

1. Plants large trees; leaves alternate; perianth 5-merous ...........................................2. Nyssa


Ours shrubs or small trees (other taxa sometimes perennial herbs). Leaves opposite, petiolate, estipulate, entire, lateral veins curved upwards, nearly parallel. Inflorescence an open cyme or a head-like cluster subtended by 4 showy bracts. Flowers small, regular, perfect. Calyx of 4 minute teeth. Petals and stamens 4, inserted on the margin of an epigynous disk; ovary inferior, bicarpellate and with (1)2 locules, style 1, stigma flattened or capitate. Fruit drupe-like, with a (1-)2-seeded stone.

About 45 species of the N. temperate region, rare in S. Amer. and Afr.; 3 in TX; 2 here.

C. florida is the most common cultivated dogwood, prized for its showy flowers, but other species are cultivated for flowers and colorful fruit, including C. kousa and C. mas. Others have brightly colored winter twigs. The wood of some species has been used for tools, cabinet work, and other small objects. The fruits of some are edible (Mabberley 1987) or provide food for wildlife, including game birds, while deer browse the twigs and leaves (Elias 1980).

A field test for dogwood identification involves tearing a leaf gently in half across its width. The two halves of a dogwood leaf usually remain attached by cobwebby threads of vascular tissue.

1. Flowers in a head or contracted cyme, subtended by 4 showy white or pinkish bracts; fruit red or orange-ish at maturity ...1.C.florida

1. Flowers in an open cyme, bracts none; fruits white at maturity ...2.C.drummondii

1.C. floridaCORNACEAE CORNUS florida L. Flowering Dogwood. Large shrub or small tree to 12 m tall, often multi-trunked, trunks to 5 dm in diameter and crown to 11 m broad (commonly smaller); bark reddish brown to black on older trees, breaking up into a checkerboard pattern; young branchlets greenish; terminal buds white. Petioles usually 3 to 12 mm long; blades 6 to 12(15) cm long, 3 to 8 cm broad, ovate to broadly elliptic, acute to acuminate, rounded or tapered basally, dark green and glabrous to pubescent above, paler and strigillose to glabrous beneath, lateral veins 4 to 6 pairs, evenly spaced. Inflorescence a compact cyme of 12 to 25 small, greenish-white or yellowish-green, strigose flowers, subtended by a cross of 4 bracts; bracts large, obovate, petaloid, 2 to 5 cm long, 1.5 to 3 cm broad, white to light pink, often unequal, with many lateral veins curving toward the pointed or notched and slightly brownish apex, eventually deciduous. Calyx narrowly funnelform, lobes 4, 0.5 to 1 mm long, erect and persistent; petals 4, 3 to 5 mm long, narrowly lanceolate, valvate, spreading; stamens 4, exserted, inserted on the margin of the epigynous disk; style 3 to 4 mm long, from the center of the disk, stigma only slightly broader than the style. Fruit red to yellow, 1 to 1.5 cm long, 4 to 7 mm in diameter, ellipsoid, with 2 seeds in the stone. Usually in the understory of acid woods, on slopes, or in ravines. E. and Cen. TX; E. 1/2 U.S. and S. Can., S. to FL and TX; also Mex. Mar.-Apr. Fall color scarlet. [Cynoxylon floridum (L.) Raf.].

This plant is one of our most striking native flowering trees. It is commonly planted and some strains have been developed with decidedly pink bracts or variegated leaves. Plants along the E. seaboard of the U.S. have fallen prey to an anthracnose disease not yet a serious problem in TX. Songbirds and squirrels eat the fruits, though they are supposedly poisonous to humans. The wood is close-grained and hard, useful for tool handles and other small objects (Elias 1980).

2.C. drummondiiCORNACEAE CORNUS drummondii C. A. Mey. Roughleaf Dogwood. Shrub or small tree 2 to 6(12) m tall, sometimes forming clumps from root sprouts; crown irregular, open; bark dark reddish- to gray-brown, shallowly fissured; young branchlets olive-brown or reddish, scabrous, becoming light brown or gray; pith brown, markedly darker than the surrounding wood. Petioles to 15 mm long; blades ovate lance-ovate or elliptic-lanceolate, 6 to 11 cm long, 2 to 8.5 cm broad, usually abruptly acuminate, base cuneate to truncate, scabrous above, the hairs curly or Y-shaped, short-woolly-pilose beneath, rather whitish and with spreading hairs, lateral veins 3 to 5 pairs. Inflorescence on new growth, a rounded or flat-topped cyme to ca. 7.5 cm broad, usually with ca. 4 main branches, pubescent; pedicels 2 to 7 mm long, pubescent with appressed, T-shaped hairs; flowers white or cream, scented (some say unpleasantly so), appressed-pubescent. Sepals 4, united below, the free portions 0.5 to 1(2) mm long; corolla cylindric in bud, petals 4, lanceolate, spreading to revolute, 2.5 to 4(5.5) mm long; stamens 4, 2.5 to 6.5 mm long; ovary (1-)2-locular, style 2.5 to 3.5 mm long, stigma capitate. Fruit drupe-like, white or rarely pale blue, subglobose, 4 to 7 mm in diameter; stone globose, 3 to 5 mm in diameter, 1-seeded. Damp woods, dry hillsides, sometimes in wetter places. E. 1/2 TX; E. VA, S. IN, and SE. MO, S. to FL and TX. Apr.-June, ours mostly Apr. Fall color reddish. [C. asperifolia of some authors, including Michx.; Svida asperifolia (Michx.) Small].

Whitetail deer browse the foliage; songbirds, gamebirds, and small mammals eat the fruits (Elias 1980).


Trees or shrubs with alternate, simple, deciduous, entire or rarely slightly-toothed leaves commonly crowded at the ends of the branchlets. Flowers perfect or unisexual. Staminate flowers many in crowded clusters, calyx small, 5-parted; petals small and fleshy, soon falling or else entirely absent; stamens 5 to 12, inserted on the outer rim of the staminal disk. Pistillate flowers single or in small, sessile, bracted clusters of up to 8; style 1, elongate, ovary 1-celled. Fruit a 1-seeded drupe.

5 species of N. Amer., China, and Indomalaysia; 2 in TX; 1 here. Placed by some in the family Nyssaceae.

Some species are used for timber or are cultivated for ornamental fall color (Mabberley 1987).

1. N. sylvatica Marsh Medium to large tree to 30(40) m tall, branches spreading horizontally or drooping; bark light brown, with age deeply furrowed and with scaly vertical ridges; young branchlets reddish-brown, sparsely pubescent, becoming glabrous. Leaves alternate, often crowded at the tips of the branchlets, petioles to 2 cm long; blades to 14 cm long and 7 cm broad, obovate to broadly elliptic or linear to oblanceolate, ca. 2 to 3 times longer than wide, apically rounded to abruptly acuminate or acute, rounded to tapered basally, margins entire or sometimes wavy, rarely with any teeth, glabrous (or nearly so) and lustrous above, glabrate to glabrous below. Staminate flowers pedicellate, in an umbellate or compact raceme. Pistillate flowers 2 or more in pubescent, peduncled clusters. Fruits usually in 2's or 3's, ellipsoid, dark blue, 1 to 1.5 m long, flesh bitter to acid; stone hard, sometimes ribbed. Moist uplands or more usually in bottomland woods and in and around bogs. E. TX; ME to FL, W. to MI, IL, SE. MO, E. OK, and TX. Mar.-May. Fall color red to maroon.

Two varieties have been described for TX, both probably present. Our plants however, seem to be nearly all of the first variety. Kartesz (1998) recognizes the second as a distinct species .

var. sylvatica Black Gum, Sour-gum, Pepperidge. Leaves obovate to broadly elliptic, ca. twice as long as wide, to 14 cm long, abruptly acuminate to rounded apically, usually thin-textured; young petioles densely long-pilose; fruiting peduncles usually longer than 3 cm; flesh of fruit more or less acid. Typically in upland woods and stream bottoms, on light-textured soils. ME to NY and S. Ont., S. to FL and TX; disjunctly in Mex. Apr-May. [Includes var. dilatata Fern. and var. caroliniana (Poir.) Fern.].

var. biflora (Walt.) Sarg. Black Gum, Swamp Tupelo. Trunk base swollen when in standing water; leaves mostly linear to oblanceolate, usually 3 times longer than broad, usually leathery, rounded to acute apically, to 12 cm long, rarely to 4 cm broad; fruiting peduncles usually less than 3 cm long; fruit bitter. In seasonally flooded swamps, in low wet woods, and on stream banks. E. TX; DE and MD, S. to FL and TX. Mar.-Apr. [N. biflora Walt.].


Mistletoe Family

Herbaceous or shrubby aerial parasites. Stems evergreen, usually branched, brittle, the nodes usually swollen and articulated. Leaves opposite, simple, entire, evergreen or some (not ours) reduced to scales. Herbage pubescent or glabrous. Plants monoecious or dioecious, flowers small, less than 2 mm long, clustered at the nodes or in spikes or cymes. Calyx segments 2 to 4, valvate, Corolla none. Staminate flowers with stamens as many as the sepals and opposite them, fused to them or free. Pistillate flowers with ovary inferior, of 3 to 4 united carpels, unilocular, style 1, stigma terminal. Ovules none, the 2 embryo sacs originating from short placental columns. Fruit a berry with 1(2) testa-less seeds, viscid tissue, and persistent sepals.

8 genera and 450 species more or less worldwide, mostly in the tropics and subtropics; 2 genera and 10 species in TX; 1 species here.

The plants can be serious parasites, especially in plantation trees. Viscum (Old World) and Phoradendron (New World) are the genera commonly used as Christmas decorations (Mabberley 1987).


Parasitic shrubs, leaves and sometimes stems green and photosynthetic. Leaves evergreen, opposite, well-developed (as in ours) or in some reduced to scales. Plants dioecious, flowers ca. 2 mm long, in cylindrical, spike-like, axillary inflorescences with the flowers sunken into the rachis, 1 at the apex an the others 3-ranked. Staminate inflorescence usually with 5 to 60 flowers. Pistillate inflorescence with 4 to 11 flowers. Calyx segments usually (2)3(4), free, deltoid, scale-like, persistent, seldom erect and never spreading, commonly incurved. Staminate flower with 1 sessile 2-celled anther at the base of each sepal. Pistillate flower with an inferior ovary below the persistent sepals, unilocular. Fruit small, drupe-like, mesocarp mucilaginous, usually whitish.

190 species in America, especially in the tropics; 7 in TX; 1 here. This treatment follows Wiens (1964). The author of this article communicated to the editors of The Flora of the Great Plains that he felt this to be a better treatment of the P. tomentosum-P. serotinum complex than the treatment presented by Correll and Johnston (1970); see GPFA (1986).

P. serotinum is the species most commonly sold as a floral decoration (Mabberley, 1987). The leaves and stems are toxic and the berries may be poisonous if eaten in large quantities. It is the berries that are responsible for the few reported fatal cases. Symptoms of poisoning are usually those of severe gastroenteritis (Lampe 1985).

1. P. tomentosum (DC.) Engelm. ex Gray Mistletoe, Injerto. Shrubs to 1 m or more in diameter, yellow-green, moderately to densely stellate-pubescent on younger parts, older parts more lightly so. Leaf blades elliptic-obovate to orbicular, 16 to 28(40) mm long, 9 to 22 mm broad, moderately to densely pubescent, obtuse to rounded apically, basally rounded to attenuate, leathery, veins prominent to obscure; petiole 2 to 4 mm long or obsolete, commonly more densely pubescent than the blade. Staminate inflorescence with 2 to 6 segments, each with 15 to 42 flowers. Pistillate inflorescence with 2 to 6 segments, each with 6 to 11 flowers. Fruit whitish, 4 to 6 mm in diameter, glabrous or nearly so. Flowering Dec.-Mar. Parasitic primarily on Prosopis (Mesquite) or other legumes, Celtis, Ulmus, and sometimes Quercus. S., Cen., and W. TX. [Includes var. tomentosum, as the former var. macrophyllum (Engelm.) Wiens is now accorded separate specific status (e.g. see Hatch, et al. 1990); P. flavescens of authors and var. tomentosum (DC.) Engelm. in Brewer and Watson; P. serotinum (Raf.) M. C. Johnst. var. pubescens (Engelm.) M. C. Johnst.].

Tull (1987) reported that pale tan, yellow, and green dyes can be made from this plant.


Staff-tree Family

Texas material woody vines, shrubs, or small trees. Leaves simple, alternate or opposite, petiolate; stipules absent or minute and deciduous. Inflorescences axillary cymes or terminal racemes or panicles. Flowers perfect or rarely unisexual, 4- or 5-merous, regular; pedicels jointed. Sepals in ours united basally. Petals free, usually imbricate. Stamens 4 to 10, inserted on the margin of a disk that occupies nearly the whole of the bottom of the calyx and sometimes obscures the ovary. Ovary on or partly surrounded by the disk, of 1 to 5 united carpels with as many locules, free of the calyx; style 1, ovules (1)2 to 10. Fruit a capsule (as in ours) or a berry, the seeds often enclosed by a fleshy aril.

94 genera and 1,300 species chiefly of the tropics, somewhat fewer in temperate regions; 6 genera and 8 species in TX (with the removal of Forsellesia to Glossopetalon in the Crossomataceae); 1 species here.

The family is important chiefly for cultivated ornamentals in Euonymus and medicinal members of Maytenus (Mabberley 1987).


Shrubs or small trees; branchlets green, 4-sided. Leaves opposite, serrulate. Flowers perfect, small, in open axillary pedunculate cymes or solitary. Sepals basally united into a short, flat cup. Petals apically rounded, spreading. Staminal disk flat, 4- or 5-angled, adherent to the calyx and more or less adhering to and concealing the ovary; style short or obsolete. Fruit a loculicidal capsule with 3 to 5 lobes and as many valves. Seeds 1 to 4 per locule, each with a red aril.

177 species of the N. temperate zone, especially Aust.; 2 in TX; 1 here.

Some species are useful for wood, dye properties, etc. The species that Americans are familiar with are generally cultivated plants with colorful fruit and/or fall color (Mabberley 1987). Some species, including ours, have toxic or cathartic properties, though serious poisonings are known only from the fruit of E. europaeus (Lampe 1985).

1. E. atropurpureus Jacq. (Eastern) Wahoo, Burning-bush. Shrub or small tree, erect, 2 to 4(8) m tall; bark gray; branchlets greenish. Petioles 1 to 2 cm long; blades oblong-oval to elliptic, lance-ovate, or lanceolate, 5 to 13 cm long, acute to acuminate or attenuate, basally acute, finely serrulate, the upper surface glabrous, lower surface persistently finely pubescent or glabrous; stipules linear, to 1 mm long, quickly deciduous. Cymes pedunculate, axillary, 7- to 15-flowered; flowers dark red to purplish or tinged with green, 4-merous, generally 6 to 8 mm broad. Calyx lobes 1 to 1.5 mm long, often unequal; petals 3.3 to 3.8 mm long, 3.5 mm broad; disk 4-lobed; stamens nearly sessile; ovary generally 4-lobed unless with fewer lobes through abortion; style obsolete; ovules 2 per cell. Capsule usually deeply 4-lobed, smooth, red or yellowish-red, ca. 1.5 cm broad, dehiscing to show the red-arillate seeds; seeds brown or yellowish-brown, 6 to 7(8.5) mm long, 4 to 5 mm in diameter, smooth. Moist rich woods, bluffs, ravines, thickets, etc. Primarily in N. Cen. TX, in our area known at least from Old River Ranch in Burleson Co.; Ont. to MT, S. to NC, TN, AL, AR, OK, and TX, apparently excluding SC and LA. Apr.-July.

Two varieties in TX:

var. atropurpureus Blades ovate-elliptic, acute to abruptly short-acuminate, persistently pubescent below, especially on the veins. This appears to be the variety represented by our Burleson Co. material.

var. cheatumii Lundell Blades lanceolate, apex long-attenuate, both surfaces entirely glabrous.

The bark and fruit are cathartic and may be emetic, though the bark was once used medicinally (Lampe 1985).


Holly Family

Shrubs or trees, deciduous or usually evergreen. Leaves alternate, simple, petiolate, usually stipulate, margins entire to toothed or spiny. Plants usually polygamo-dioecious (mostly dioecious and with a few perfect flowers). Flowers regular, hypogynous, 4-(to 8-)merous, sessile or pedicellate, in axillary fasciculate, cymose, or racemose arrangements or sometimes solitary. Calyx small, sepals united, free of ovary, persistent, the lobes imbricate. Corolla white or tinged with green, deciduous, the petals free or basally united, imbricate. Stamens usually as many as and alternate with the petals and sometimes adnate to the corolla, all fertile in staminate flowers, anthers introrse; staminodia present in the pistillate flowers, about as large as the fertile stamens. Ovary sessile, superior, with 2 to 6(rarely more) united carpels and as many locules, style short or obsolete, ovules 1(2) per locule; ovary in male flowers rudimentary, sterile. Fruit drupe-like, with as many stones as carpels. Stones smooth to ribbed or striate, usually with 1 suspended seed, seed coat thin, endosperm abundant.

4 genera and 420 species nearly worldwide; 1 genus and 11 species in TX; 4 species known from our area.

The family is important in the U.S. primarily for cultivated ornamental shrubs and trees, but it also includes some taxa valued for their wood (Mabberley 1987).


Characters as described for the family, more precisely as follows: Stipules minute, deciduous. Plants generally fully dioecious or with a few occasional perfect flowers. Flowers axillary, in cymes, fascicles, or solitary, usually pedicellate. Calyx 4- to 9-parted. Corolla rotate, petals 4 to 9, elliptic to oblong, free or basally united. Stamens as many as the petals and alternate with them, epipetalous. Ovary subcylindrical, usually with 2 to 8 cells, style usually none, stigmas as many as the cells, separate or confluent. Fruit topped with the persistent stigma(s), usually with 4 to 8 1-seeded stones.

About 400 species worldwide, especially tropical and temperate Amer. and Asia; 11 in TX; 4 here. A useful reference for descriptions and county records is the work of Lundell (1943).

Many are cultivated for ornament, both deciduous and evergreen, and with some cultivars bred for showy fruit. I. aquifolium is the traditional English holly used as a Christmas decoration; in America this usually replaced by I. opaca. The wood of many is white and can be used in inlay, for musical instruments, etc. The leaves of some, for example I. cassine and I. paraguariensis, are high in caffeine and have been used in teas (Mabberley 1987). The fruits of some are regarded as toxic, causing vomiting and diarrhea if eaten (Lampe 1985).

1. Leaves thin-textured, deciduous; inflorescences sessile, all the flowers solitary or

fasciculate; pedicels lacking bractlets .....................................................................................2

1. Leaves coriaceous, evergreen; inflorescences pedunculate, the flowers in cymes or solitary; pedicels with bractlets at the base ..............................................................................3

2(1) Blades mostly spatulate to obovate, basally attenuate, apically rounded or commonly emarginate; margins more or less crenate; fruiting pedicels 4 to 6 mm long ...1.I.decidua

2. Blades usually obovate-elliptic, basally cuneate, apically acute to acuminate; margin more or less serrate; fruiting pedicels 6 to 12 mm long ...2.I.longipes

var. hirsuta

3(1) Blades usually more than 4 cm long; margin spinose-dentate; apex spine-tipped .................


3. Blades usually less than 4 cm long; margin crenate or crenate-serrate; apex obtuse, often emarginate ...4.I.vomitoria

1.I. deciduaAQUIFOLIACEAE ILEX deciduaWalt. Deciduous Holly, Deciduous Yaupon, Possum-haw, Winterberry, Bear-berry. Shrub or small tree to a maximum of 10 m, crown open and spreading; bark light brown to gray; branchlets gray or silvery, glabrous or rarely puberulent, the lateral ones often short and spur-like. Leaves deciduous, membranous, stiffer with age, usually in fascicles at the ends of the lateral branchlets; petioles grooved, 0.5 to 1.5 cm long, densely puberulent above with curved hairs, glabrous below, blades broadest at or above the middle, oblanceolate to spatulate, oblong, obovate, broadly obovate, or sometimes elliptic, to 8 cm long and 4.5 cm broad, usually about 1/2 that, apex obtuse to rounded or obtusely subacuminate, basally acuminate to attenuate, margin obscurely or remotely crenulate-serrulate, the teeth incurved and gland-tipped, upper surface glabrous, lower surface paler, pubescent at least on veins. Flowers in fascicles of about 5 to 12 at the ends of spur-like shoots of the previous season, rarely single on current year's growth, appearing as the leaves unfold; pedicels glabrous, without bracts, those of the male flowers to 12 mm long, those of the female flowers to 6 mm long. Perianth 4- or 5-merous; calyx lobes triangular, ca. 1 mm long, equalling or longer than the tube, acute, entire, in the male flowers sometimes denticulate and in the female ciliolate; petals white, basally united, elliptic to oblong-elliptic, 3 to 4 mm long; stamens of male flowers slightly shorter than the petals, staminodia of female flowers ca. 3/4 as long as petals; ovary of pistillate flowers obovoid, ca. 1.5 mm long, commonly 4-celled, with 1 large, capitate, sessile stigma. Fruit globose to depressed-globose, bright red or red-orange, to 7.5 mm in diameter, persistent until the next season's leaves appear; stones usually 4, irregularly ribbed, to 5 mm long. Woods, often near streams, in swamps and ravines, conspicuous in fruit along fencerows and roadsides. E. and Cen. TX; MD, S. IN, S. IL, MO, and SE. KS., S. to FL and TX, absent from the immediate coastal plain and much of Appalachia. Mar.-May. [Includes var. curtissii Fern; I. curtissii (Fern.) Small].

The fruits are eaten by songbirds and gamebirds, while deer browse the young growth (Elias 1980).

2.I. longipesAQUIFOLIACEAE ILEX longipes Chapm. ex Trel. var. hirsuta Lundell Georgia Holly, Chapman's Holly. Shrub or small tree to 3 m tall; twigs gray, puberulent or glabrous, often short and spur-like. Leaves deciduous, clustered in fascicles; petioles slim, puberulent above, hirsute or only sparsely so beneath, 2 to 6 mm long; blades membranous or becoming stiffer with age, elliptic to oblanceolate, ovate-elliptic, or oblanceolate-elliptic, 1.5 to 5 cm long, 0.7 to 2.3 cm broad, broadest at or above the middle, apex acute to obtuse, sometimes abruptly acuminate, usually mucronulate, basally acute, margin crenulate-serrulate, serrulate, or nearly entire, the teeth minutely mucronate, conspicuously ciliate, upper surface hirtellous on the impressed midvein, lower surface hirsute, densely so on the prominent midvein. Inflorescences sessile, axillary, staminate flowers in fascicles and the pistillate solitary; peduncles slender, glabrous, the staminate to 1.6 cm long and the pistillate 6 to 12 cm long; flowers 4-merous. Staminate flowers: calyx more or less cup-shaped, ca. 2 mm broad, the lobes triangular, acute, denticulate; corolla rotate, the petals united basally, elliptic, to 3 mm long; stamens about as long as the petals. Pistillate flowers: calyx slightly larger, corolla rotate, petals elliptic; staminodia 2/3 as long as the petals; fertile ovary ovoid, to 2.5 mm long, 4-celled, stigma capitate (description of female flower based on description for the species as female flowers were not described in the original varietal diagnosis). Fruit globose, to 8 mm in diameter, usually red, with 4 inconspicuously striate-sulcate stones to 5.5 mm long. In woods, usually on sandy or sandy loam soils, uncommon in our area but known from Madison Co. eastward. SE. TX. Mar.-Apr.

Our plants differ from the typical variety in having shorter pedicels, denser pubescence, and smaller leaves. The species as a whole from TX and FL N. to TN and NC.

3.I. opacaAQUIFOLIACEAE ILEX opaca Ait. American Holly. Usually small tree to 16 m, slow growing and long lived, crown pyramidal if unobstructed; bark light gray, slightly warty; branchlets stout, subterete or striate-grooved, at first finely puberulent, becoming glabrate. Leaves evergreen; petioles usually 5 to 12 (18) mm long, puberulent, channeled; blades stiff and coriaceous, elliptic to obovate, to 12 cm long and 6 cm broad, apex acute to nearly acuminate, spiny, base obtuse to rounded (sometimes acute to subcuneate), margin with a few spiny teeth or sometimes entire, upper surface dark green and puberulent along the midvein and at the base at first, lower surface paler and often sparsely short-hirtellous. Inflorescences scattered or fasciculate in the axils; staminate cymes puberulent, with 3 to 12 flowers, to 25 mm long, pedicels to 1 cm long, without bractlets; pistillate clusters usually with 1 to 3 flowers, peduncles 2 to 10 mm long and with 2 bractlets near the middle; flowers 4-merous. Calyx lobes ovate-triangular, 1 to 1.5 mm long, acute to acuminate, puberulent or glabrous, ciliate; petals white or pale yellowish, united basally, commonly elliptic, to 4 mm long and 3 mm broad, sometimes sparsely ciliolate; stamens as long as or longer than the petals, staminodia shorter than the petals; fertile ovary conic-ovoid, ca. 2.5 mm long, 4-celled, stigma capitate. Fruit globose to ellipsoid, bright red or orange (rarely yellow), to 12 mm in diameter; stones 4, irregularly grooved, to 8 mm long. Moist woods, often of bottomlands, hammocks, streambanks, swamps, etc. E. and S. Cen. TX; MA to FL, W. to WI, MO, OK, TX. Apr.-June.

Sometimes grown for ornament and the foliage and fruit used for Christmas decorations. The wood, though white, turns brown with age and the trees are too small to be of use for large objects. Songbirds and gamebirds eat the fruit (Elias 1980).

4.I. vomitoriaAQUIFOLIACEAE ILEX vomitoria Ait. Yaupon, Cassine. Shrub or small tree to 8 m, sometimes spreading from root sprouts, crown round and spreading; bark light, usually grayish or brown; branchlets stout, puberulent, becoming glabrous, obtusely angled. Leaves evergreen; petioles 1 to 3(6) mm long, puberulent; blades coriaceous, elliptic to oblong, oblong-elliptic, ovate-elliptic, or even obovate-elliptic, broadest near or below the middle, to 5.5 cm long and 2.8 cm broad, often about 1/2 that large, margin crenulate to crenate or crenate-serrate, the teeth minutely mucronate, slightly revolute, apex obtuse and usually minutely emarginate or mucronulate, base rounded to obtuse or rarely acutish, upper surface dark green, puberulent on the midvein and on the base when young, lower surface paler and glabrous except perhaps for the very base. Inflorescences clustered in the axils, the staminate usually with 3 flowers, short-peduncled, usually puberulent; pistillate flowers puberulent, usually solitary or few in sessile clusters; pedicels 1.3 to 3.8 mm long, glabrous in staminate flowers, puberulent in female flowers. Flowers 4-merous; calyx lobes broadly ovate to rounded, ca. 0.5 mm long, glabrous; petals white, basally united, elliptic to oblong-elliptic, 2 to 3 mm long, to 2 mm broad; fertile stamens equalling the petals, staminodia shorter than the petals; fertile ovary conic-ovoid, 1.5 to 2 mm long, stigma capitate. Fruit globose, bright red, to 6.5(8) mm in diameter, topped with the persistent stigma; stones 4, striate, to 4 mm long. Exceedingly common in woods, fencerows, roadsides, hammocks; one of the first species to colonize cleared areas. SE. and Cen. TX; VA to FL, W. to AR, TX. Apr.-May.

The author has seen colonies of Atta carpenter ants carrying away the fruits. Songbirds and some gamebirds eat the fruit. The wood is white and hard but not very useful as the trees are small (Elias 1980). Sometimes cultivated as a shrub in local landscapes, with weeping, yellow-fruited, and dwarf forms available (Bailey, et al. 1976). The latter take well to shearing. The leaves are high in caffeine and were used in a ceremonial tea-like drink by Native Americans. The specific epithet "vomitoria" refers to the belief (probably erroneous) that the plant was used in purging ceremonies. The leaves, however, are not toxic (Tull 1987), though the berries are (Lampe 1985). Tan and gray dyes can be made from the leaves and yellows from the berries (Tull 1987).


Spurge Family

Herbs, shrubs, or trees, some (not ours) true vines or stem succulents, very diverse in overall morphology. Leaves alternate, opposite, or whorled, simple to pinnately or palmately lobed or compound, commonly stipulate, but stipules often small, caducous, or represented by glands or membranes. Herbage glabrous to pubescent with various sorts of hairs or scales, sometimes stinging, some genera with milky or colored latex. Inflorescence quite variable, but flowers always unisexual, plants monoecious or dioecious. Non-Euphorbia type flowers: variously arranged, regular, perianth reduced to showy, of 1 or 2 whorls, the whorls similar or different. Nectary disk often present, at least in pistillate flowers. Stamens (1-)5 to many, free or variously connate. Gynoecium typically of 3 united carpels (occasionally 2 or 4 to many), typically 3-celled (except in, e.g., some Croton); styles 3 and distinct or united below and branched above, each branch often further divided, ovules 1 to 2 per locule, apical-axile, pendulous. Euphorbia-type flowers: very reduced, borne in cyathia which resemble single flowers, each cyathium cup-shaped, with one pedicellate female flower consisting only of a tricarpellate gynoecium as described above; staminate flowers represented by single pedicellate stamens, sometimes subtended by rudimentary bracts, rim of cyathium with nectary glands, each often with a petaloid appendage. Fruit usually a capsule or schizocarp (achene or utricle in some Croton), the dorsal carpel walls separating from the central axis or columella; seeds often with a caruncle or outgrowth around the micropyle.

Mabberley (1987) lists 321 genera and 7,950 species of cosmopolitan distribution (except the Arctic); in TX 20 genera and 137 species; 9 genera and 43 species locally.

The family is important for several crops. Natural rubber is obtained from the sap of Hevea brasiliensis trees. Manihot esculenta is the source of the staple foods manihot, cassava, and tapioca. Ricinus communis is the source of castor oil--and one of the most deadly poisons, ricin. Other genera supply medicinal or industrial oils, dyes, timber, or fruit. Many species are poisonous or have irritating latex. There are many ornamentals in the family, including species of Croton, Acalypha, Euphorbia, Codiaeum, and others (Mabberley 1987).

1. Plants trees ...............................................................................................................1. Sapium

1. Plants herbs (some of them may be rather coarse) ...............................................................2

2(1) Leaves palmately lobed; plants with stinging hairs ........................................2. Cnidoscolus

2. Leaves not palmately lobed; plants with or without stinging hairs ..........................................3

3(2) Calyx absent; flowers borne inside a cup-shaped structure (cyathium) which may

resemble a single flower; sap milky ....................................................................3. Euphorbia

3. Calyx present; flowers borne otherwise; sap milky or clear ....................................................4

4(3) Sap milky; leaves with glandular-serrate margins ................................................4. Stillingia

4. Sap not milky; leaf margins not glandular-serrate (if serrate, not glandular) .........................5

5(4) Flowers solitary or in cymules of 2 to 3 in the axils of the leaves; plants glabrous ..................

...........................................................................................................................5. Phyllanthus

5. Flowers borne otherwise: in clusters, spikes, racemes, etc.; if flowers as few as 1 to 3 per inflorescence, then not all axillary; plants glabrous or pubescent .........................................6

6(5) Leaves with stellate hairs or peltate scales (use lens) .............................................6. Croton

6. Leaves with only simple or branched hairs, OR plants glabrous ...........................................7

7(6) Pistillate flowers subtended by conspicuous, usually serrate or laciniate foliaceous bracts ...

...............................................................................................................................7. Acalypha

7. Flowers not subtended by conspicuous bracts; bracts, if present, small and not resembling leaves ........................................................................................................................................9

8(7) Inflorescences in the axils of the leaves; leaves with three prominent nerves from the base, without stinging hairs .............................................................................8. Argythamnia

8. Inflorescences opposite the upper leaves at the nodes; venation various, but leaves not manifestly triple-nerved, with stinging hairs ...............................................................9. Tragia

NOTES: Caperonia palustris (L.) St. Hil. is a weed in rice fields of SE. TX. The author has seen one very old specimen from Brazos Co. It is an herb with lanceolate to lance-elliptic leaves with serrate margins and closely-spaced parallel secondary veins. Spikes androgynous, in the upper axils; flowers with calyx and corolla. Ovary tricarpellate, densely glandular-setose. Probably not a persistent member of our flora. Occasional waifs or escapes of Ricinus communis L. may be found in our area. It is a tall herb with palmately lobed leaves and bristly-prickly capsules.


About 125 species of tropical and warm regions; 1 species escaping cultivation and naturalized in Texas.

1. S. sebiferum (L.) Roxb. (= Triadica sebifera (L.) Small) Chinese Tallow Tree. Fast-growing medium-sized tree to 15 m; trunk often crooked, branches spreading or drooping; bark smooth and reddish on younger wood, grayish-brown and widely-fissured on older trunks; wood brittle; sap milky. Leaves alternate, resembling those of Populus, blades rhombic to rhombic-ovate, widest at or below the middle, 3 to 8(9) cm long, apically acuminate to denticulate, basally rounded to acute or sometimes nearly truncate, with 2 small gland at the base of the blade, margin entire but slightly undulate; petioles longer than blades, slender; stipules subulate, caducous. Flowers in terminal thyrses (3)5 to 15 cm long, the bractlet of each node with 2 persistent, bulbous-glandular bractlets. Staminate flowers in clusters in the upper portion of the inflorescence, pedicel ca. 1 mm long; calyx ca. 1 mm broad, cup-shaped and irregularly 3-toothed; stamens 2; corolla, glands, and rudimentary ovary absent. Pistillate flowers few and solitary at the lower nodes of the inflorescence, sepals 3, triangular, nearly distinct; corolla, glands, and nectary disk absent; gynoecium 3-celled, subglobose, styles 3, free and spreading for about half their length, entire, the free portion brown and ventrally papillate. Fruit a 3-lobed capsule 1.2 to 1.8 cm long, dark brown, the outer walls readily falling; seeds 3, 7 to 8 mm long, more or less ellipsoid with one flat side, waxy white, long-persistent on the columella. Native to China and Japan; introduced as a shade tree and now escaping and persisting on the coastal plain from SC to TX; completely naturalized in some places. Common near houses, in vacant lots, old homesites, and so on, especially near water--along streams, around ponds, in moist thickets, etc. Flowering about May or June. Fall color ranging from yellow to orange, red, and maroon--sometimes all on one tree. Long treated in Sapium, now treated by some in Triadica.

The waxy covering of the seeds can be made into candles or used in soap, and a drying oil can be pressed from the seeds (Tull 1987; Mabberley 1987). The sap, leaves, and fruit wall are poisonous and the sap can cause dermatitis; the seeds should also be considered potentially toxic. Yellow-green dye can be made from the leaves (Tull 1987). This tree provides outstanding fall color in our area and is especially impressive when the white seeds persist against dark red foliage. However, the trees are very weak-wooded and susceptible to rot, making them short-lived in the landscape and prone to drop branches or split. The seeds can also be messy. These traits, combined with a general weediness, put this plant near the top of many people's list of "trash trees".


About 50 to 75 species of tropical America, rarer northward; 1 species in Texas.

1. C. texanus (Muell.- Arg.) Small Bull Nettle, Mala Mujer. Perennial herb from a stout root to 1 m long and 20 cm thick; stems several from the base, branched below or above ground, 3 to 5(10) dm tall, plant to 1 m broad; sap milky; herbage covered with white-based stinging hairs. Leaves alternate, orbicular in overall outline, deeply palmately 3- or 5-lobed and veined, lobes entire and ovate or acuminate to angled, sinuate-dentate, or shallowly lobed; petiole from longer than to shorter than the blade, with inconspicuous brownish-white glands 2 to 3 mm broad at the junction of the petiole and upper surface of the blade; stipules inconspicuous and commonly deciduous, 3 to 4 mm long, deeply 3- or 4-toothed or in some plants only one tooth developed. Plants monoecious; inflorescence pedunculate, cymose, terminal (sometimes exceeded by lateral axillary branches), well-branched but few-flowered, branches dichotomous toward the ends, determinate, the single truly terminal flower pistillate (or in some cymes apparently absent), ultimate branchlets each bearing a staminate flower subtended by 1 to 3 tiny subulate bracts. Staminate flowers fragrant, buds clavellate, 13 to 19 mm long; perianth of 1 whorl, petaloid, white, showy, with scattered stinging hairs, funnelform-salverform with a tube 15 to 20 mm long, longer than the 5(4) more or less oblong lobes; stamens 10(rarely 9?), included, in 2 whorls, the inner ones connate into a column, the outer free to their villous bases. Pistillate flowers with a single whitish, petaloid perianth whorl, 10 to 17 mm long, 5-lobed to near the base, with scattered stinging hairs; ovary oblong-obovoid, slightly 3-lobed, 3-celled, densely beset with stinging hairs and also hirtellous above; styles 3, briefly connate below, about 3 times dichotomous, ultimate ends slender. Capsule oblong, 15 to 20 mm long, hispid; columella white, persistent, with 3 narrow wings; seeds 3, 14 to 18 mm long, rounded-oblong, apiculate, smooth, brownish-white, caruncle prominent, sagittate, yellowish-white, 3 to 4 mm long. In sandy soils, common where the ground disturbed. Nearly throughout TX; also LA, OK, AR and S. into Mex. Flowering April-Nov.

The sap is toxic and caustic, but the main threat is from the vicious stinging hairs, which are capable of penetrating even denim. Some people also experience an allergic reaction to the sting (Tull 1987). If one can get to them, however, the seeds are edible and reported to be tasty. One wonders who was first curious--or desperate--enough to discover this.


Ours perennial or annual herbs (elsewhere also shrubs and trees), quite variable in habit; plants glabrous to variously pubescent; sap milky and acrid. Leaves alternate or opposite, in our species simple, entire to serrate or serrulate; stipules well-developed to reduced and scale- or gland-like. Flowers in ours all Euphorbia-type: unisexual, borne in cyathia which resemble individual flowers. Glands of cyathia 1 or more, rotund to cupped or horned; petaloid appendages present or absent, usually greenish, white, or pinkish. Staminate flowers variable in number per cyathium, each consisting of 1 pedicellate stamen. Pistillate flowers 1 per cyathium, often long-exserted, commonly nodding in age, consisting of a pedicellate tricarpellate gynoecium; styles 3, usually bifid but sometimes entire. Fruit a 3-celled, 3-seeded schizocarp-like capsule, each of the carpels falling from the persistent central axis (columella) and soon or tardily releasing the single seed. Seeds often carunculate, variously shaped and decorated.

One of the largest genera of flowering plants, with ca. 1,600 species worldwide, especially in warmer areas. Hatch, et al. (1990) listed 63 species for TX; 18 of which can be expected in our area. The genus includes taxa formerly treated in Chamaesyce, Tithymalus, Poinsettia, and others. Some current authors recognize Chamaesyce as a separate, valid genus and synonyms are provide for those who chose to recognize the split. This treatment is based, in part, on still-useful information presented by Norton (1900) and Wheeler (1941).

The genus has many important members. Most familiar is E. pulcherrima, the Poinsettia. Many African species are succulent and/or spiny, resembling cacti, and a number are cultivated as pot plants, including E. obesa and E. tirucalli. E. splendens is the popular Crown of Thorns. The sap of all species is poisonous and may cause allergic skin reactions. Some species with medicinal properties have been used in emetics, purgatives, depilatories, and so on. Some species are weedy, notably E. peplus in Europe and E. nutans, E. hypericifolia, E. marginata, and E. prostrata in our area. A few species have hydrocarbon chemistries of their sap which allow their use in waxes, waterproofings, rubber, etc. E. antisyphilitica, Candelilla, has a white waxy covering which can be refined for use in chewing gum and cosmetics. A very few species (none of ours!) have edible shoots (e.g. E. balsamifera of the E. hemisphere) (Mabberley 1987).

NOTE: Many TX species are rather weedy; several species not currently known from our area may someday be found here. E. glyptosperma, E. stictospora, and E. albomarginata may be keyed and are described in the Manual of Vascular Plants of Texas (Correll & Johnston 1970). E. humistrata may also make its way here. It is very similar to E. maculata, but roots at the lower nodes and has slender styles 0.5 to 0.7 mm long (cf. E. maculata's clavate styles which are 0.3 to 0.4 mm long).

1. Glands of cyathia without appendages; leaves alternate or opposite, blades essentially bilaterally symmetrical (at least on main stem) .......................................................................2

1. Glands of cyathia with petaloid appendages, OR if appendages absent then leaves all opposite and asymmetrical (with oblique bases) ....................................................................7

2(1) Glands deeply cupped, 1 to 3 per cyathium; cyathia clustered at the ends of the stems and branches, not in a 3-to several-rayed, branched inflorescence; leaves alternate or

opposite .....................................................................................................................................3

2. Glands flat or convex, 4 or 5 per cyathium; leaves alternate on main stem, whorled beneath the symmetrical 3-rayed inflorescence (pleiochasium), and opposite at the forks of the inflorescence branches ..................................................................................................4

3(2) Leaves mostly opposite; seeds mostly 2.2 to 2.5 (3.0) mm long ...1.E.dentata

3. Leaves alternate above the first or second pair of leaves and below the inflorescence; seeds mostly 2.7 to 3.1 mm long ...2.E.cyathophora

4(2) Margin of glands rotund, entire ................................................................................................5

4. Margin of glands either with a horn at each end or else half-moon shaped with the points and concave side outward ........................................................................................................6

5(4) Ovary and fruit strongly tuberculate at all stages; plants to 50 cm tall ...3.E.spathulata

5. Ovary and fruit not tuberculate; plants usually to 20 cm. tall ...4.E.texana

6(4) Seed with a distinct vertical row of pits on each of the 2 ventral faces ...5.E.tetrapora

6. Seed with small, distinct pits not in vertical rows ...6.E.longicruris

7(1) Robust herbs to 1 m tall, with a single main stem; leaves alternate, the uppermost markedly white-margined ...7.E.bicolor

7. Plants various in habit, usually much less than 1 m tall; leaves usually opposite, never white-margined .........................................................................................................................8

8(7) Stipules glandlike or obsolete; leaf blades symmetrical; cyathia borne on the pseudo- dichotomous upper branches ..................................................................................................9

8. Stipules usually well-developed (at least on one side of the stem), OR if stipules poorly developed then the leaf blades asymmetrical (the bases oblique); branching pattern various (subg. Chamaesyce) ..................................................................................................10

9(8) Plants taprooted annual herbs with a single stem from the base; leaves linear, acute ...........


9. Plants perennials, usually with more than one stem from the base; leaves oblong to linear, apically rounded ...9.E.corollata

10(8) Stipules at each node united into a glabrous white or pinkish scale on each side of the stem, scale entire to lacerate; plants often rooted at the lower nodes ...10.E.serpens

10. Stipules otherwise; if seemingly united into a scale, then only on one side of the stem, OR the entire stipule structure deeply lobed or dissected; plants only rarely rooted at the lower nodes .......................................................................................................................................11

11(10) Plants with some hairs on herbage and/or inflorescence .....................................................12

11. Plants essentially glabrous on herbage, inflorescence, and fruit (except perhaps for the stipules and the inside of the cyathium) ................................................................................14

12(11) Ovary and capsule glabrous ...15.E.nutans

12. Ovary and capsule not glabrous ............................................................................................13

13(12) Seeds with narrow, sharp or square cut transverse ridges whitened on the tops; capsules crisply villous or strigose ...11.E.prostrata

13. Seeds with low, rounded transverse ridges not whitened on the tops, or merely granular; capsules strigose ...12.E.maculata

14(11) Leaves linear, more than 6 times longer than wide; leaves entire ...13.E.missurica

14. Leaves not linear; if narrow then serrulate or less than 6 times longer than wide ...............15

15(14) Leaves mostly serrate or serrulate as seen with a lens ........................................................16

15. Leaves entire as seen with a lens ..........................................................................................17

16(15) Capsule ca. 1.3 mm long; columella ca. 1.1 mm long; cyathia densely glomerulate; plants glabrous ...14.E.hypericifolia

16. Capsule 1.9 to 2.3 mm long; columella 1.8 to 2.2 mm long; cyathia not in dense

glomerules; plants glabrous or often minutely pubescent on distal internodes or the leaves pilose underneath ...15.E.nutans

17(15) Seeds smooth and plump, ovoid, not angled; annual ...16.E.geyeri

17. Seeds wrinkled or smooth, usually 3- or 4-angled in cross-section; plants perennial ........18

18(17) Stipules parted into filiform segments ...17.E.cordifolia

18. Stipules linear, usually free or occasionally united into a bifid structure, sometimes lacerate, but not parted ...18.E.fendleri

1.E. dentataEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL dentata Michx. Toothed Spurge. Taprooted annual herb; stems 1 to 4(6) dm tall, erect, 1 to 4 mm thick, branches usually many, decussate, ascending, slender, often as tall as the main stem; stems, branches and petioles more or less densely strigose with retrorse hairs, also with scattered, longer, white multicellular hairs. Major leaves usually opposite (rarely alternate), ovate to lanceolate or linear, 1.5 to 6 cm long, basally acuminate to attenuate, apically blunt to acute, dentate to bluntly serrate, sparsely to densely pubescent on both surfaces; petioles 5 to 25 mm long; stipules none or very small and glandlike. Cyathia clustered at the tips of stems and branches, subtended by basally-pale decussate leaves; eduncles 1 to 2 mm long, glabrous. Cyathia greenish, campanulate, 1.5 to 2.2(3) mm long, more or less glabrous, rim laciniately toothed; glands 1 to 3 per cyathium (or the central cyathium of a cluster with up to 5), cupped, short-stalked; appendages absent; staminate flowers 25 to 40 per cyathium; pedicel of pistillate flower exserted, reflexed at maturity; ovary wider than long, plumply 3-lobed; styles 3, 1 to 2 mm long, bifid from 1/2 to nearly their full length, branches slender. Capsule shallowly 3-lobed, 2 to 3 mm long, 4 to 5 mm broad, glabrous to sparsely strigose; columella 2.5 mm long, with 3 narrow wings; seeds brown (usually dark), minutely tuberculate, 2.2 to 2.5(3) mm long, plumply ovoid to subglobose except for the flat ventral surface which bears a yellowish, roughly heart-shaped caruncle ca. 0.6 mm long. Abundant throughout TX on various soils; NY to MN and SD, W. to AZ and S. to Mex. Spring-fall, roughly Apr.-Nov. [Poinsettia dentata (Michx.) Kl. & Gke.].

2.E. cyathophoraEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL cyathophora Murray Painted Euphorbia, Wild Poinsettia, Painted Spurge, Painted-leaf, Fire-on-the-Mountain. Herb, in our area annual, from a vertical yellow taproot 2 to 7 mm thick; stem 2 to 5(10) dm tall, main stem 1 to 5 mm thick, glabrous to sparsely pubescent, usually branched, branches commonly decussate below, alternate on the midstem, and pseudodichotomous in the inflorescence, ascending to erect. Leaves opposite to usually alternate on the main stem, blades variable in shape, even on the same plant, linear-lanceolate to ovate or obovate, the larger ones lobed or often panduriform, 5 to 15 cm long, basally acuminate, apically variable, margin serrate to entire, bright green, thin-textured, usually with scattered hairs on the lower surface, some of the upper leaves often with reddish or yellowish basal splotches; petioles slender, 3 to 14(20) mm long, sparsely pubescent; stipules none or very reduced and glandlike. Cyathia clustered at the tips of the stem and branches, subtended by decussate leaves which are basally red-splotched; peduncles 1.5 to 3 mm long, glabrous, expanded just below the cyathia. Cyathia slenderly urceolate-campanulate, 2 to 3 mm long, toothed; gland usually 1, sessile, deeply cupped to shallowly bilabiate; appendages none; staminate flowers 30 to 50 per cyathium; pedicel of pistillate flower long-exserted, reflexed at maturity; ovary plumply 3-lobed, green smooth; styles 3, ca. 1 to 2 mm long, bifid 1/3 to 1/2 their length. Capsule 3 to 4 mm long, 5 to 6(8) mm broad, roundly 3-lobed; columella ca. 2 mm long, with 3 narrow wings; seed not angled, ovoid to subglobose, 2.5 to 3.1 mm long, basally truncate and apically pointed, dark brown with pale tubercles, caruncle minute. Scattered throughout TX, rarer on the Coastal Plain; VA, IN, WI, MN, and SD, S. to FL, TX, and Oax. May-Sept. [Poinsettia cyathophora (Murr.) Kl. & Gke. The name E. heterophylla L., the name of a different species, has often been misapplied to this species.]

This plant is occasionally cultivated for its rather showy bracts.

3.E. spathulataEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL spathulata Lam. Warty Euphorbia. Taprooted annual herb 5 to 50 cm tall; stems 1 to 3(4 to 10) from the base, erect, branches several to many above, alternate, ascending to erect, reaching about the same height as the main stem, branches of the pleiochasium (cymose inflorescence) in a whorl of 3 and repeatedly pseudodichotomously branched above. Leaves of stems and branches alternate, obovate-oblong to spatulate or oblanceolate, 1 to 4.5 cm long, 5 to 10 mm broad, rounded or tapered basally, apically obtuse to emarginate, serrate at least in the distal 1/2, sessile; leaves opposite at the branches of the pleiochasia and in a whorl of 3 beneath each one, shorter and broader than the stem leaves, broadly elliptic to oblong, ovate, or deltoid-ovate, rounded basally and acute apically, generally serrulate near the apex, 3 to 9 mm long; stipules none. Cyathia sessile in the forks of the inflorescence, ca. 1 mm long, narrowly turbinate; glands 4(5) per cyathium, sessile, elliptic, very small, without appendages; staminate flowers 5 to 8(10) per cyathium; pedicel of the pistillate flower not exserted, erect at maturity, ovary and capsule apically warty during all stages of development (observed with most ease in mature specimens); styles 3, ca. 1 mm long, bifid about half their length, erect or spreading, the divisions terete. Capsule 2 to 3 mm long, 3-lobed, with many warts near the apex and on the lobes; seeds reddish or brown, 1.3 to 2 mm long, roundish-ovoid, slightly flattened,with low, sharp, irregular reticulate ridges, caruncle minute, white, roughly heart-shaped. Prairies, roadsides, open woods, waste places, etc. Abundant nearly throughout the state except for the High Plains; MN W. to WA., S. to AL, TX, and Mex. Spring; our collections primarily from Apr. [Includes var. mexicana Engelm; E. obtusata Pursh; E. dictyosperma Fisch. & Mey.; E. arkansana Engelm. & Gray; Galarhoeus arkansanus (Engelm. & Gray) Small; G. missouriensis (Nort.) Rydb.; G. obtusatus (Pursh) Small; synonyms also in Tithymalus].

See NOTE at E. texana, below.

4.E. texanaEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL texana (Millsp. ex Heller)Boiss. Exceedingly similar to E. spathulata above, and distinguished by gynoecia and fruit which are without tubercles at all stages of development. Plants generally only to 20 cm tall. In TX, at least from Fayette to Jasper Cos. [E. spathulata Lam. var. leiococca Engelm; E. leiococca Nort.].

NOTE: According to Mark Mayfield (pers. comm 1995), even when found growing with E. spathulata, there are no intermediate forms.

5.E. tetraporaEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL tetraporaEngelm. Weak Euphorbia. Taprooted annual; stems 1 to 3 from the base, slender, usually simple below the inflorescence. Cauline leaves alternate, spatulate-cuneate, apex retuse to obcordate, ca. 3 mm long and short-petiolate near the base of the stem and increasing in size upwards, the upper ones ca. 1 cm long and about 1/2 as broad, nearly sessile; leaves at the base of the pleiochasium in a whorl of 3, somewhat broader than the stem leaves, spatulate-obovate; leaves of the inflorescence branches opposite, triangular-ovate, apically mucronate, basally subconnate, truncate or cordate, 3 to 6(10) mm long, 5 to 8(14) mm long, stipules absent or quite reduced and glandlike. Pleiochasium 3-rayed, each ray 1 to 8 cm long, usually several times dichotomous; cyathia solitary in the upper forks, ca. 1 mm long and as broad, the rim with 4 short-ciliate lobes; glands 4, ca. 1 mm long and 0.5 mm broad, short-stipitate, oblong, each end with a slender erect or divergent horn ca. 1 mm long; petaloid appendages none; staminate flowers 10 to 15 per cyathium; pedicel of pistillate flower long-exserted; styles 3, 0.5 to 1 mm long, briefly bifid apically, branches capitellate. Capsule roundly 3-lobed, subglobose, ca. 2.5 mm broad; seeds reddish brown or with a whitish coating, oblong, slightly flattened dorsiventrally, 1.3 to 1.4 mm long, 0.8 to 0.9 mm broad, 0.7 mm thick, the ventral surface (both facets taken together) with (2)4(6) pits arranged in neat vertical rows (rarely these merged into irregular grooves), dorsal surface with ca. 15 to 20 shallow pits or else nearly smooth, caruncle yellow, somewhat flaring, with a central dome-like umbo. Sandy soils of roadsides, etc. Local in E. and N. Cen. TX, rarer W. in the Llano region of the Ed. Plat.; OK, TX, and AR to LA, AL. and GA. Spring, our collections Mar.-Apr. [Tithymalus tetraporus (Engelm.) Small].

6.E. longicrurisEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL longicruris Scheele Wedge-leaf Euphorbia. Taprooted annual; stem usually 1, unbranched below the inflorescence, 5 to 20(25) cm tall. Cauline leaves alternate, cuneate-spatulate below, passing to obovate upwards, 5 to 15 mm long, 2 to 6 mm broad, entire, apically mucronate, retuse, or obtuse, tapered to the base, only the lowermost petiolate, stipules absent or reduced and gland-like; leaves in a whorl of 3 below the pleiochasium; leaves of the dichotomous inflorescence branches closely spaced, opposite, reniform or suborbicular, 4 to 8 mm long, 7 to 13 mm broad, bases oblique and very slightly connate. Cyathia solitary in the forks of the inflorescence, 1.5 to 2 mm long, 1 to 1.5 mm broad, the lobes of the rim oblong, minutely ciliate; glands 4, crescent-shaped, each end with an erect horn about twice as long as the body of the gland is wide; petaloid appendages none; staminate flowers (5)10 to 15 per cyathium; pistillate flower with 3 styles ca. 0.5 mm long and bifid. Capsule plumply 3-lobed, ovoid-globose, 2.5 mm long, 2.5 to 3 mm broad; seeds oblong, slightly dorsiventrally flattened, ca. 1.5 mm long and 1 mm broad and thick, surface with numerous small pits not arranged anywhere in regular rows, their diameter less than half the width of the spaces between them, seed coat whitish, caruncle smallish, depressed-conical, with a central umbo. Local and infrequent in calcareous soils; Ed. Plat, N. Cen. TX, and E. part of Plains Country; also OK, and N.L. in Mex. Known from our area at least from calcareous sandstone in Grimes Co. Spring, our collection from March. [Tithymalus longicruris (Scheele) Small.]

Our plants represent a rather large eastern disjunct from the normal range (W. of Austin). In Grimes Co., it grows in association with other plants typical of the Edwards Plateau.

7.E. bicolorEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL bicolor Engelm. & Gray Snow-on-the-Prairie. Taprooted annual herb; stem simple below the inflorescence, 2 to 5 mm thick, 3 to 10 dm tall, glabrate below and villous above. Stem leaves alternate, sessile, narrowly- oblong,-elliptical, -oblanceolate, or -lanceolate, ca. 2.5 to 5 cm long, to ca. 1.5 cm broad, apically acute to obtuse, apiculate, basally acute to rounded, sometimes appearing nearly clasping, thinly villous on both surfaces, margins entire, only rarely white; stipules absent or reduced and glandlike; leaves at the base of the pleiochasium in a whorl of 3, similar to the stem leaves, but usually relatively narrower and longer, occasionally white-margined; main branches of the inflorescence 3, spreading, dichotomously branched, internodes to several cm. long, leaves of the branches opposite, linear to very narrowly oblanceolate, ca. 5 or more times longer than wide, (2)3 to 6 cm long, (2)3 to 4(5) mm broad, tapered to the base, acute to obtuse, apiculate, usually white-margined or nearly wholly white and with only a narrow median portion green, villous on both surfaces. Peduncles slender, to ca. 15 mm long; cyathia at the nodes of the inflorescence, campanulate-turbinate, to ca. 5 mm long, densely villous, green; glands 5, oblong, ca. 1 mm long, shallowly cupped, yellowish; appendages petaloid, white, more or less reniform to oblong, 2 to 3 mm long and to ca. 4 mm broad, minutely pubescent, apex sometimes with a shallow notch or indentation, margin minutely erose; staminate flowers ca. 35 per cyathium, sometimes some apparently wholly staminate cyathia produced; pistillate pedicel exserted, reflexed in age; ovary densely villous, plumply 3-lobed, styles 3. Capsule green and densely white pubescent or villous, depressed-globose, to ca. 8 mm broad and 6 mm long, columella well-developed; seeds globose-ovoid, to ca. 4.5 mm long, 4 mm broad, pale yellow-tan to light or dark gray, sometimes mottled, smooth or with faint longitudinal ridges and/or some low, irregular tubercles or shorter ridges, caruncle very small or absent (?). Roadsides, prairies, pastures, etc., usually in tight clay soils, not widespread, but abundant where found. SE. TX, on the Coastal Plain, rare in E. and N. Cen. TX, W. to ca. Travis and Bell Cos.; also OK. Summer-fall; our collections mostly Aug.-Nov.

This species is one whose highly caustic sap can cause severe dermatitis or conjunctivitis in sensitive persons. It is very similar to E. marginata, Snow-on-the-Mountain, which has broader leaves and bracts (ca. 2 to 4 times longer than wide) and less pubescent capsules. That species is more or less the western counterpart of E. bicolor and is often cultivated for its showy bracts. Our species, too, has some ornamental potential.

8.E. hexagonaEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL hexagona Nutt. ex Spreng. Six-angled Euphorbia, Green Spurge. Taprooted annual herb; stem usually single from the base, (2)4 to 10 dm tall, with decussate, pseudodichotomous ascending branches, stem and branches minutely strigillose. Leaves opposite, linear to narrowly- oblong,-lanceolate, or -elliptic, acute at both ends (10)15 to 50(70) mm long, 1 to 3 mm broad, entire, sparsely and minutely strigillose; petioles slender, 1 to 3 mm long, strigillose; stipules none or minute and gland-like. Cyathia solitary in the upper forks, 1.5 to 2 mm long, campanulate, strigillose; peduncles ca. 1 mm long; glands 5, transversely elliptic, ca. 0.2 mm long and 0.6 mm wide, deeply cupped, olivaceous; appendages white to green, deltoid, ca. twice as long as the width of the gland; staminate flowers 20 to 40 per cyathium; pedicel of pistillate flower long-exserted; ovary subglobose, styles 3, 0.5 to 1 mm long, bifid to about the middle, branches subclavate. Capsule 3 to 5 mm long, shallowly 3-lobed; seeds 2.5 to 3.3 mm long, ovoid to oblong, not angular, papillose, tuberculate, or roughened, not pitted, whitish to brown or black. Loose sandy soil of roadsides, open woods, etc. N. Cen. TX and Plains Country; in our area at least from sandy areas of Leon Co. around Normangee (perhaps more widespread and merely undercollected); MN and ND to WY, CO, and IA, S. to TX and NM. Late summer, our few collections from Sept.-Oct. [Zygophyllidium hexagonum (Nutt.) Small].

9.E. corollataEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL corollata L. Flowering Spurge, Blooming Spurge, White Pursley, Tramp's Spurge, Milkweed. Perennial herb from a deep, dark-barked root; stems (1)2 to 10 dm tall, 1 or few from base, erect or ascending, simple or with a few alternate branches below the inflorescence, branches of inflorescence umbellate, paniculate, or pseudo-dichotomous or -trichotomous; stems and branches glabrous to puberulent or variously pubescent. Cauline leaves alternate, (many or all often absent at flowering time), those of the midstem elliptic, oblong, or less commonly linear, (1)2 to 4(6) cm long, rounded or less often acute apically, base tapered or rounded, sessile or with a very short petiole, minutely appressed-pubescent, margin entire, stipules minute and glandlike; opposite leaves or inflorescence much smaller, subsessile. Inflorescence a corymbiform or paniculiform cyme. Cyathia on slender peduncles (1)2 to 30 mm long, campanulate, 1.5 to 3 mm long; glands 5, transversely linear, 0.6 mm broad, 0.2 mm long, deeply cupped; appendages white, often showy, 1.5 to 4.5 mm long, subreniform or orbicular to linear-oblong-apically rounded; staminate flowers ca. 10 to 15 per cyathium; pistillate flower with 3 styles ca. 0.7 mm long, bifid about half their length, branches clavellate. Capsule 2.5 to 4 mm long, plumply 3-lobed; seeds 2.3 to 2.5 mm long, ovoid, white, smooth. Sandy soils (also in calcareous soils and clays) of roadsides, wood edges, clearings, etc. Frequent in E., SE., and N. Cen. TX, rarer W. to E. edge of Ed. Plat.; S. Ont. and NY W. to NE, S. to FL and TX. May-Nov. [Includes var. angustifolia Ell. and var. mollis Millsp.; E. paniculata L.; E. ziniifolia Small; Tithymalopsis corollata (L.) Small; Agaloma corollata (L.) Raf.; A. angustifolia (Ell.) Raf.].

The Plains Indians used this plant in medicines as a laxative, as a treatment for rheumatism, and in vermifuge preparations. It was used in Anglo-American folk remedies as an emetic (Kindscher 1992.).

10.E. serpensEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL serpens Kunth in H.B.K.(=Chamaesyce serpens (Kunth) Small) Mat Euphorbia, Hierba de la Golondrina, Round-leaved Spurge. Taprooted annual herb (perhaps overwintering?); stems prostrate, (4)15 to 60 cm long, often rooted at the lower nodes, well branched, the distal branches sometimes pseudodichotomous, herbage glabrous. Leaves opposite, oblong to orbicular or ovate-orbicular, 2 to 8 mm long, apically rounded, basally rounded and more or less oblique, entire; petiole ca. 0.5 to 1 mm long; stipules on both sides of the stem united in to a glabrous pinkish or whitish scale 0.2 to 1.3 mm long, entire to erose or lacerate. Cyathia solitary at the nodes and forks of the branches, greenish, urceolate-turbinate, ca. 0.7 mm long, the rim with minute deltoid-acuminate lobes between the glands; glands 4, ca. 0.1 mm long, oblong, short-stalked, cupped, sometimes reddish; petaloid appendages white to pinkish, about as long as the gland is wide, margin erose or crenate, occasionally appendages obsolete; staminate flowers 3 to 8(12) per cyathium; pedicel of pistillate flower long exserted, reflexed in age; styles 3, ca. 0.5 mm long, bifid about half their length or only briefly notched. Capsule triangular, ovoid-oblong, 1 to 1.5 mm long; columella ca. 1 mm long; seeds 4-angled (sometimes roundly so), narrowly oblong or ovoid-oblong, 0.7 to 1 mm long, apically acute, ventral facets slightly concave, surface smooth, brownish with a whitish coat, caruncle none. Roadsides, cultivated fields, etc., preferring calcareous soils. Essentially throughout the state, but less common in the W. half; Ont. to TN and FL, W. to MT, AZ, and NM; widespread in tropical and temperate America. Mar.-Nov..

11.E. prostrataEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL prostrata Ait. (Chamaesyce prostrata (Ait.) Small ) Prostrate Euphorbia. Taprooted annual herb; stems 1 to many, prostrate (or occasionally briefly ascending and then falling over), 4 to 40 cm long, 0.3 to 1.5 mm thick, well-branched, only rarely pseudodichotomous, short-villous with crisped hairs or glabrate below. Leaves opposite, oblong to ovate-oblong, ca. 1.3 to 3 times longer than broad, 3 to 15 mm long, apically rounded, base rounded and oblique, margin serrulate, especially near the apex (use a lens), short-villous beneath, glabrate above; petioles 0.5 to 1 mm long; stipules mostly distinct on the upper side of the stem and united or approximate on the lower side, 0.3 to 1 mm long, slenderly deltoid, subulate, yellow to purplish, the margins white-strigose. Cyathia solitary at the upper nodes or generally on short lateral branches, 0.4 to 0.7 mm long, turbinate, sparsely villous; glands 4, suborbicular, 0.05 to 0.15(0.3) mm long, maroon, cupped; petaloid appendages white to pink, shorter than the glands are wide, margins erose; staminate flowers (2)4(5) per cyathium; pedicel of pistillate flower exserted, reflexed in age; styles 3, 0.1 mm long, bifid to the base or almost so. Capsule triangular-ovoid, 1.1 to 1.3(1.5) mm long, yellowish or greenish, crisply villous or strigose on the angles, the sides more or less glabrous; seeds pinkish-brown with a white coat, 0.9 to 1 mm long, oblong, apically acute, sharply quadrangular, each face with 5 to 7 low, sharp (or sometimes appearing square-topped) ridges, caruncle none. Common as a weed in disturbed areas, fields, cultivated areas, roadsides, etc. Frequent in most of TX but infrequent in the far W.; widespread at lower elevations in N. Am., including the W.I.; in the U.S. N. to SD and MO; introduced elsewhere. May-Sept.

For years and in many sources, this plant has been listed as E. chamaesyce L., a name which properly belongs to an Old World plant.

12.E. maculataEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL maculata L. (Chamaesyce maculata (L.) Small) Spotted Spurge, Spotted Euphorbia. Taprooted annual; stems several from the base of the plant, usually prostrate or decumbent, 10 to 45 cm long, shaggy-villous, sometimes glabrate below or more dense on young stems. Leaves opposite, often with a central reddish or purplish splotch, oblong,-elliptic or -ovate to linear-oblong, sometimes curved or somewhat falcate, 4 to 17 mm long, apex obtuse to acute, base rounded to truncate, quite oblique, margin serrulate to subentire, lower surface more or less sparsely villous, less densely pubescent to glabrate above; petioles 1 to 1.5 mm long; stipules deltoid, acuminate, 1 to 1.5 mm long, usually divided into 2 or 3 parts, villous. Cyathia solitary at the distal nodes, but appearing clustered by shortening of the internodes, turbinate, ca. 0.8 to 1 mm long, villous; glands 4, oblong, unequal, two 0.4 to 0.6 mm long, the other two 0.2 to 0.3 mm long; petaloid appendages white to reddish, short, 0.2 to 1.4 mm long, crenate; staminate flowers 2 to 5 per cyathium; pedicel of pistillate flower exserted, often reflexed in age; styles 3, 0.3 to 0.4 mm long, bifid only 1/4 their length, the divisions clavellate. Capsule ca. 1.4 mm long, ovoid-triangular, usually more or less densely strigose; columella ca. 1.2 mm long, slender; seeds pale brown with a white coat, ca. 1 mm long, oblong-quadrangular, the faces with rounded, low, subregular transverse ridges which often slightly involve the angles, caruncle none. Common on a wide variety of soils (more common on disturbed sandy soils) of roadsides, cultivated areas, etc.; widespread E. of the Trans Pecos, rare in the higher elevations in Plains Country and Ed. Plat.; throughout the E. U.S., W. to ND and S. to TX; introduced in CA, OR, and Eur. Summer-fall, our collections Jun.-Oct. [E. supina Raf.; Chamaesyce supina (Raf.) Raf.; for years confused with E. nutans--many misidentified sheets exist.]

13.E. missuricaEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL missurica Raf. (Chamaesyce missurica (Raf.) Shinners) Missouri Spurge, Prairie Spurge. Taprooted annual herb; stems erect to ascending or arcuate-ascending, 1 to several from the base, 7 to 10 dm tall, 0.5 to 4(6) mm thick, well-branched; herbage glabrous. Leaves opposite, linear to oblong, those of the midstem 1 to 3 cm long, 1 to 5 mm broad, apex rounded to truncate or emarginate (occasionally acute and often mucronate), base tapered to rounded, slightly oblique, margin entire, blades commonly revolute or folded along the midrib; petioles 1 to 2(3.2) mm long, slender; stipules free or partially united, 1 to 1.5 mm long, linear to triangular-subulate, entire or divided into up to 5 whitish to purplish linear or subulate lobes, each with a distinct yellow abscission zone basally. Cyathia solitary at the upper nodes or seemingly cymose due to shortened distal internodes, narrowly to broadly campanulate, 1.2 to 2 mm long; glands 4, orbicular to elliptic, 0.2 to 0.4 mm broad, folded or cupped; petaloid appendages white to pink, 1.5 to 4 times longer than the gland is wide, 0.5 to 2.5 mm long, subacute to rounded, sometimes emarginate, spreading, often reflexed or arched, sometimes appearing to be all on one side of the cyathium; staminate flowers 24 to 53 per cyathium; pedicel of pistillate flowers exserted, generally reflexed in age; styles 3, 0.7 to 1.5 mm long, bifid 1/2 to 3/4 their length, the divisions widely spreading, whitish. Capsule globose-ovoid, triangular in cross-section or more deeply lobed, 2 to 2.5 mm long; columella 1.9 to 2.1 mm long; seeds ovoid to ovoid-triangular, 1.5 to 2.2 mm long, 1.2 to 1.4 mm broad, angles (if present) rounded, surface smooth to slightly roughened-granular or with small low wrinkles, coat brownish-white; caruncle absent. Various habitats and soils, including sandy, rocky areas, roadsides, outcrops, prairies, etc. Common and widely distributed E. of the Trans Pecos, though rare in far E. TX; MN to MT, S. to NM and TX. June-Nov. [Includes var. intermedia Wheeler and var. calcicola (Shinners) Waterf.].

14.E. hypericifoliaEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL hypericifolia L. (Chamaesyce hypericifolia (L.) Millsp.) Tropical Euphorbia. Taprooted annual herb 1 to 5 dm tall; stem usually single at the base, erect, soon branched, the branches erect or ascending, pseudodichotomous distally; herbage glabrous. Leaves opposite, blades varying from oblong-lanceolate to oblong, oblong-spatulate, or lanceolate, 10 to 35 mm long, apex rounded or sometimes acute, base obtuse to rounded, quite oblique, margin serrate, especially near the apex and base; petioles 1 to 1.5 mm long; stipules free or united, triangular, membranous, 1 to 2 mm long, sometimes the inner edges ciliate. Inflorescences dense lateral and terminal glomerules 5 to 10 mm across, peduncles of clusters nearly leafless or with very small leaves; peduncles of individual cyathia 0.4 to 2(4) mm long. Cyathia obconical, 0.4 to 0.9 mm broad; glands 5, suborbicular, 0.05 to 0.2 mm broad; petaloid appendages white to bright pink or purplish, suborbicular, usually about three times as long as the width of the larger glands, developing tardily and sometimes appearing absent on the younger cyathia; staminate flowers 2 to 20 per cyathium; pedicel of pistillate flower exserted, reflexed in age; styles 3, ca. 0.4 mm long, bifid about half their length. Capsule triangular ovoid with rounded edges, ca. 1.3 mm long; columella ca. 1.1 mm long; seed ovoid, 0.9 to 1 mm long, 0.5 mm broad, with very low smooth ridges separated by shallow, irregular depressions, reddish or brownish with a whitish coat. In our area mostly as a weed, common in flower beds and other cultivated areas. Once abundant only in far S. TX, now more or less widespread as a horticultural weed at least as far N. as Dallas; Venez. and Col. N. to FL, GA, and TX. Spring-fall. [C. glomifera Millsp.; E. glomifera (Millsp.) Wheeler].

15.E. nutansEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL nutans Lag. (Chamaesyce nutans (Lag.) Small ) Eyebane. Taprooted annual herb 3 to 8(10) dm tall; stem usually single from the base, 2-5 mm in width, erect, soon branched, the branches erect or ascending, pseudodichotomous distally, stems and branches glabrous or the distal internodes often with crisped white pubescence on 1 or 2 sides. Leaves opposite, often folding in the late afternoon, blades oblong-lanceolate to oblong, often curved or falcate, commonly with a central reddish-purple splotch, 8 to 40 mm long, apex rounded or acute, base rounded to truncate and decidedly inequilateral, margin serrate, upper surface usually glabrous, lower surface commonly pilose at least at the base, even if only with a few long hairs; petiole 1 to 2 mm long or some leaves subsessile; stipules united at each node or the distal ones distinct, triangular to subulate, 0.5 to 1.5 mm long, ciliate or lacerate. Cyathia solitary in the forks of the branches or in cymose clusters, these usually leafy and not dense (in contrast to those of E. hypericifolia, above). Cyathia 0.5 to 1.1 mm long, turbinate or obconical, sometimes reddish; glands 4(5), circular to elliptic, 0.1 to 0.5 mm broad; petaloid appendages white, from nearly obsolete to somewhat longer than the gland is wide, entire or irregularly lobed; staminate flowers 5 to 11(28) per cyathium; pedicel of pistillate flower exserted, styles 3, 0.6 to 1 mm long, bifid about half their length, yellowish. Capsule triangular ovoid, green, 1.6 to 2.3 mm long; columella 1.8 to 2 mm long; seeds ovoid, 1.1 to 1.6 mm long, 0.9 to 1.1 mm thick, whitish to dark brown, with about 5 to 9 fine, irregular wrinkles or rippled, caruncle absent. Prairies, cultivated areas, waste places, etc., often weedy and preferring moist locations. Abundant nearly throughout the state, except local in the Plains Country and Trans Pecos; widespread in warmer parts of the world. In the U.S. from NH and NY to ND, S. to FL, TX, and NM. May-Nov. [Euphorbia preslii Guss.].

For many years the name E. maculata was erroneously applied to this species, and it was published as such in multiple places (e.g. Steyermark 1963). It has also been listed under Chamaesyce hyssopifolia (L.) Small, but E. hyssopifolia is a different species.

This plant is reported to be poisonous, especially to livestock (GPFA 1986).

geyeri) Geyer Euphorbia, Geyer's Spurge. Taprooted annual; stems 6 to 25 per plant, prostrate, 5 to 45 cm long, 0.4 to 1.4 mm thick; herbage glabrous. Leaves opposite, oblong to ovate-oblong or elliptic-oblong, 4 to 12 mm long and ca. 1/2 as wide, apex obtuse or emarginate, sometimes mucronate, base obtuse or rounded, oblique, margins entire; petioles 1 to 2 mm long; stipules free or those on the lower side of the stem sometimes united, 1 to 1.5 mm long, with (2)3(5) filiform segments. Cyathia solitary in the upper forks or apparently clustered due to shortened distal internodes, turbinate to broadly campanulate, 0.9 to 1.5 mm long; glands 4, often reddish, broadly oval to suborbicular, 0.2 to 0.4(1.6) mm long; petaloid appendages white to reddish, from 1/2 to 2 times longer than the glands are wide, entire to erose; staminate flowers 5 to 15(27) per cyathium, filaments and anthers pale, whitish to pale yellowish; pedicel of pistillate flower exserted, reflexed in age; styles 3, 0.2 to 0.3(0.5) mm long, usually erect and more or less rigid, bifid 1/3 to 1/2 their length, the divisions terete to subclavate. Capsule ovoid-triangular, 1.5 to 2 mm long and to 2.5 mm broad, angles sharp to narrowly rounded; columella 1.7 to 1.8 mm long; seeds plumply ovoid, acute, 1.3 to 1.4(1.6) mm long, 1 mm broad, light reddish-brown to nearly white, surface smooth, caruncle none. Sandy soils of Plains Country, S. and W. to Ward, Winkler, and Crane Cos., rarely E. to N. Cen. TX. Known from deep sandy soil in Milam Co. near Gause (which represents a bit of a range extension) and so possibly present in the neighboring W. portion of our area. WI, MN, IA, ND, and MT, S. to TX and NM. Late spring or summer-fall; the Milam Co. collection from Oct.

This plant is very similar to and perhaps best treated as an inland race of the coastal E. ammanioides H.B.K. (a name which might have priority should the two species be merged). According to some, however, the correct name for E. ammanioides (and thus a composite species) is E. bombensis Jacq.

17.E. cordifoliaEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL cordifoliaEll.(Chamaesyce cordifolia (Ell.) Small ) Heart-leaf Euphorbia. Taprooted annual; stems several to many, prostrate, (4)5 to 60 cm long; herbage glabrous. Leaves opposite, elliptic-oblong or -ovate to oblong or ovate-oblong, 3 to 12 mm long and about 1/2 as wide, apex essentially rounded, sometimes slightly mucronate, base oblique and commonly more or less cordate, margin entire; petioles ca. 1 mm long; stipules free or the ventral ones often united, divided to the base into few to several filiform segments to 1.4 mm long, commonly with scattered short hairs at least when young. Peduncles of cyathia 0.4 to 4 mm long, cyathia solitary at the nodes and branch tips, commonly appearing congested because of shortened internodes, broadly campanulate, 1.3 to 1.6 mm broad; glands 4, elliptic to oblong, 0.5 to 0.9 mm long, transversely oriented, commonly folded; petaloid appendages ca. 1 to 3 times as long as the gland is high, to 1.3 mm long, the broader ones elliptic to reniform, entire or with 2 or 3 shallow, blunt teeth; staminate flowers 29 to 44 per cyathium; pedicel of pistillate flowers exserted, reflexed in age; styles 3, 0.6 to 0.9 mm long, bifid to the base. Capsule more or less ovoid, broadest below the middle, sharply triangular in cross-section, 1.5 to 2.1 mm long; seeds 1.2 to 1.5 mm long, 0.7 to 0.9 mm broad and thick, ovoid-triangular, usually acute, the faces lightly concave to slightly convex, with low, faint wrinkles, the angles blunt, light gray to brown, with a whitish, microreticulate coat. Common in sandy soil of openings of wooded areas, roadsides, etc.; in our area often in the fine deep sands of Leon and Robertson Cos.; E. and SE. TX, SW. in sand to Atascosa Co., S. in sand to the coast; NC to GA and FL, W. to MS, AL, and TX. Summer-fall, ours June-Oct.

18.E. fendleriEUPHORBIACEAE EUPHORBIAL fendleri T. & G. (Chamaesyce fendleri (T. & G.) Small) Fendler's Euphorbia. Perennial from a thickened, woody taproot or caudex; stems usually many, annual, their lower portions usually buried, prostrate to decumbent to erect, to ca. 15 cm long or tall, branched, often pseudodichotomously so; herbage glabrous. Leaves opposite, 2 to 6 mm long, ca. 1 to 2 times longer than broad, ovate, rather firm and sometimes glaucous (occasionally reticulate-veiny), apex acute or bluntly so, base truncate to slightly rounded or subcordate, margins entire; petioles 0.5 to 2 mm long; stipules distinct (as at the distal nodes) to approximate or sometimes united, linear-subulate, 0.5 to 1 mm long, margin occasionally lacerate near the tip. Cyathia solitary at the nodes or in the forks, turbinate to campanulate, 1 to 2 mm long; glands 4, purplish-green to reddish-brown, sessile, oblong, 0.4 to 1 mm long, more or less cupped; petaloid appendages absent or present and obtuse, shorter than the gland is wide; staminate flowers 15 to 22 per cyathium, anthers pale yellow or whitish; pistillate flowers with 3 styles 0.3 to 0.7 mm long, bifid at least half their length, the divisions terete, sometimes clavellate. Capsule 1.9 to 2.1 mm long, ovoid-triangular, sometimes plumply so; seeds 1.4 to 1.8 mm long, oblong-quadrangular (occasionally nearly triangular), the angles obtuse to rounded, apically acute, smooth or with a few low irregular wrinkles, pale pinkish-brown to yellow-tan, with a white coat, caruncle none. Common in sandy soils or sandy clay in the W. half of TX, E. to N. Cen. TX and on caliche in the Rio Grand Plains; OK and KS to WY and UT, S. to TX. Specimens from Burleson Co. have been identified as this species--this represents a range disjunction. Apr.-Sept. [C. greenei (Millsp.) Rydb.].


Perennial herbs with stems from a woody crown, sap milky. Herbage glabrous. Leaves alternate, ascending, glandular-serrulate or -crenulate, nearly sessile; stipules reduced and glandlike. Flowers unisexual, in compact, spike-like panicles with pistillate flowers below and staminate flowers above, each flower subtended by a bract and 2 larger gland-like stipules. Staminate flowers short-pediceled, solitary or clustered, calyx cup-like and obscurely 2-lobed; corolla and disk absent; stamens 2. Pistillate flowers with a 3-lobed calyx; corolla and disk absent; gynoecium subglobose, 3-celled, 3-ovulate, lower portion (gynobase) becoming indurate and persistent; styles 3, simple. Capsule shallowly 3-lobed, the upper portion separating from the gynobase and dehiscing loculicidally and septicidally; columella fragile and readily breaking off. Seeds with a prominent caruncle.

About 30 species of tropical and warm America, Malaysia, Madagascar, and Fiji; 3 in TX; 1 here.

1. S. sylvatica L. Queen's Delight. Stems 3 to 6(8) dm tall. Leaves variable in shape, narrowly elliptic to lanceolate or oblanceolate, (3)4 to 7(10) times longer than broad, (2)3.5 to 7(12) cm long, apex and base acute, margin serrulate or crenulate, with a small, deciduous gland in each notch (less often the glands on the margin); petiole 1 to 7 mm long; stipules reduced and glandlike. Staminate flowers in many-flowered, bracted cymules on the upper portion of the inflorescence, calyx cup-like, 1 to 2 mm long, obscurely and unevenly 2-lobed; stamens 2. Pistillate flowers: calyx deeply 3-lobed, lobes 0.7 to 2 mm long, with 1 lobe oriented toward the inflorescence axis and the other 2 facing away; styles 4 to 5 mm long. Capsule broadly oblong, plumply and distinctly 3-lobed, ca. 12 mm long, green, very hard, the indurate gynobase triangular, thick and horny or woody, with 3 lobes ca. 6 mm long; columella ca. 8 mm long, triangular, stout but brittle and usually soon lost, leaving a short triangular peg on the gynobase; seeds 3, ovate-oblong, ca. 8 mm long excluding the caruncle, light gray-brown, smooth (or faintly wrinkled); caruncle subreniform, ca. 4 to 5 mm broad and 2 to 2.5 mm tall, pointed, whitish to light tan. Usually in loose sandy soil in open areas. Frequent in most of the state E. of the Trans Pecos; VA to FL, W. to TX, KS, and NM. Spring-early summer, our specimens in flower mostly from Apr. [S. salicifolia (Torr.) Rydb.].

Mabberley (1987) states that the "rhizomes" are used medicinally, but does not give specific uses.


Ours annual or perennial herbs (elsewhere also shrubs and trees), branches persistent or deciduous, if deciduous the leaves on the main axes reduced to scales. Leaves spirally arranged or distichous, simple, entire, short-petiolate; stipules persistent or deciduous. Plants monoecious or dioecious, flowers usually axillary, solitary or in cymules. Sepals in ours 5 or 6, united at least partially. Corolla none. Disk usually present. Staminate flowers: disk usually dissected or lobed; stamens 2 to 6, free or united, pollen quite variable across the genus. Pistillate flowers: sessile or pedicellate, carpels in our species 3; styles free or united, variously bifid and/or dilated. Fruit a 3-locular capsule, ours elastically dehiscent. Seeds 2 per locule, in our species shaped like an orange segment, seed coat dry, variously ornamented, embryo straight to curved, endosperm abundant.

At least 750 species, the majority tropical, a few temperate; 7 species recorded from TX (1 introduced); 4 known from our area. This treatment owes much to the work of Webster (1970).

A few species (not ours) have medicinal properties, edible fruit, or ornamental value (Mabberley 1987).

1. Plants perennial; leaves spirally arranged on all axes ...1.P.polygonoides

1. Plants annual; leaves distichous (2-ranked) at least on the ultimate branchlets ...................2

2(1) Main axes with all leaves reduced to scales; leaves and flowers borne on specialized deciduous branchlets; seed coat longitudinally striate; stipules not basally auriculate ...........


var. abnormis

2. Main axes with leaves and flowers; branchlets not deciduous; seed coat verruculose (with tiny warts); stipules basally auriculate or clasping ...................................................................3

3(2) Seeds 0.7 to 1 mm long; capsules (1.4)1.6 to 2 mm broad; stems generally terete ..............


var. caroliniensis

3. Seeds 1.3 to 1.5 mm long; capsules 2.8 to 3.2 mm broad; stems distally flattened and with distinct narrow wings ...4.P.pudens

1.P. polygonoidesEUPHORBIACEAE PHYLLANTHUS polygonoides Nutt. ex Spreng. Knotweed Leaf-flower. Perennial herb from a woody root, sometimes becoming somewhat suffruticose; stems 1 to 5 dm tall, branches ascending, slender, and wiry; herbage glabrous. Leaves spirally arranged, not distichous, not manifestly imbricate on well-expanded axes, slenderly oblong to obovate, apically acute to mucronulate, basally obtusish, 5 to 10 mm long, 1.5 to 5 mm broad, smooth to minutely scabridulous, undersurfaces glaucous, the lateral veins sometimes visible; stipules (0.5)1 to 2 mm long, basally auriculate, acute to acuminate, entire to denticulate, reddish or pinkish with a hyaline margin, darkening with age. Plants generally monoecious but unisexual plants not uncommon, flowers borne on all axes in axillary cymules; on monoecious plants usually with 1(2) pistillate flowers and/or several male flowers. Staminate flowers: pedicel 1.5 to 3.5 mm long; sepals (5)6, oblong to obovate, 0.7 to 1.3 mm long, obtuse to acute, greenish-yellow or sometimes with a red tinge, with 1 prominent vein; disk dissected in to 6 orbicular to cuneate segments 0.2 to 0.3 mm broad; stamens 3, filaments 0.6 to 0.8 mm long, connate into a column 0.4 to 0.5 mm tall, anthers ca. 0.3 mm long, vertically dehiscent. Pistillate flowers: pedicel ultimately 2.5 to 7 mm long, smooth or minutely scabridulous; sepals (5)6, ovate to obovate, acute, in fruit 1.5 to 2.5 mm long, green, pinnately veined; disk dissected into 6 flat, obcuneate segments ca. 0.2 to 0.3 mm broad; ovary smooth to scabridulous, styles ascending or spreading, 0.25 to 0.3 mm long, bifid, the branches subcapitate, 0.1 to 0.15 mm long. Capsule depressed-globose, 2.7 to 3.2 mm in diameter, seeds (1.1)1.2 to 1.4(1.5) mm long, mostly dark brown, irregularly verruculose. Usually on rocky calcareous soils, often of outcrops or limey prairies; also on granites and sands. Cen., S., and W. TX; MO and AR to OK, TX, LA and Mex.; also NM. Mid.-Mar.-Oct.; flowering all year in the Rio Grande Plains.

2.P. abnormisEUPHORBIACEAE PHYLLANTHUS abnormis Baill. var. abnormis Drummond Leaf-flower. Annual herb 1 to 5 dm tall; stem erect or somewhat procumbent, smooth and glabrous to densely scabridulous, occasionally a little woody at the base; main axes without flowers and the leaves represented only by scales; leaves and flowers borne on spirally arranged specialized deciduous branchlets (cataphylls). Cataphylls 3 to 6(17) cm long, subterete, smooth to scabridulous, each with 15 to 30 leaves; leaves on cataphylls distichous, elliptic to oblong, apically obtuse to emarginate, basally cuneate to subcordate, ca. 3 to 10 mm long, 1 to 4 mm broad, usually smooth, lateral veins inconspicuous; stipules 0.6 to 1.5 mm long, ovate to linear-lanceolate, acute to acuminate, base not auriculate, usually red-tinged. Plants monoecious, the proximate cymules of each branchlet each with a pair of staminate flowers; distal cymules with 1 male and 1 female flower. Staminate flowers: pedicel 0.7 to 1.5 mm long; sepals 4 (sometimes 5 or 6 in the larger flowers of the first few axils), ovate to elliptic, acute to obtuse, entire, 0.5 to 1.0 mm long, yellowish or reddish-tinged, with 1 major vein; disk divided into 4(5,6) roundish parts ca. 0.2 mm long; stamens 2 (3 in larger flowers of the first few axils), filaments wholly united into a column 0.2 to 0.3 mm tall, anthers connivent, ca. 0.3 mm across, dehiscent horizontally. Pistillate flowers: pedicel more or less straight, ultimately (1)1.5 to 3(3.5) mm long, smooth to scabridulous; sepals 5 to 6, ovate or elliptic to obovate, often unequal, (0.5)0.7 to 1.2 mm long, apically rounded to obtuse, with 1 prominent vein, herbaceous, margins broad and pale; disk with 3 unequal segments as long as or longer than broad, (1.2)1.3 to 1.5 mm long, the larger sometimes bifid or divided; ovary smooth, styles free, ca. 0.2 mm long, spreading or ascending, bifid about 1/2 the length, branches slender. Capsule often reddish or sometimes glaucous, depressed-globose, not markedly veiny, 2.3 to 2.7 mm in diameter; seeds brownish, (1.2)1.3 to 1.5 mm long, with fine longitudinal ribs. Sandy soils. W. TX to E. Cen. TX; also N. Mex. and a disjunct population in peninsular FL. Apr.-Oct. or Nov. in TX.

A second variety, var. riograndensis Webster, is confined to the lower Rio Grande Valley.

3.P. caroliniensisEUPHORBIACEAE PHYLLANTHUS caroliniensis Walt. subsp. caroliniensis Carolina Leaf-flower. Ours an annual (elsewhere short-lived perennial) herb, 1 to 3 dm tall; stems erect, terete to somewhat flattened but not winged, usually with 5 or more main lateral branches, axes smooth to furrowed; herbage glabrous. Main axis with leaves and flowers, leaves distichous, blades elliptic or oblanceolate to obovate, apically obtuse or rounded and apiculate, basally acute, ca. 6 to 20(30) mm long, 4 to 10(15) mm broad, entire, surfaces smooth, usually finely reticulate below; stipules acute to acuminate, basally auriculate, 0.7 to 2 mm long, nearly entire to dentate, pale brown or slightly reddish. Plants monoecious, cymules with 1 male and (1)2 or 3(4 or 5) female flowers. Staminate flowers: pedicels 0.5 to 1 mm long; sepals (5)6 oblong to ovate or suborbicular, 0.5 to 0.7 mm long, apically rounded or obtuse, with prominent veins, pale yellow; disk divided into 6 elliptic to cuneate segments with entire or crenulate margins; stamens 3, filaments free, ca. 0.2 mm long, anthers ca. 2 mm long, horizontally dehiscent. Pistillate flowers: pedicels reflexed, ca. 1 mm long, smooth; sepals (5)6(7), linear-lanceolate to slenderly spatulate, (0.7)0.8 to 1(1.4) mm long, 0.2 to 0.3 mm broad, acute, green, 1-veined; disk entire, cup-shaped, enclosing ca. 1/3 to 1/2 the ovary at anthesis; ovary smooth, styles ascending or spreading, ca. 0.2 to 0.3 mm long, bifid, the branches slender to subcapitate. Capsule depressed-globose, (1.4)1.6 to 2 mm in diameter, often red-tinged; seeds gray-brown, 0.8 to 1(1.1) mm long, verruculose, the little warts in wavy lines (the lines transverse on the back of the seed, as opposed to the longitudinal ribs of P. abnormis. Generally a weed in disturbed areas. In TX generally E. of a line from Tarrant to Harris Cos., but known in our area at least from Burleson Co.; PA to the N. 1/2 of FL, W. to IL, MO, KS, OK, and TX, S. to Argen. and Parag.; perhaps introduced in parts of this range. Jun.-Nov.

4.P. pudensEUPHORBIACEAE PHYLLANTHUS pudens L. C. Wheeler Birdseed Leaf-flower. Annual herb; stems erect, simple or with a few branches, 1 to 5 dm tall, scabridulous, terete basally, distally flattened and with narrow (0.1 to 0.2 mm broad) wings. Leaves distichous, blades elliptic to oblong, 8 to 20 mm long, 2.5 to 10 mm broad, apically acute to obtuse and apiculate, basally obtuse to rounded; stipules ovate to lanceolate, acuminate, basally cordate-auriculate, 1.1 to 2 mm long, with herbaceous median portion and pale margins, denticulate. Plants monoecious, most axils on all axes floriferous, each cymule with 1 to 3 male flowers and 1 to 2(3) female flowers. Staminate flowers: pedicel ca. 0.5 to 0.8 mm long; sepals 5 or 6, 0.5 to 0.7 mm long, ovate or suborbicular, apically acute to obtuse, entire, with 1 prominent nerve, pale; disk segments 5 or 6, suborbicular to cuneate; stamens 3, filaments 0.2 to 0.3 mm long, united or nearly free, anthers subsessile on the column (if column present), ca. 0.2 mm long, dehiscent horizontally. Pistillate flowers: pedicel strongly reflexed-geniculate, (1)1.4 to 1.8(2.2) mm long; sepals (5)6, more or less oblong to ovate, becoming 0.7 to 1.2 mm long, 0.5 to 0.7 mm broad, obtuse to acute, entire, herbaceous, often reddish basally; disk more or less entire or angled; ovary smooth, styles ca. 0.25 to 0.3 mm long, spreading or horizontal, basally fused, shallowly bifid, branches subcapitate. Capsule depressed-globose, sometimes reddish, 2.8 to 3.2 mm in diameter; seeds pale- to grayish-brown, 1.3 to 1.5 mm long, irregularly to densely verruculose, the little warts in wavy or irregular lines. Coastal prairies. Matagorda and Chambers Cos. eastward; in our area N. to at least Washington and Brazos Cos.; also LA. May-Nov., perhaps with a longer season along the coast.


Ours annual or perennial herbs (elsewhere also shrubs), usually with stellate hairs or peltate scales on at least some parts of the plants. Leaves alternate (sometimes seeming opposite or whorled beneath the inflorescence), simple, entire to serrate, petiolate; stipules present, often small and deciduous. Plants monoecious or dioecious, flowers in axillary or terminal spikes or racemes, in monoecious plants the spikes with pistillate flowers below and staminate above. Staminate flowers: calyx deeply or shallowly (4-)5-(6-) lobed; petals absent or as many as and alternate with the calyx lobes; lobed disk often present when petals absent; stamens 5 or more, usually 10 to 20 in TX material; rudimentary ovary absent or very poorly developed. Pistillate flowers: calyx with 5 or 6(to 9) deep or shallow lobes, valvate in bud; corolla absent or petals as many as and alternate with the calyx lobes; lobed disk sometimes present, usually present when corolla none; ovary (1- or 2-)3-celled; styles (1)2 or 3, each once or more dichotomous. Capsule (1-or 2-)3-celled; seeds 1 per cell, carunculate.

At least 800 species of the tropics and subtropics; 22 species in TX; 8 here.

NOTE: The above figures reflect the inclusion of the two species formerly in Crotonopsis. Webster (1992) makes the valid point that the Crotonopsis, with its single-celled and -seeded fruits, fits easily within Croton and represents the final stage in the reduction series which begins with tricarpellate fruits and continues through the bicarpellate, single-seeded fruits of Croton monanthogynus. Both species of Crotonopsis required completely new names upon removal to Croton because the epithets available for them were already in use in Croton.

Several species have value as medicines, teas, timbers, etc. (Mabberley 1987). Of our local species, C. monanthogynus and C. texensis can be used as teas, though C. texensis is toxic and has been used medicinally (Tull 1987).

1. Stems and leaves with silvery scales, most conspicuous on the undersides of the leaves ..2

1. Stems and leaves glabrous to stellate pubescent, not silvery-scaly ......................................4

2(1) Capsule 3-seeded, dehiscent; leaves ca. (2)3 to 5 times longer than broad, oblanceolate- elliptic to narrowly obovate ...1.C.argyranthemus

2. Capsule 1-seeded, indehiscent, leaves proportionately narrower, linear to narrowly elliptic ..


3(2) Spikes loose, to several cm. long, with 3 to 6 fruits developing in the lower portion; fruit obovoid-ellipsoid, its stellate hairs with the radii free nearly to the center and often slightly raised; stellate hairs of upper leaf surface sparse so radii of adjacent trichomes scarcely overlap, the radii free to the center and appressed; hairs of lower leaf surface with the free portion of the radii longer than the fused portion ...2.C.michauxii

3. Spikes usually less than 1 cm long, with 1 or 2 fruits; fruits usually ovoid and with sparse stellate hairs with radii fused for most or all their length, appressed; stellate hairs of upper leaf surface more dense, the radii often raised on hairs along the midrib; hairs of lower leaf surface with the fused portion of the radii longer than the free portion .............................


4(3) Leaves decidedly serrate; base of midvein on lower leaf surface with a minute gland on either side ...4.C.glandulosus

4. Leaves entire; midvein without glands .....................................................................................5

5(4) Styles only 2, once dichotomous, giving 4 stigmatic ends; mature fruit 1-seeded (ovary 2- celled, 1 cell aborting) ...5.C.monanthogynus

5. Styles 3, 1 or more times dichotomous, giving 6 or more ultimate stigmatic ends; mature fruit usually 3-celled and 3-seeded ..........................................................................................6

6(5) Styles once-dichotomous, yielding only 6 stigmatic ends per flower; leaf blades broadly suborbicular to rhombic-ovate or oblong, many less than twice as long as broad ..................


6. Styles (of at least some flowers) 2 or more times dichotomous; leaves linear-lanceolate to narrowly ovate-oblong or lance-elliptic, usually 3 or more times longer than broad .............7

7(6) Plants monoecious; pistillate calyces with 6 to 9 oblong or linear lobes ...7.C.capitatus

7. Plants dioecious; pistillate calyces with 5 deltoid lobes ...8.C.texensis

1.C. argyranthemusEUPHORBIACEAE CROTON argyranthemus Michx. Silver Croton, Shiny Croton. Perennial, often somewhat suffruticose and/or rhizomatous, tending to spread basally; stems (5)10 to 30 cm tall; herbage more or less covered with minute silvery, peltate scales, the scales with ciliate margins and a central rounded umbo which is commonly brownish. Leaf blades elliptic-oblanceolate to narrowly obovate (the lowest leaves sometimes obovate), 1 to 5 cm long, (2)3 to 5 times longer than broad, base acute, apex acute to blunt or rounded, margin entire, upper surface medium to dull olive green with scattered scales, under surface and petiole densely covered with overlapping scales; petiole 2 to 10 mm long, less than 1/2 the length of the blade; stipules ca. 0.2 mm long, subulate and caducous. Plants monoecious, flowers almost always in androgynous terminal racemes. Staminate flowers: calyx ca. 5 mm broad, campanulate, sepals 5, united about 1/2 their length, deltoid-acute, dorsally silvery-scaly; petals 5, about equalling the calyx, dorsally silvery-scaly; disk with bulbous glands opposite the calyx lobes; stamens 10 to 12. Pistillate flowers: ca. 4 to 5 mm long and wide, sepals 5, acute, united about 2/3 their length, dorsally silvery-scaly; corolla none; glands 5, coherent basally to the calyx and opposite the calyx lobes, laminar; ovary subglobose, styles 3, 3 to 4 mm long, each trifid or quadrifid most of their length. Capsule more or less subglobose, plumply 3-lobed, ca. 5 to 5.3 mm long, silvery-scaly; columella narrowly 3-winged, fragile; seeds ca. 4.7 mm long, ellipsoid, apically acute, dull gray-brown with scattered short dark striae. Common in loose sand soil, in our area frequently found on sands of the Carrizo formation. E. ca. 1/4 of TX and the Rio Grande Plains; E. to GA and FL. Our collections primarily from May and June.

2.C. michauxiiEUPHORBIACEAE CROTON michauxii G. L. Webster Narrowleaf Rushfoil. Taprooted annual; stem usually single at base, well-branched near the middle; herbage densely pubescent with stellate-lepidote hairs, the overall effect silvery. Leaves linear to linear-lanceolate, 1.5 to 4 cm long, usually 1 to 3 mm wide, hairs of upper surface of midstem leaves with the (usually) 5 to 8 radii free to the center, appressed, ca. 0.3 mm long or less, hairs arranged so that the arms of neighboring trichomes do not overlap, hairs of lower leaf surface with free portion of radii equalling or longer than the fused portion; stipules minute, subulate, caducous. Spikes loosely flowered, 1 to 2 cm long, with 3 to 6 female flowers setting fruit in the lower portion. Staminate flowers: usually more than 1 mm broad; calx deeply 4- or 5-lobed; petals spatulate, white, shorter than the calyx; filaments longer than the calyx lobes and anthers; disk suppressed. Pistillate flowers: calyx deeply 4- or 5-lobed, 1 mm long at anthesis, elongating slightly after; disk suppressed; ovary unilocular and 1-seeded, style branches 3, minutely bifid apically. Capsule generally obovate-elliptic, without veins externally, covered with stellate hairs having radii free nearly to the center, much longer than the fused portion and often slightly raised (the fruit thus "fuzzy" when viewed with a scope), the umbos of these hairs rounded or commonly sharp, spine-like, and as tall as the radii are long; seed lenticular, ecarunculate, closely clasped by the fruit wall. Fine, deep, sandy soils of woods in E. TX, rare W. to N. Cen. T; VA to SC, GA, and FL, W. to MS and TX, N. inland to OK, IL, and MO; perhaps only adventive in TX. June-Aug. [Crotonopsis linearis Michx.; Crotonopsis spinosa Nash].

See NOTE following C. willdenowii, below.

3.C. willdenowiiEUPHORBIACEAE CROTON willdenowii G. L. Webster Rushfoil. Taprooted herb 1 to 4 dm tall; stem usually simple at the base and branched above; herbage densely-stellate lepidote and silvery. Leaf blades elliptic to linear-lanceolate, 1 to 4 cm long, (1)2 to 4(6 or more) mm broad, hairs of the upper surface with the radii free nearly their entire length, ca. 1 mm long and often slightly raised, generally overlapping the radii of neighboring hairs, hairs of midrib often with radii only 1 to 3 and pointing away from the midrib, lower surface of midstem leaves with scale-like hairs, the fused portion of the radii longer than the free portion; petioles 1 to 2 mm long; stipules minute, caducous. Spikes to ca. 1 cm long, with 1 or 2 pistillate flowers setting fruit. Staminate flowers: usually 1 mm long or less; calyx deeply 4- or 5-lobed; petals spatulate, white, shorter than the calyx; filaments shorter than the calyx and only slightly longer than the anthers; disk none. Pistillate flowers: calyx deeply 4- or 5-lobed, ca. 1 mm long; disk absent; ovary unilocular and 1-seeded, style branches 3, each minutely bifid apically. Capsule ovoid (less commonly elliptic), sparsely pubescent, the trichomes with the radii fused for most of their length, the umbo usually blunt, rarely spine-like; seed lenticular, closely clasped by the fruit wall. Common in deep, fine sands in openings in wooded areas. E. part TX; CT, NJ, PA, IN, IL, MO, and SE. KS, S. to FL and TX. (May)June-Sept. [Crotonopsis elliptica Willd.].

NOTE: Apparently much more common in our area than C. michauxii and possibly our only species of single-seeded, silvery Croton. Grady Webster has examined local material and returned them all as C. wildenowii, although some specimens may appear to be intermediate between the two species in some respects. Webster (1995) points out that the two species are very similar and that there may be problems with species delineation.

4.C. glandulosusEUPHORBIACEAE CROTON glandulosus L. Tropic Croton. Annual from a somewhat spicy-scented taproot; stem usually 1 at the base and freely branched above, 5 to 55 cm tall; herbage and flowers with rather dense stellate pubescence. Leaf blades oblong to ovate-oblong, linear, or nearly lanceolate, 8 to 63 mm long, ca. 1.5 to 6 times longer than broad, rounded at both ends or slightly cuneate at the base, serrate, the underside with a cartilaginous, obconical, cupped or saucer-shaped gland on each side of the petiole attachment; petioles of the larger leaves ca. 1/2 to 2/3 the length of the blades, younger leaves with petioles 1/4 to 1/6 the length of the blades; stipules minute, commonly glandular-papillate or consisting of a cluster of stalked glands. Plants monoecious, the terminal androgynous racemes ca. 1 cm long. Staminate flowers: 2.5 to 4 mm broad, sepals (4)5, nearly free, oblanceolate, pale yellowish; glands 0.1 to 0.3 mm long, opposite the sepals, orange and bulbous; petals (if present) (4)5; stamens 7 to 13. Pistillate flowers: sepals 5, nearly free, linear-oblanceolate, ca. 1.5 mm long at anthesis and accrescent after; petals if present linear, ca. 0.1 mm long, fragile; disk with 5 scallops opposite the sepals, flat; ovary subglobose, styles 3, 1.5 to 2 mm long, each once dichotomous near the base. Capsule subglobose, 4.5 to 5.5 mm long; seeds 2.9 to 4 mm long, oblong, grayish or commonly mottled. Common in open sandy or loamy areas--prairies, roadsides, fields, etc. Throughout much of Texas. Spring-fall.

Three intergrading varieties are found in Texas.

Our plants seem to be all or nearly all var. septentrionalis Muell. -Arg. with plants usually more than 25 cm tall; larger leaves commonly longer than 3 cm; pubescence variable but the central process of each hair not more than 6 times as long as the radii; petiolar gland 0.5 to 0.8 mm broad, seeds oblong. PA, IN, IA, and NE, S. to FL and TX. [C. glandulosus L. var. angustifolius Muell. Arg.]

Var. lindheimeri Muell.- Arg. is smaller, 10 to 20 cm tall, and has larger leaves about 2.5 cm long, central portion of each hair generally shorter than the radii, petiolar gland 0.1 to 0.4 mm broad. Found to our S. and W. Not listed for our area, but some of our plants seem to be on the small side and have smaller leaves than is typical for var. septentrionalis; it is possible there is some influence from var. lindheimeri.

5.C. monanthogynusEUPHORBIACEAE CROTON monanthogynus Michx. Prairie-tea, One-seeded Croton. Somewhat aromatic taprooted annual 4 to 50 cm tall; stem usually simple below and widely dichotomously branched above, the lowest branches often 3 to 5 together; herbage with appressed stellate hairs, the central process or umbo of each rounded and frequently brownish. Leaves generally ovate or ovate-oblong, 1 to 4 cm long, medium green, sparsely stellate pubescent above, silvery green and densely stellate tomentose below, basally rounded to truncate or sometimes narrowed, lower leaves tending toward nearly round, ca. 1 to 2 times longer than broad, apically rounded, petiole 1/2 to 1(2) times the length of the blade, upper leaves more elliptic, ca. 2 to 4.5 times longer than broad, apically tending toward acute or apiculate, petiole 1/4 to 1/2 as long as the blade; stipules minute and glandlike, 0.05 to 0.3 mm long. Plants monoecious, flowers in terminal androgynous racemes ca. 1 cm long. Staminate flowers: calyx 1.5 to 2.5 mm broad; sepals 4(5), nearly free, ovate-lanceolate, apically subacute and cucullate; petals 4(5), about as long as the sepals, narrowly oblong to oblanceolate; disk flat, with 5 glands each 0.1 mm long; stamens 4 or 5. Pistillate flowers: sepals 5, subequal, ca. 1.5 to 2 mm long, narrowly oblong-lanceolate, appressed to the ovary and accrescent, about 2/3 as long as the capsule at maturity; corolla none; disk flat and thin; ovary ovoid to subglobose, 2-celled, the larger cell uniovulate and the other smaller and with an aborted ovule, styles 2, 0.8 to 1.2(1.5) mm long, bifid nearly to the base, ultimate stigmatic surfaces 4. Capsule tan, ovoid, tapered from below the middle to the apex, ca. 4 mm long, septicidally then loculicidally dehiscent; seed in larger fertile locule (1)2.8 to 3.1 mm long, dark brown, shiny, minutely textured. On calcareous soils of roadsides, open woods, prairies, waste places, etc.; in our area often associated with calcareous outcrops. Throughout much of TX except deserts of the Trans Pecos and higher parts of the Plains Country; MD, OH, and IN, W. to NE, S. to FL, TX, and NM; also N. Mex. Spring-fall, ours primarily June-Oct.

A tea can be made from the dried leaves, though care must be taken not to confuse this plant with similar, toxic species and to watch for possible allergic reactions (Tull 1987). Tan colors can be obtained on wool using the whole plant as a dyestuff (Tull 1987).

6.C. lindheimerianusEUPHORBIACEAE CROTON lindheimerianus Scheele var. lindheimerianus Three-Seed Croton. Taprooted annual (though occasionally somewhat tough at the base); stem much-branched, to 50 cm tall; herbage and flowers more or less densely and velvety stellate-tomentose. Leaf blades suborbicular to rhombic-ovate or oblong, generally less than twice as long as broad, 1 to 8 cm long, usually at the small end of this range, base rounded, apex rounded to broadly acute (angle more than 95o), entire; petioles ascending, those of the lower leaves 0.5 to 2 times as long as the blade, those of the upper leaves 1/4 to slightly more than 1/2 as long as the blades; stipules glandlike. Plants monoecious, terminal spikelike androgynous racemes 10 to 15 mm long. Staminate flowers: Calyx 2 to 2.5 mm broad, sepals (4)5, nearly free, oblong-lanceolate, apically acute and subcucullate; petals about as long as the sepals, linear-oblanceolate; disk thin, with 5 lobes opposite the sepals; stamens 7 to 9(12). Pistillate flowers: calyx ca. 3 mm long at anthesis, sepals 5, nearly free, nearly lanceolate and acute, about as long as and appressed to ovary, becoming dilated in age and oblanceolate, at maturity 0.7 to 1.1 times the length of the capsule; corolla none; disk small and thin; ovary subglobose, styles 3, 2 to 3 mm long, each bifid to its base. At least some pedicels recurved at maturity and the fruit drooping, capsule 4 to 5 mm long and about as broad, rounded apically and basally; columella slender, 3.2 to 3.7 mm long, rather persistent; seeds oblong, 3 to 3.6 mm long (exclusive of the light-colored caruncle), with 2 flat faces and a rounded back, medium or grayish brown, shiny, minutely textured. Sandy or alluvial soils. Scattered over the state but often localized, most common in N. Cen. TX and the Rio Grande Plains; TX, OK, KS, and AR, S. to Mex. Spring-fall.

A second variety, var. tharpii M. C. Johnst., occurs in TX in the Trans-Pecos and the S. part of Plains Country and W. Edwards Plateau. It has long, acute leaves, pubescence rough or shaggy rather than velvety, an fruiting pedicels erect. It is not expected to occur in our area.

7.C. capitatusEUPHORBIACEAE CROTON capitatus Michx. Woolly Croton, Goatweed, Doveweed, Hogwort. Taprooted annual (2)3 to 10(15) dm tall; stem single at base, usually widely branched above; herbage and flowers densely and softly stellate-tomentose, plants rather strongly scented. Leaf blades lanceolate to lance-ovate or -elliptic, ca. 3 to 10 cm long, basally rounded or occasionally shallowly cordate, strongly long-tapered to the acute apex, entire or with a few minute teeth; petioles of lower leaves equalling or longer than the blades, becoming proportionately shorter upwards; stipules subulate, caducous. Plant monoecious, flowers in terminal androgynous, spike-like racemes ca. 1 to 3 cm long. Staminate flowers: sepals 5, nearly free, deltoid or subulate, ca. 1 mm long; petals 5, ca. 1 mm long, oblanceolate; stamens 10 to 14. Pistillate flowers: calyx with 6 to 9 oblong or linear, nearly free lobes, 2 to 3 mm long at anthesis, accrescent and about as long as the fruit at maturity; corolla none; styles 3, commonly somewhat reddish where not fuzzy, 1 mm long at anthesis, each deeply 2 or 3 times dichotomous, ultimate stigmatic ends 12 to 24, ovary subglobose. Capsule 3-lobed, globose, densely tomentosse, 6 to 10 mm long; seeds 3.5 to 5.2 mm long, slightly longer than broad, oval or elliptic in outline, dorsiventrally compressed to various degrees, at maturity mottled brown and/or gray, minutely textured, caruncle pale. Very common and abundant, especially in sandy soils of roadsides, pastures (especially if overgrazed), railroad tracks, vacant lots, etc. E., SE., and N. Cen. TX and Rio Grande Plains; TX, OK, and AR to MO and TN, E. through LA and MS to GA and FL; also N. Mex. Summer-fall; our collections June-Oct.

As described above, our plants are probably all var. lindheimeri (Engelm. & Gray) Muell. -Arg. [C. capitatus Michx. var. albinoides (Ferg.) Shinners; C. engelmannii Ferg. and var. albinoides Ferg; C. muelleri Coult. and var. albinoides (Ferg.) Croizat.]

The other variety, var. capitatus, has blunt, uniformly long-petioled leaves and orbicular, unmottled seeds. Found in far N. Cen. TX, it is not expected to be found in our area.

The seeds are often carried away by ants, which relish the nutrient-rich caruncle. Some people seem to be allergic to the pollen.

8.C. texensisEUPHORBIACEAE CROTON texensis(Klotzch) Muell. -Arg. Texas Croton, Skunk-weed. Taprooted annual 2 to 8 dm tall; stems usually simple below and dichotomously or trichotomously branched above; herbage and flowers densely and softly stellate-tomentose, more or less strongly-scented. Leaf blades linear-oblong or linear-lanceolate to narrowly ovate-oblong, (3)4 to 5(6) times longer than broad, (1)2 to 4(8) cm long, (sometimes reduced at the apex of the plant), apically rounded to acute, basally rounded, entire, more densely stellate tomentose beneath; petioles 1/4 to 2/5 the length of the blades, proportionately shorter upwards; stipules simple, 0.1 to 0.2 mm long, caducous. Plants dioecious. Staminate flowers: in racemes 1 to 2 cm long; calyx hemispheric, 2 to 4 mm broad, with 5 deltoid, acute lobes; corolla none, glands distinct, opposite the sepals; stamens 8 to 12. Pistillate flowers: in racemes ca. 1 cm long; calyx hemispheric, 2.5 to 4 mm broad, the 5 lobes deltoid, acute; corolla none; disk thin and annular; ovary flattened-globose, styles 3, each deeply 2 or more times dichotomous, often reddish. Capsules globose to globose-ovoid, 4 to 6 mm long and rather broader, densely stellate-tomentose and usually warty; columella 3 to 4 mm long, 2-winged with the remains of the septa; seeds ovoid, 3.5 to 4 mm long with a caruncle 1 mm long. Preferring sandy loam, but also known from outcroppings. N. Cen. TX, E. part Plains Country, and S. and W. parts of E. TX; WY and SD S. to TX and NM; W. of the Rocky Mts. from UT to N. Mex. Summer-fall. [C. luteovirens Woot. & Standl.; C. virens Muell. Arg.].

Native Americans used this plant in medicinal preparations to treat a variety of ailments including stomach pains, kidney disorders, and snakebite. It was also an ingredient in a Zuni treatment (apparently effective) for syphilis (Kindscher 1992.) However, the plant has toxic properties and is reportedly used in insecticidal preparations (Kindscher 1992; Tull 1987).

EUPHORBIACEAE ACALYPHA7. ACALYPHA L. Three-seeded Mercury, Copperleaf

Annual or perennial herbs (as ours) or subshrubs. Stems decumbent to erect, simple to branched. Leaves alternate, petiolated, variously shaped, entire to crenate or serrate; stipules small, lanceolate. Plants monoecious (as ours) or dioecious, flowers usually in axillary and/or terminal spikes (rarely paniculate), staminate and pistillate flowers occupying various relative positions, clusters of flowers subtended by bracts. Staminate flowers: several to many in each bract, bracts (in ours) inconspicuous and lanceolate; sepals 4; valvate; corolla none; disk none; stamens 4 to 8(16), free or basally united, anther sacs often becoming twisted in age. Pistillate flowers: one or two per bract, bracts variously lobed, often foliaceous, commonly enlarging as the fruits mature; sepals 3(to 5); corolla none; disk none; carpels (2)3, styles 3, distinct, the main branches usually divided several times, in some species pink or reddish. Capsule usually 3-celled, ovules 1 per cell. Seeds ovoid, carunculate, variously tuberculate or pitted, brown to black or mottled.

About 390 to 430 species of temperate to tropical regions of both hemispheres; 10 species in TX; 5 in our area (including some which are debatably distint.)

A few species are cultivated for ornament; A. wilkesiana Muell. Arg. (Copperleaf, Jacob's Coat, Beefsteak Plant) is grown for its leaves which are mottled green, bronze, red, scarlet, white, etc. (Mabberley 1987).

1. Staminate and pistillate flowers in separate spikes, the staminate axillary and the pistillate terminal; leaves ovate, finely and sharply serrate ...1.A.ostryifolia

1. Staminate and pistillate flowers in the same axillary spikes, pistillate below and staminate above (staminate often absent by fruiting time); leaves generally narrower, entire to bluntly crenate or serrate .....................................................................................................................2

2(1) Fruits uniformly 1-seeded ...2.A.monococca

2. Fruits 3-seeded (rarely fewer-seeded by abortion) .................................................................3

3(2) Lobes of pistillate bracts deltoid-acute; leaves usually linear (to narrowly ovate to

lanceolate), entire to slightly creanate; petioles usually less than 1/4 the length of the blade ...3.A.gracilens

3. Lobes of pistillate bracts narrowly lanceolate to lanceolate; leaves narrowly ovate to elliptic or rhombic, crenate to serrate; petioles usually more than 1/4 the length of the blade ........4

4(3) Pistillate bracts with 10 or more (rarely fewer) narrowly triangular lobes, pilose with long spreading hairs ...4.A.virginica

4. Pistillate bracts with 5 to 9 (rarely more) lanceolate lobes, strigose with scattered

appressed hairs (though the margins may be ciliate) ...5.A.rhomboidea

1.A. ostryifoliaEUPHORBIACEAE ACALYPHA ostryifolia Ridd. Hop-hornbeam Copperleaf. Annual; stems erect, 1 to 7 dm tall, simple or usually branched, with sparse to dense, short, stiff recurved hairs and scattered to dense long-stalked white glands. Leaves ovate, commonly basally cordate, acute to acuminate, 3.3 to 8.2 cm long, 1.6 yo 5.3 cm broad, with 3 to 5 main nerves from the base, finely and sharply serrate or dentate, usually with some short, stiff hairs, especially above; petiole 1.4 to 7 cm long, commonly about equalling the blade; stipules to 1.5 mm long. Staminate flowers: in axillary spikes 5 to 34 mm long. Pistillate flowers: in terminal spikes to ca. 5 cm long, bracts each subtending 1 flower, 3 to 7.5 mm long, 5 to 12 mm broad, with sparse white long-stalked glands, deeply cut into (9)13 to 17(19) filamentous or slenderly linear lobes, surface of lobes muricate, styles 1 to 2 mm long, lower portions green and slightly fleshy. Capsule 3-seeded, sparsely puberulous, at maturity somewhat echinate, with fleshy projections apically; seeds 1.5 to 2.3 mm long, brown, tuberculate. Dry sandy soil of roadsides, fencerows, open woods, fields, etc. N. Cen. TX--Cooke and Grayson Cos.--W. to Nolan Co., S. to Medina, San Patricio, and Harris Cos.; PA to FL and IA, W. to KS, OK, TX, NM, and AZ. Summer-fall, our collections May-Sept. [In many sources the specific epithet is spelled "ostryaefolia"].

2.A. monococcaEUPHORBIACEAE ACALYPHA monococca (Engelm ex Gray) L. Mill. & Gandhi Slender One-seeded Copperleaf. Taprooted annual; stem erect, simple or usually branched, 15 to 40 cm tall, with sparse to dense short, recurved hairs. Leaf blades linear to lanceolate, entire to slightly crenate, 2 to 7 cm long, 3 to 13 mm broad, commonly ca. 6 to 7 times longer than broad, usually with sparse, short, stiff hairs; petioles 2 to 12 mm long, usually less than 1/4 the length of the blades; stipules ca. 1 mm long. Spikes axillary, with pistillate flowers below and staminate above, or a few occasionally entirely staminate; staminate portion usually exserted beyond the pistillate bracts, 0.5 to 2.8 mm long. Pistillate bracts 1 to 3, each subtending 1 to 3 flowers, 4 to 13.5 mm long, 5 to 16 mm broad, ovate to orbicular in outline, cut ca. 1/4 length into (7)9 to 13(17) deltoid, acute lobes, with sparse to dense short, stiff hairs, margins often with long spreading hairs, also with sparse to dense short-stalked red glands and sparse long-stalked white glands (use a strong lens), styles 1.5 to 22 mm long, usually whitish. Capsule ovoid, pubescent and sometimes sparsely glandular; seed 1, dark brown to mottled, (1.4)1.7 to 2.2(2.4) mm long, with low ridges as seen with a scope (not pitted as often described). Dry, sandy or rocky soil of prairies, open woods, pastures, roadsides, etc. NE. and N. Cen. TX, S. to Gillespie, DeWitt, and Harris Cos., including the very E. part of the Edwards plateau; S. IL to AR, KS, and TX. Summer-fall. [A. gracilens Gray var. monococca Engelm. ex Gray].

The case can be made that A. monococca is only a variety of A. gracilens--the two are quite similar and are certainly closely related. This is the approach adopted by Kartesz (1998). However, the uniformly 1-seeded fruits and the larger, ridged (as opposed to pitted) seeds make A. monococca readily distinguishable from A. gracilens.

3.A. gracilensEUPHORBIACEAE ACALYPHA gracilens Gray Slender Copperleaf, Slender Three-seeded Mercury. Taprooted annual; stem simple or branched near the base, 10 to 60 cm tall, moderately to densely pubescent with recurved hairs. Leaf blades in TX material more or less linear and subentire to narrowly lancolate and slightly crenate (elsewhere elliptic to broadly lancolate or oblong and more strongly crenate), 16 to 63 mm long, 4 to 21 mm broad, both surfaces with sparse to dense, short, stiff appressed hairs; petioles 2 to 17 mm long, usually less than 1/4 the length of the blades; stipules 0.3 to 1 mm long. Spikes with both staminate and pistillate flowers or occasionally some completely staminate; staminate portion of spike 0.5 to 2.8 mm long, not uncommonly exceeding the bracts. Pistillate bracts 1 to 3, each subtending 1 to 3 flowers, more or less ovate to suborbicular, 4 to 14 mm long, 6 to 17 mm broad, cut ca. 1/4 length into (7)9 to 13(19) deltoid, acute lobes, sparsely to densely pubescent with short, stiff hairs and the margin with sparse long hairs, moderately to densely sprinkled with sessile and short-stalked red glands and long-stalked white glands; styles 1 to 2 mm long, white to pink or reddish. Capsule pubescent and sometimes glandular, 3-seeded; seeds brown to mottled, 1.2 to 1.7(2.1) mm long, minutely pitted in rows. Usually in dry sandy soil. E. TX W. to the Edwards Plateau but excluding the Coastal Plain and S. Texas; ME, NY and MN S. to FL, W. to AR, LA, and TX. Summer-fall. [Includes var. gracilens and var. delzii L. Mill.].

Two varieties have traditionally been recognized: var. gracilens, with leaves lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, margins crenate, and staminate portion of spike usually not exceeding the pistillate bracts, and var. delzii L. Mill., with leaves linear, entire to slightly crenate, and staminate portion of spike usually far exceeding the pistillate bracts. Many of our plants are readily separable. However, the traits that distinguish var. delzii vary clinally rather than abruptly and plants with the characters of var. delzii are found outside the TX-W. LA range generally given for the variety. There is debate, then, whether varieties should be recognized (Levin 1995). Dr. Geoffrey Levin is exploring whether, among other possibilities, the "var. delzii" plants represent introgression of A. monococca into A. gracilens.

4.A. virginicaEUPHORBIACEAE ACALYPHA virginica L. Virginia Copperleaf. Taprooted annual; stem erect, sparsely branched, often with long, slender branches, or else simple, 1 to 5 dm tall, moderately to densely clothed with short recurved hairs, longer spreading hairs usually present as well. Leaf blades narrowly rhombic to broadly lanceolate, crenate to subentire, 1.2 to 11.2 cm long, 4 to 38 mm broad, with a few short stiff hairs and the margins often with some longer hairs; petioles 2 to 65 mm long, usually 1/4 to 1/2 the length of the blade or longer; stipules 0.5 to 1 mm long. Spikes axillary, with staminate flowers above and pistillate below; staminate portion 2.1 cm long (usually less than 1 cm), generally exserted from the pistillate bracts. Pistillate bracts 1 to 3, each subtending 1 to 3 flowers, broadly ovate to suborbicular, cut 1/4 to 1/2 width into 10 or more (rarely fewer) narrowly triangular lobes, more or less pilose with long spreading hairs (sparse below), white and red stalked glands sparse but present on ca. 60% of plants (a lower percentage than on plants from outside TX). Style ca. 2 mm long, white. Capsule pubescent, usually glandular, 3-seeded; seeds (1.2)1.5(1.8) mm long, brown, with rows of shallow pits. Sandy soils of open woods, stream courses, fields, roadsides, etc. N. Cen. and E. TX Brazos and Angelina Cos., also W. to E. part of Edwards Plateau; NH and NE S. to SC, GA, LA, and TX. Summer-fall.

NOTE: Very closely related and similar to A. rhomboidea Raf. There have even been some problems with typification of these species. The characters usually used to separate the two--leaf shape, stem pubescence, and petiole length--are inconsistent. Cooperrider (1984) cited this as a reason for combining the two and reducing A. rhomboidea to a variety of A. virginica, an approach adopted by Kartesz (1998). However, Levin (1995) notes that features of the pistillate bracts are diagnostic and that, even though the two often grow together, there is no evidence that hybridization occurs--thus his preference for recognizing two species.

5.A. rhomboideaEUPHORBIACEAE ACALYPHA rhomboideaRaf. Rhomboidal Copperleaf. Very similar to A. virginica. In Texas, generally represented by small, slender plants (and thus similar also to A. gracilens). Taprooted annual, to 6 dm tall, pubescent with recurved hairs. Leaf blades usually ovate to rhombic, 1.5 to 10.3 cm long, 8 to 45 mm broad, crenate-serrate, with sparse short stiff hairs; petioles 3 to 72 mm long, commonly 1/2 as long to as long as the blades; stipules 0.3 to 1 mm long. Spikes axillary, staminate portion not usually exserted from the pistillate bracts. Pistillate bracts 1 to 3, each subtending 1 to 3 flowers, 4.5 to 5.5 mm long, 6.5 to 30 mm wide, cut into 5 to 9 (rarely more) lanceolate lobes, sparsely strigose with eglandular hairs, margins sometimes with longer hairs, sparsely to densely covered with stalked glands. Capsule 3-seeded, pubescent and sometimes glandular (said to be smooth at the base); seeds brown, (1.2)1.5 to 1.7(2) mm long, with rows of shallow pits. Moist or dry sandy soils. Tarrant and Dallas Cos. to Sabine, Panola, and Harris Cos.; not nearly as common in Texas as A. virginica, but possible in the northern part of our area; NE and ND S. to GA, LA, and TX. Summer-fall. [A. virginica L. var. rhomboidea (Raf.) Cooperrider].

See NOTE at A. virginica, above.


Perennial herbs, ours from woody rootstocks. Stems erect to ascending or trailing. Herbage glabrous or commonly with malpighiaceous (attached in the middle and free at both ends) hairs. Leaves alternate, usually with 3 prominent nerves from the base, entire or serrate. Plants monoecious or dioecious, ours monoecious with flowers in long or short bracted axillary racemes with 1 to 3 pistillate flowers at the base and staminate flowers above. Staminate flowers: sepals 5, valvate; petals 5, in ours free of the staminal column; glands 5, free or fused to the staminal column; stamens 7 to 10 in 2 whorls, monadelphous; staminodia sometimes present. Pistillate flowers: sepals 5, imbricate, accrescent and enlarged in fruit; petals 0 to 5, well developed or reduced; glands 5, opposite the sepals and inserted on the ovary disk; ovary subglobose, 3-celled, triovulate, styles 3, free or briefly united basally (as in TX material), bifid, glabrous or pubescent above. Fruit a schizocarpic capsule, splitting first into 3 1-seeded cocci, the columella persistent. Seeds ovoid to subglobose, caruncle none, surface variously decorated.

Depending upon interpretation, 17 to 50 species, primarily of warm and temperate America; TX material 6 species in the subgenus Ditaxis; 2 species here.

1. Inflorescences longer than or about equalling the leaves; leaves sessile or subsessile ........


var. mercurialina

1. Inflorescences congested in the axils, shorter than the leaves; petioles 2 to 3 mm long .......


var. humilis

1.A. mercurialinaEUPHORBIACEAE ARGYTHAMNIA mercurialina (Nutt.) Muell. -Arg. var. mercurialina Tall Wild Mercury, Tall Ditaxis. Rootstock often stout, to several cm. thick; stems several from the base, to 7 dm tall, ascending, unbranched; herbage pubescent with pale malpighiaceous hairs. Leaves sessile to subsessile, lanceolate to elliptic, elliptic-ovate or -obovate, 3 to 8.5 cm long (sometimes longer), 1 to 4 cm broad, pubescent on both surfaces or only sparingly so above. Racemes 4 to 12 cm long, androgynous or occasionally apparently unisexual, flowers yellowish, drying bluish, deep purple, or maroon. Staminate flowers: sepals oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate or slenderly oblanceolate, ca. 3 mm long, dorsally pubescent and glabrous within; petals oblanceolate or somewhat broader, ca. 3 mm long, free of the staminal column; glands linear, also free of the staminal column, in this variety all glabrous; staminal column ca. 2 mm long, slender, stamens usually 8, with 5 in the lower whorl or the two whorls not fully distinct. Pistillate flowers: sepals lanceolate, ca. 4.5 mm long, acute, dorsally pubescent and glabrous within; petals usually none, if present, 1 to 5, small and point-like to lanceolate; glands linear, in this variety glabrous; ovary sparingly to densely pubescent, styles spreading, bifid only near the tip, pubescent, the stigmas flat and dilated. Fruit ca. 1 cm broad; seeds subglobose, ca. 5 mm long and broad, apiculate, faintly and irregularly reticulate. Sandy soils of prairies over limestone, in our area often associated with calcareous outcrops. N. Cen. TX, S. to Gillespie, Hayes, and Caldwell Cos.; disjointly in Jeff Davis and Culberson Cos.; also parts of KS, NM, and AZ. Apr.-July. [Ditaxis mercurialina (Nutt.) Coult.].

Var. pilosissima (Benth.) Shinners, endemic to the Ed. Plat. and S. Rio Grande Plains, has glands of the flowers pubescent.

2.A. humilisEUPHORBIACEAE ARGYTHAMNIA humilis (Engelm. & Gray) Muell. -Arg. var. humilis Low Wild Mercury, Low Ditaxis. Stems few to many from a woody rootstock, to 45 cm long, usually spreading or trailing, weak and freely-branching; in this variety the herbage pubescent with malpighiaceous hairs. Leaves elliptic to narrowly elliptic or oblanceolate, 1 to 5 cm long, 5 to 15 cm broad, entire or with a few very low, blunt undulations, tapered to a petiole 2 to 3 mm long. Racemes to ca. 1 cm long, congested in the axils. Staminate flowers: sepals linear- to oblong-lanceolate, 2 to 3 mm long, externally pubescent, glabrous within, entire; petals narrowly lanceolate to oblanceolate, ca. 3 mm long; glands linear, erect, free from the staminal column; staminal column 0.5 to 1 mm long with 8 or 9 stamens in 2 whorls (5 in the lower whorl). Pistillate flowers: sepals lanceolate or ovate-lanceolate, ca. 3 mm long; petals commonly none or else 1 to 5, linear and ca. 0.2 mm long to lanceolate and 0.5 mm long; glands linear, erect, obtuse to emarginate; styles bifid about 1/2 their free portions, ovary pilose with stiff hairs. Fruit ca. 5 to 7 mm broad; seeds ovoid-globose, ca. 2.5 mm long and 4 mm broad, slightly rough to reticulate-ridged. Dryish open prairies and prairie remnants, sometimes in thin soil. In much of the state except the Pineywoods; E. CO and W. KS, S. through Cen. TX and E. NM to Mex. Apr.-Oct. [Ditaxis humilis (Engelm. & Gray) Pax.]

Var. laevis (Torr.) Shinners, which occurs in W. Cen. TX and the Trans Pecos, is entirely glabrous and somewhat succulent.


Perennial herbs, some species suffrutescent. Stems 1 to several from the base, erect to decumbent or trailing or twining, simple or branched. All TX material with herbage and inflorescence with stinging hairs mixed with softer spreading pubescence. Leaves alternate, sessile to petiolate, blades cordate or ovate to lanceolate or linear, entire to serrate, toothed, or lobed; stipules usually persistent, lanceolate to ovate, acute to attenuate, entire and ciliate. Inflorescences racemose, apparently opposite the upper leaves (actually terminal but surpassed by the shoot in the axil of the subtending leaf); lower 1 or 2 flowers pistillate and the remaining ones staminate, each flower subtended by a lanceolate bract. Calyx lobes 3 to 6(7). Corolla and disk absent. Staminate flowers: bracts pubescent, entire; flowers pedicellate, the pedicel with an abscission zone below the middle, the basal portion persistent; stamens 2 to 6 (to 10 in terminal flowers). Pistillate flowers: bracts ciliate, entire or 3-lobed; flowers pedicellate, the pedicel with an abscission zone below the middle but the entire pedicel and columella persistent; ovary usually tricarpellate, subglobose, with sparse to dense stinging hairs; styles 3, spreading or recurved, smooth to papillate. Fruit a capsule, 3-seeded and explosively dehiscent (in one species sometimes 1-seeded, winged, and indehiscent); columella with 3 apical interlocular points. Seeds 1 per locule, without caruncle, smooth or slightly rough, more or less globose.

About 125-150 species of tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate regions; 10 species in TX; 3 in our area.

Contact with the stinging hairs produces an itching, burning sensation similar to that caused by nettles, but the irritation seldom lasts longer than a few hours. Identification is easiest when both flowers and fruit are present.

1. Persistent portion of the staminate pedicels about as long as the subtending bracts (at least 2/3 as long); styles connate 1/3 to 1/2 their length and slightly constricted at the juncture with the ovary; ovary and developing fruit exceedingly densely white-pubescent with stinging hairs ...1.T.urticifolia

1. Persistent portion of the staminate pedicels shorter than the subtending bracts; styles free or connate and not constricted; ovary and developing fruit sparsely to densely pubescent with stinging hairs ......................................................................................................................2

2(1) Pistillate calyx longer than the gynoecium at anthesis; staminate flowers 14 to 75 per raceme, at anthesis densely arranged (and after anthesis much of the staminate portion commonly remaining); fruits all 3-seeded ...2.T.betonicifolia

2. Pistillate calyx shorter than the gynoecium at anthesis; staminate flowers 3 to 6(10) per raceme, at anthesis rather loosely arranged (and after anthesis the staminate portion often not conspicuous); fruits sometimes 1-seeded, winged, and indehiscent ........................


NOTE: T. ramosa Torr. has been reported from our area, but specimens invariably prove to belong to the species listed above. T. ramosa is distinguished by its smooth, recurved style branches, well-branched habit, and small, linear-lanceolate leaves. It may someday be found in the far W. portion of our area.

1.T. urticifoliaEUPHORBIACEAE TRAGIA urticifolia Michx. Nettleleaf Noseburn. Stems 2 to 6.5 dm tall, simple or sparingly branched, erect to decumbent, but not usually twining. Leaves proportionately short-petiolate, triangular-ovate to triangular-lanceolate, 2 to 7 cm long, 0.7 to 4 cm broad, midstem leaves the largest, basally truncate to shallowly cordate, tapered to an acute apex, margin sharply serrate or doubly serrate. Racemes. ca. 1 to 4 cm long, the lowermost 1(or 2) nodes pistillate, the remaining 11 to 40 nodes staminate. Staminate flowers: bracts 0.7 to 1.5 mm long, subcucullate; pedicels 1.5 to 2 mm long, the persistent portion 1 to 1.8 mm long, usually about equalling the bract, staminate portion of raceme often remaining well after anthesis; calyx lobes 3(4), 1.2 to 2.1 mm long; stamens 3, filaments 0.3 to 0.8 mm long, thickened, connate basally. Pistillate flowers: bracts 1 to 1.5 mm long, glabrous or sparsely pubescent on the lower surface; pedicels 0.5 to 1 mm long at anthesis, elongating to 2 to 3 mm in fruit; styles connate ca. 1/3 to 1/2 their length, constricted at the base at the juncture with the ovary, stigmatic surfaces extremely papillate, body of ovary in immature stages very densely white pubescent with stinging hairs (the green surface of the ovary thus essentially obscured). Capsule 3.5 to 4.5 mm long, 7 to 8 mm broad; columella 2 to 2.8 mm long; seeds 3 to 4 mm long. Sandy soil of fields, open woods, roadsides, etc. E. part of TX W. to about Gonzalez and Bastrop Cos., N. to Wood and Upshur Cos.; NC to FL, W. to AR, and TX. Spring-fall.

2.T. betonicifoliaEUPHORBIACEAE TRAGIA betonicifolia Nutt. Betony Noseburn. Stems 1 to several from a woody rootstock, erect to decumbent, trailing, or twining. Leaves ovate to lanceolate or triangular-lanceolate, 1 to 5.5 cm long, apically acute to slightly blunt, basally cordate to truncate, marginally serrate with sharp or convex-sided teeth; petioles (5)10 to 25 mm long; stipules 1.2 to 4.5 mm long, lanceolate to ovate. Lowermost 1(or 2) nodes of each raceme pistillate, the upper 14 to 75 staminate, the flowers at anthesis dense, staminate portion often remaining well after anthesis. Staminate flowers: bracts subcucullate, 1 to 2 mm long; pedicels 0.7 to 1 mm long, the persistent part 0.3 to 0.6 mm long; calyx lobes 3 or 4(5), 1 to 2.4 mm long; stamens 3 or 4(5), filaments 0.4 to 1 mm long, thick, basally connate. Pistillate flowers: bracts 1.5 to 2 mm long, sparsely pubescent externally; pedicels 0.7 to 1 mm long at anthesis, elongating to 3 to 4 mm on fruit, concealing the gynoecium (including most of the style) at anthesis; sepals 6, 1.8 to 3 mm long, becoming 3 to 5 mm long in fruit; styles united only briefly basally, stigmatic surfaces papillate, body of ovary with stinging hairs but the dark green ovary readily visible through the hairs. Capsule 4 to 5 mm long, 7 to 9 mm broad; columella 2.5 to 3 mm long; seeds 3 to 4 mm long, subglobose, smooth, brownish-black to yellowish. Sandy and sandy clay soils of roadsides, railroad right-of-ways, ditches, open woods, fields, etc. N. Cen. TX S. to Duval and Jim Wells Cos., E to about Galveston Co. and W. to about Uvalde and Stonewall Cos.; MO and E. KS, S. through OK to AR and TX. Spring-fall. [T. nepetaefolia Cav; T. urticifolia Michx. var. texana Shinners].

3.T. brevispicaEUPHORBIACEAE TRAGIA brevispica Engelm. & Gray. Shortspike Noseburn. Stems to 1 m or more, erect or more commonly trailing or twining. Leaves broadly triangular to lanceolate (or the lowermost rather cordate), 1.8 to 5 cm long, 1.3 to 3 cm broad, apically acute, basally deeply cordate to shallowly cordate or truncate, margins serrate (sometimes doubly serrate) with sharp or convex-sided teeth; petioles to ca. 2 cm long; stipules lanceolate or lance-ovate, to ca. 3 mm long. Lowermost node of each raceme pistillate, the remaining 3 to 6(10) nodes staminate, staminate portion often inconspicuous or not persistent after anthesis. Staminate flowers: bracts 1 to 1.8 mm long, subcucullate; pedicels 1 to 1.5 mm long, the persistent portion 0.4 to 0.7 mm long; calyx lobes 3 or 4(5), 1 to 1.5 mm long; stamens 3 or 4(5), filaments 0.3 to 0.6 mm long, slender or thickened and fleshy, basally connate. Pistillate flowers: bracts 1 to 1.4 mm long; pedicels 0.5 to 1 mm long at anthesis, becoming 2 to 4 mm long in fruit; calyx lobes 6, 1.3 to 2 mm long at anthesis and elongating to 1.8 to 3.5 mm in fruit; styles connate only basally or up to 1/3 their length, stigmatic surfaces papillate, body of ovary sparsely to densely pubescent but the green surface visible through the hairs. Fruits of two kinds, often both on the same plant: 3-carpellate dehiscent capsules 3.5 to 4 mm long, 6.5 to 7 mm broad, wingless AND/OR unicarpellate, indehiscent (or only tardily breaking), with 1 to 3 (commonly 2) pointed wings; columella 1.8 to 2.8 mm long; seeds 2.8 to 3.8 mm long. Sandy or alluvial soils of roadsides, etc.; also known from sedge meadows and open woods. Generally in the central limestone region of TX, from Grayson and Delta Cos. E. to Brazos and Robertson Cos., W. to Edwards and Scurry Cos., S. to Kleberg Co.; possibly also Mex. Spring-fall.


Buckthorn Family

Shrubs, trees, or woody vines, sometimes with thorns. Leaves alternate or opposite, deciduous, typically with prominent pinnate venation, petiolate; stipules minute and early deciduous. Flowers perfect or unisexual, in cymes, thyrses, or umbels or sometimes solitary or appearing glomerulate on short shoots, perigynous (sometimes appearing epigynous at anthesis when a nectary disk obscures the ovary), generally small and not showy, usually greenish or yellowish. Hypanthium campanulate or hemispherical. Sepals (4)5, deltoid, attached to the rim of the floral cup. Petals (4)5, clawed or spatulate, often cucullate (hooded), sometimes absent. Stamens (4)5, opposite the petals and alternate with the sepals, inserted on the margin of the disk, often enclosed by the hooded petals. Disk usually present either near the rim of the hypanthium, lining it, or nearly filling it and hiding the ovary but not adhering to the ovary or adherent only to the basal portion. Ovary superior, 1- to 4-celled, ovules 1 per cell, basal; style 1. Fruit usually drupe-like, with 1 to 3 stones, or else a schizocarp-like capsule.

58 genera and ca. 875 species worldwide, especially in the tropics an subtropics; 9 genera and 22 species in TX; 3 genera and 4 species here.

The family is important for medicinal plants in several genera, a few dye and timber plants, and a few cultivated ornamentals. Ziziphus jujuba (jujube) has edible fruits (Mabberley 1987).

NOTE: Ziziphus jujuba is known to persist in cultivation, but it is not currently known to do so in our area. Z. obtusifolia (T. & G.) Gray is common in TX but no collections from this region are known to the author. Should either jujube be found, it may be recognized by having axillary spines or thorn-tipped branches, and 3-stoned, juicy fruits.

1. Plants woody vines; fruits about twice as long as broad ...................................1. Berchemia

1. Plants shrubs or small trees; fruits about as long as broad ....................................................3

2(1) Fruit juicy and drupe-like, with 2 or 3 stones; leaf margins entire or with a few teeth ..............

...............................................................................................................................2. Rhamnus

2. Fruit dry, capsular; leave serrate or serrulate ...................................................3. Ceanothus

RHAMNACEAE BERCHEMIA1. BERCHEMIA Necker ex DC. Supple-jack, Rattan-vine

12 species from E. Afr. to E. Asia; 1 in N. Amer.

1. B. scandens (Hill) K. Koch. Alabama Supple-jack. Unarmed woody vine to ca. 20 m. Stems glabrous, twining, young growth reddish brown and lustrous, older stems darker, often to nearly black. Leaves alternate, with slender petioles; blades ovate to elliptic, (2)3 to 8 cm long, apically rounded to obtuse-apiculate, basally rounded, margin entire or obscurely crenate or undulate, surfaces glabrous, conspicuously pinnately veined, the under surface paler and the veins commonly slightly pinkish. Inflorescences small panicles or thryses at the ends of the lateral branches, usually equalled or surpassed by the foliage. Flowers perfect or unisexual, greenish, small, ca. 2 mm broad, 5-merous. Hypanthium and disk small and free of but enclosing the ovary; sepals ovate-triangular, acute to acuminate; petals equalling the sepals, obovate, without claws, hooded; stamens equalling or shorter than the petals; style short. Fruit ellipsoidal, 5 to 8 mm long, blue-black and glaucous; stone 2-celled and 1- or 2-seeded. Woods and margins of woods. E., SE., N. Cen. and S. Cen. TX, W. to ravines in the S. part of the Ed. Plat.; VA to MO, S. to FL and TX; also Mex. and Guat. Flowering in spring.

The stems can be used for wickerwork and baskets. This plant is capable of girdling trees, and it is not uncommon to see an unsupported corkscrew of living rattan remaining where the original support tree has long since died and decayed. Tull (1987) reports a yellow dye from the stems and leaves; the berries are known to stain and might also be tried. This is not the rattan used for furniture--that is the stem of a tropical climbing palm.


Shrubs or small trees, unarmed or some branches spine-tipped. Leaves alternate or opposite, unlobed, entire to serrate, usually glabrous or nearly so; stipules small and deciduous. Plants dioecious, polygamodioecious (with both perfect and unisexual flowers), or with all perfect flowers; flowers solitary in the axils or in pedunculate axillary cymes. Hypanthium and staminal disk small, free of the ovary. Sepals 4 or 5. Petals (0)4 or 5, short-clawed, apically notched and with the sides enfolding the stamens. Stamens 4 or 5, inserted on the disk. Ovary 2- to 4-celled, sunken into but free of the disk. Fruit a berry-like drupe with 2 to 4 1-seeded stones.

125 species of the N. hemisphere to Brazil and S. Afr.; 4 in TX; 1 here.

Several species are grown as ornamentals; others are dye sources or have medicinal uses (Mabberley 1987).

1. R. caroliniana Walt. Carolina Buckthorn, Indian Cherry, Yellow-wood, Polecat Tree. Large shrub or small tree to 6(12) m, crown rounded and open; trunk usually branched near the ground; bark light gray and smooth to shallowly furrowed; branchlets reddish and pubescent when young, becoming glabrous and gray. Leaves ovate to elliptic or narrowly obovate, 5 to 14 cm long, 2 to 4(7) cm broad, acute to obtuse or acuminate, tapered to rounded basally, entire to remotely crenate or with a few teeth, dark yellow green and glabrous above, paler below and glabrous to sparsely pubescent, the pinnate veins conspicuous, yellow below; petioles glabrous to puberulent, 8 to 18 mm long. Inflorescences in ours in few-flowered axillary clusters, peduncles and pedicels pubescent. Flowers small, perfect, 5-merous; calyx campanulate, 3 to 4 mm long, lobes lanceolate, about as long as the tube; petals shorter than the calyx; stamens included. Fruits black at maturity, obovoid to subglobose, 7 to 10 mm in diameter, with 2 to 4 stones. Bottomland woods. E. and SE. TX, W. along watercourses to N. Cen. and S. Cen. TX; VA to NE, S. to FL and TX. Late spring to summer. Treated by Kartesz (1998) as Frangula caroliniana (Walt.) Gray .

The fruits are eaten by birds, including woodpeckers, while deer browse the young foliage (Elias 1980). Humans can eat the fruit too, though care should be taken with identification as the fruits of other species have toxic or cathartic properties (Lampe,1985). The berries can be used to produce dark brown colors on wool (Tull 1987).


Shrubs, sometimes weak and nearly suffrutescent, armed or unarmed, deciduous or evergreen. Leaves opposite or alternate, with 1 to 3 veins from the base, commonly serrate, the teeth gland-tipped. Inflorescences axillary or terminal umbels or panicles, often rather showy as the calyx is white as well as the corolla. Calyx 5-parted, the lower portion adnate to the disk and ovary, the lobes incurved and deciduous. Petals 5, long-clawed, cucullate. Stamens 5, free, exserted. Ovary 3-(4-)celled, style 3-lobed. Fruit a septicidal and partially loculicidal capsule, separating into 3, 1-seeded parts which fall from the accrescent, persistent floral cup and staminal disk.

55 species of N. Amer., especially the W. portion; 4 in TX; 2 here.

Some species are cultivated for their flowers, which in some are blue (Mabberley 1987).

1. Leaves usually acute (rarely not); peduncles generally axillary, elongate and naked except perhaps for a few bracts at the summit ...1.C.americanus

var. pitcheri

1. Leaves obtuse to slightly acute; peduncles usually short, terminal on regular leafy

branches ...2.C.herbaceus

1.C. americanusRHAMNACEAE CEANOTHUS americanus L. var. pitcheri T. & G. (New) Jersey tea, Redroot. Low but erect shrub to 1 m tall, sometimes nearly suffrutescent, often from large, woody rootstocks; flowering branches slender, glabrous to sparsely pubescent. Leaves alternate, deciduous, ovate to broadly elliptic or broadly oblong-ovate, 3 to 10 cm long, 1 to 6 cm broad, acute or rarely bluntish, base rounded to subcordate or cuneate, irregularly serrate with gland-tipped teeth, strongly 3-nerved, densely soft-pubescent beneath, less densely so above. Peduncles on new growth, axillary, elongate, naked except perhaps for a few bracteal leaves at the apex, 4 to 10 cm long, equalling or longer than the leaves, but shorter toward the top of the plant; inflorescence a raceme of umbellate cymes or corymbs, rachis pubescent; pedicels glabrous. Calyx lobes ca. 1.3 mm long, white; petals ca. 1.6 mm long with a claw 1 mm long, gray-white to cream; staminal disk 10-lobed; ovary 3-locular. Capsule 4 to 5 mm broad, 3-lobed, the lobes crested, black; hypanthium persistent; seeds dark reddish brown, smooth and shiny. Usually on sandy soils of woods and openings, also prairies. E., SE., N. Cen., and S. Cen. TX; this variety from GA to IN, IL, IA, KS, and TX; the species as a whole from Que. to MN, S. to FL and TX. Spring, our collections from May. Some sources do not recognize varieties.

The dried leaves were used as a tea substitute by the American colonists during the Revolutionary War. The roots have astringent properties and have been used in medicines (Tull, 1987). Native American tribes used the roots to treat bowel troubles, snakebite, and colds, and made various teas from the leaves (Kindscher, 1992).

2.C. herbaceusRHAMNACEAE CEANOTHUS herbaceus Raf. Redroot. Shrub from stout rootstocks, to ca. 1 m tall. Leaves oblong to elliptic, lance-oblong or oblanceolate, 2 to 6 cm long, apically obtuse to rarely nearly acute, serrate with gland-tipped teeth, upper surface glabrescent to sparsely pubescent, lower surface densely pubescent to villous. Panicles terminal on regular leafy branchlets; peduncles only 1 to 2(5) cm long. Flowers white; calyx lobes ca. 1.6 mm long; petals ca. 1.5 mm long, the claw about 1/2 that length; disk ca. 1.5 mm broad, usually 10-lobed; ovary 3-lobed. Capsule 2 to 4.5 mm wide, without crests; seeds ca. 2 mm long, glossy, brownish. Usually on well-drained clays and loams in prairies or brushland, also on limestone bluffs; in our area known from calcareous sandstone in Grimes Co.; N. Cen. and S. Cen. TX, also the Panhandle and Ed. Plat; E. U.S. and Canada. Spring, ours from May. [Includes var. pubescens (T. & G.) Shinners, formerly applied to very pubescent plants such as ours; C. pubescens Rydb.; C. ovatus Desf.].


Grape Family

Woody vines or viny shrubs, some (not ours) shrubs, climbing by tendrils, sometimes tendrils tipped with adhesive disks. Leaves alternate, simple or compound; stipules deciduous. Inflorescences at the nodes, opposite the leaves, paniculate or cymose. Flowers commonly unisexual and perfect on the same plant, usually many, small, regular, usually greenish, more or less perigynous and often with a ring- or cup-shaped disk, ours 4- or 5-merous. Calyx very small, the lobes essentially obsolete. Petals valvate, in some genera, e.g. Vitis, more or less apically united and falling at anthesis. Stamens opposite the petals, abortive in the pistillate flowers; anthers introrse. Ovary superior, usually bicarpellate and bilocular, style 1. Fruit a 1- or 2-locular berry, each locule usually with 2 seeds. Seeds deeply grooved, bony.

13 genera and ca. 800 species, mostly of tropical and subtropical regions; 4 genera and 17 species in TX; 4 genera and 11 species here.

The family includes many cultivated ornamentals, notably in Cissus, Parthenocissus, and Ampelopsis. Grapes belong to the genus Vitis (Mabberley 1987).

1. Leaves palmately compound, usually with 5 leaflets ...............................1. Parthenocissus

1. Leaves simple, ternate, or pinnately compound .....................................................................2

2(1) Stems (except in V. rotundifolia) with brown pith interrupted or diaphragmmed at the nodes, in age without lenticels and with bark exfoliating in shreds; inflorescence a

compound thyrse; petals united apically and falling as a unit at anthesis ...................2. Vitis

2. Stems with white, uninterrupted pith, in age lenticels visible on tight, non-exfoliating bark; inflorescence cymose; petals free, falling separately .............................................................3

3(2) Cyme umbelliform; flowers 4-merous; leaves more or less succulent ..................3. Cissus

3. Cyme dichotomously branched; flowers 5-merous; leaves not succulent ....4. Ampelopsis


Climbing or scrambling woody vines with tendrils, in some species the tendrils with adhesive disks. Leaves petiolate, palmately compound, thin-textured (as opposed to succulent in Cissus), leaflets usually 3 to 7, coarsely serrate. Inflorescence cymose or a panicle of cymes; flowers perfect or unisexual. Calyx small, with 5 tiny lobes. Petals (4)5, free, reflexed or spreading, thick, concave, expanding before falling. Disk indistinct or absent. Stamens (4)5, opposite the petals. Ovary 2-celled, ovules 2 per cell. Fruit a thin-fleshed berry with 1 to 4 seeds.

About 10 species of temperate N. Amer. and Asia; 3 in TX; 1 here.

Several species are cultivated ornamental vines, including P. tricuspidata, Boston Ivy, and our own P. quinquefolia (Bailey 1976; Mabberley 1987).

1. P. quinquefolia (L.) Planch. Virginia Creeper, Hiedra, Parra. Climbing or scrambling vine, tendrils 3- to 8-branched, with adhesive disks at the tips, sometimes with aerial roots; old stems brown, slightly roughened, lenticels visible, younger branchlets red to green or brown, slightly flattened. Leaves petiolate, with (3)5(7) leaflets, leaflets petiolulate, elliptic to obovate or oblong-obovate, to ca. 15 cm long and 5 cm broad, the central one the largest, apically acuminate, basally usually cuneate, coarsely toothed at least in the upper half, upper surface dull green and glabrous, lower surface paler and glabrous or occasionally pubescent. Inflorescences terminal and from the axils of the upper leaves or opposite the upper leaves, forming a panicle of cymes with a well-defined central axis, glabrous, with 25 to 200 flowers. Petals 5, 2 to 3 mm long, yellowish green; disk small or indistinct, adnate to the ovary; stamens 5. Berries black to dark blue, globose, 5 to 8 mm in diameter; seeds 1 to 3(4), obovoid, 3.5 to 4 mm long, shiny brown. Woods, rocky banks or slopes, wood edges, and fencerows. E. 1/2 TX; ME, OH, and SD, S. to FL and TX. May-July. Fall foliage color red. [Includes var. hirsuta (Donn) Fern.; P. hirsuta (Donn) Small; Psedera hirsuta (Donn) Greene; Psedera quinquefolia (L.) Greene].

A number of horticultural varieties have been described (Vines 1960). Several sources (e.g. Tull 1987; GPFA 1986) report that the berries are poisonous or that the plants have dangerously high levels of oxalic acid, but Lampe (1985) lists the plant as merely having irritant raphides (calcium oxalate crystals). The stems can be used in basketry (Tull 1987).


Woody vines or viny shrubs, ours all deciduous, climbing with simple or branched tendrils. Bark usually loose in age, exfoliating in shreds and without or with only inconspicuous lenticels, pith brown, interrupted at the nodes by paler diaphragms (one local species, V. rotundifolia, with tight, non-exfoliating bark and no nodal diaphragms). Leaves simple, usually more or less cordate in overall outline, entire to deeply palmately 3- or 5-lobed, margins usually dentate or serrate, apex obtuse to acuminate, base typically cordate with a broad sinus, pubescence various; stipules promptly deciduous. Flowers in compound thyrses produced opposite the leaves, flowers minute, fragrant, mostly 5-merous, pedicellate, mostly functionally unisexual and plants functionally polygamo-dioecious. Calyx minute and reduced, represented by a collar at the base of the flower. Corolla of (3)5(9) petals, 1 to 3 mm long, united apically, separating at the base, deciduous as a unit at anthesis. Stamens (3)5(9), filaments erect and 2 to 7 mm long in staminate flowers, reflexed or absent in pistillate flowers. Intrastaminal nectary disk of 5 more or less separate glands alternate with the stamens. Pistil 0.5 to 2 mm long, with 2(3 or 4) locules, ovules 2 per locule; style short and stigma capitate. Fruit a juicy berry with 1 to 4 seeds. Seeds pyriform to obovoid, the ventral surface with 2 longitudinal grooves, the dorsal with 1 broader groove.

About 65 species of the N. hemisphere; 11 in TX; 7 to be expected here. An invaluable reference is Moore (1991). (The reader is referred to this very complete source for grapes encountered outside the strict local area.

Though many species have edible fruit and are made into wine, V. vinifera, originally from SW Asia, is the typical wine and champagne grape. There are hundreds of cultivars, many of which involve hybridization with American species such as V. labrusca. Most European wine grapes are now grown on clonal American rootstocks which are resistant to the phylloxera insect. V. labrusca includes the common cultivars 'Concord' and 'Catawba'. Raisins and sultanas are the dried fruits of some grape varieties; some of these are sometimes called currants but are not to be confused with true currants, which are Ribes (Bailey, 1976; Mabberley 1987). Some species are grown as ornamentals, often on arbors; some have colored foliage (Bailey 1976). The stems of many are useful for "wicker" work or basketry (Tull 1987). Our local species are all important wildlife foods.

NOTE: For positive identification, it is helpful to have mature leaves, young growing tips, and flower or fruit. It is often necessary to split the stems lengthwise to examine the nodal pith--this is much easier to do before drying.

1. Bark of older stems tight, not exfoliating; lenticels conspicuous; pith continuous; tendrils unbranched; leaves cordate to reniform, essentially glabrous ...1.V.rotundifolia

var. rotundifolia

1. Bark of older stems loose, exfoliating in strips; lenticels absent or inconspicuous; pith diaphragmmed at nodes; tendrils usually bifurcate or trifurcate; leaves variously shaped, variously pubescent or glabrous ..............................................................................................2

2(1) Leaves densely whitish-tomentose beneath, the hairs essentially concealing the leaf surface even on mature leaves; fruits greater than 12 mm in diameter ...................................


2. Leaves glabrous to variously pubescent, but the lower surface visible through the hairs; fruits more or less than 12 mm in diameter .............................................................................3

3(2) Mature leaves pubescent beneath on major and minor veins ................................................4

3. Mature leaves essentially glabrous beneath except perhaps along the major veins and/or with tufts of hair in the vein axils ...............................................................................................5

4(3) Lower surface of mature leaves glaucous, nodes often glaucous (look beneath any hairs); current season's branches terete; berries 8 to 20 mm in diameter; leaves of flowering branches shallowly to deeply lobed, the sinuses without teeth ...3.V.aestivalis

4. Lower surface of mature leaves not glaucous; nodes not glaucous, commonly banded with red; current season's branches slightly to strongly angled; berries 4 to 8 mm in diameter; if leaves lobed, the sinuses with teeth ...4.V.cinerea

5(3) Growing tips enclosed by enlarged, enfolding leaves; nodal diaphragms less than 1 mm wide; mature fruits densely glaucous ...5.V.riparia

5. Growing tips not enclosed by enfolding leaves; nodal diaphragms more than 1 mm wide; mature berries little if at all glaucous .......................................................................................6

6(5) Leaf apices usually long-acuminate; current season's stems commonly purplish-red; nodal diaphragms broader than 2.5 mm ...6.V.palmata

6. Leaf apices usually acute to short-acuminate; current season's growth gray, green, brown, or red-purple on only 1 side; nodal diaphragms narrower than 2.5 mm ...7.V.vulpina

1.V. rotundifoliaVITACEAE VITIS rotundifolia Michx. var. rotundifolia Muscadine Grape, Scuppernong, Bullace Grape. High-climbing vine, to 30 m or more; tendril unbranched; bark tight, not shredding, on older branches in plates, younger branches with obvious lenticels; current season's branchlets terete or slightly angled; pith continuous at the nodes, not diaphragmmed; nodes sometimes banded with red pigment externally, very young or rapidly growing herbage usually with thin gray arachnoid pubescence or with denser, rusty arachnoid pubescence or the nodes and hairs of the leaf surface pinkish, all this pubescence eventually deciduous. Petioles about equalling the blades, glabrous to glabrate; blades cordate to reniform, very rarely with any lobing, 5 to 12 cm long and about as wide, margin usually sharply dentate, sometimes crenate, apex acute to short-acuminate, base cordate with a broad sinus to more or less truncate, upper surface of mature leaves glabrous and shiny, lower surface glabrous or with some inconspicuous hirtellous pubescence on the major veins and in their axils; stipules 1 to 2 mm long. Inflorescences 3 to 8 cm long (rarely more), their outline usually globose, at maturity with fewer than 25 berries or pedicels. Berries 8 to 25 mm in diameter, black, purplish, or occasionally bronze, with tan lenticels, glaucescent; seeds 3 to 4, brown, ovoid to ellipsoid, 5 to 8 mm long. Common in woods, both upland and lowland. E. TX; FL to TX, N. to DE, VA, WV, IN, MO, and OK. Flowering late Apr.-May; fruit ripening late July-Sept. [Muscadinia rotundifolia Michx.].

The fruits are edible, the pulp sweet but the skin rather tough and astringent. The juice makes good jam, jelly, and wine. The "Scuppernong" variety has silvery-amber fruits. Few natural hybrids are known, except with the other variety of the species, var. munsoniana (Simpson ex Munson) M. O. Moore [=V. munsoniana Simpson ex Munson], which occurs in FL, FA, and AL (Vines 1960).

2.V. mustangensisVITACEAE VITIS mustangensis Buckl. Mustang Grape. High-climbing and vigorous vine; tendrils 2- or 3- branched; bark exfoliating in shreds on branches 2 or more years old, young growth whitish-tomentose, becoming less tomentose with age; lenticels inconspicuous or absent; pith brown, interrupted at the nodes by diaphragms 1.5 to 3(5) mm wide; nodes neither glaucous nor with red pigment externally. Petioles ca. 1/2 to 3/4 as long as the blades, densely whitish tomentose; blades broadly cordate to reniform in overall outline, commonly concavely folded, 6 to 14 cm long and as wide or wider, apex acute to obtuse, base nearly truncate to cordate with wide a wide sinus, usually unlobed, but sometimes with "shoulders" or deeply 3- to 5-lobed, when lobed, the lobes acute and the sinuses rounded and without teeth; margins commonly nearly entire or with broad, low, obtuse teeth; upper surface of older leaves floccose to glabrous, lower surface remaining densely white (or occasionally rusty) tomentose, the surface usually wholly obscured except perhaps for the veins; stipules 1.5 to 4 mm long, quickly deciduous. Inflorescences 4 to 10 cm long, usually broadly triangular in outline, rachis arachnoid-pubescent to floccose, with fewer than 25 berries, sometimes fewer than 12. Berries 12 to ca. 20 mm in diameter, black or occasionally dark red, scarcely if at all glaucous, without lenticels; seeds dark brown, ovoid to globose, 6 to 7 mm long. Very common in woods and thickets, on fencerows, roadsides, slopes, wood margins, etc., especially in disturbed areas. E. 1/2 TX; TX and W. LA to S. OK; a disjunct population in AL. Flowering May-June; fruiting Aug.-Sept. [Includes var. diversa (Bailey) Shinners; V. candicans Engelm. ex Gray--an ambiguous name in many older publications].

The fruit is edible, with a sweet pulp but an astringent, rather irritating skin. Often used in making wine. Natural hybrids are reported with V. cinerea, V. vulpina, V. aestivalis, and others. Artificial hybrids have been made with V. vinifera (Vines 1960).

3.V. aestivalisVITACEAE VITIS aestivalis Michx. High-climbing vine to 10 m or more, forming a bushy clump if unsupported; bark of older stems exfoliating in shreds, lenticels none or inconspicuous; current season's branchlets terete, tomentose to arachnoid-floccose or glabrous; pith brown, interrupted at the nodes by diaphragms 1 to 4 mm thick, nodes sometimes glaucous, not banded with red pigment. Petioles about as long as the blades, glabrate to pubescent; blades cordate to orbicular in outline, 7 to 20 cm long and as wide or wider, base with a deep, rounded sinus, apex acute, unlobed, with "shoulders" or with 3 to 5 lobes, if lobed, the lobes acute and sinuses rounded to acute, without teeth; margin crenate to dentate, upper surface of mature leaves glabrous to pubescent, lower surface definitely glaucous (areas enclosed by smallest veins have a definite white-waxy look--use a lens and look beneath any hair) and with some degree of arachnoid or floccose pubescence, the hairs whitish or more often rusty, sometimes some hirtellous hairs also present on the vines or in their axils; stipules 1 to 4 mm long. Inflorescences 7 to 20 cm long, commonly slenderly triangular, usually with more than 25 berries or pedicels. Berries 8 to 20 mm in diameter, dark blue to black, glaucous, without lenticels, 3- or 4-seeded; seeds tan or brown, pyriform, 3 to 8 mm long. Usually on well-drained soils of various types, in woods, thickets, scrubland, fencerows, riverbanks, etc.; rarely in floodplain or bottomland woods. (This preference for drier sites, as well as the glaucous leaves and berries, distinguishes this species from V. cinerea). E. N. America and S. Can. Flowering Apr.-Jun; fruiting about Sept.

Two varieties possible here; a third is not found in TX.

var. aestivalis Summer Grape, Pigeon Grape, Bunch Grape. Leaf undersurfaces moderately to densely glaucous, variously arachnoid pubescent; nodes usually not glaucous; pith diaphragms more than 2 mm broad; berries 9 to 14 mm in diameter. E. 1/3 TX; MA to SE. IA, MO, E. OK, E. TX, and FL.

The berries vary in taste and quality from dry and astringent to juicy and sweet--and then good for wine and jelly. They are eaten by many birds and mammals, including turkey and deer. Several horticultural varieties have been developed (Vines 1960).

var. lincecumii (Buckl.) Munson Post Oak Grape, Pinewoods Grape. Similar to the typical variety, but the current season's branchlets more or less densely tomentose; pith diaphragms usually less than 2 mm broad; stipules less than 1.5 mm long; leaves quite commonly 3- to 5-lobed; berries usually more than 14 mm in diameter, heavily glaucous; seeds 7 to 8 mm long. Flowering a little earlier and somewhat more drought tolerant. Usually on well-drained upland sites--sandy open woods, scrub, thickets, etc. E. and S. Cen. TX, W. to Bastrop Co.; also W. LA. Vines (1960) included in the range OK and AR, E to MI, N. to IN, and MO. Definitely present in our area, in fact, probably more common than var. aestivalis. [V. lincecumii Buckl.; originally misspelled "linsecomii" and sometimes appearing so in print.].

Hybrids are known with V. cinerea, V. rupestris, V. vulpina, V. mustangensis, etc. (Vines 1960).

4.V. cinereaVITACEAE VITIS cinerea (Engelm. in Gray) Engelm. ex Millard. Sweet Grape, Graybark Grape, Parra Silvestre, Sweet Winter Grape, Ashy Grape, etc. High-climbing vine, mature stems with bark exfoliating in shreds, lenticels absent or inconspicuous; current season's branchlets slender and obviously angled (use a lens), covered with dense, short, straight hairs and or some degree of arachnoid pubescence, varying to glabrate; pith brown, interrupted at the nodes by diaphragms 1.5 to 3.5 mm broad; nodes often banded with red pigment externally, not glaucous. Petioles about as long as the blades, puberulent to pubescent with hirtellous trichomes, often also thinly arachnoid-pubescent; blades cordate in outline, to ca. 20 cm long, apex acute, base with a deep, rounded sinus, unlobed to shouldered or sometimes with 3 lobes, when lobed the sinuses with teeth, margin crenate-dentate, glabrous to pubescent above, lower surface not glaucous, sparsely to moderately (usually whitish) arachnoid pubescent go glabrous, hirtellous (straight) hairs also often present on the veins or in their tufts; stipules 1 to 3 mm long. Inflorescences 10 to 25 cm long, usually broadly triangular, at maturity usually with more than 25 berries or pedicels. Berries 4 to 8 mm in diameter, black, scarcely to moderately or densely glaucous, without lenticels; seeds 3 to 4, brown, obovoid, 2 to 4 mm long. Usually in moist habitats: river and creek banks, bottomlands, pond margins, etc. (as opposed to V. aestivalis which prefers drier sites). N. Cen. and E. TX; S. MO, IL, and IN to S. PA, S. to FL and TX, N. to OK and KS. Flowering May-June; fruit ripening July-Oct.

Four varieties; both TX varieties possible in our area.

var. cinerea Current season's branchlets with short, straight hairs, occasionally with arachnoid pubescence also; leaves usually more than 10 cm long, moderately arachnoid pubescent and/or hirtellous below; berries scarcely if at all glaucous. Low, often wooded sites. S. IA, S. IL, and S. IN, S. to E. KS, E. OK, and E. TX; a few locations also in AL and FL. Definitely present in our area. [Includes var. canescens (Engelm.) Bailey ex Gray; V. aestivalis Michx. var. canescens Engelm. or Engelm in Gray].

Said to hybridize with V. aestivalis, V. vulpina, V. rupestris, V. mustangensis, etc. The fruit is eaten by many species of birds and mammals (Vines 1960).

var. helleri (Bailey) M. O. Moore Heller Grape. Similar to above, but with the berries moderately to densely glaucous; current season's branchlets usually without hirtellous pubescence and not as strongly angled; leaf blades usually less than 10 cm long, the undersides only sparsely hirtellous or sometimes glabrate. In TX, most common on the Ed. Plat, but also in the Cross Timbers and Prairies and in the Blackland Prairies. [V. berlandieri Planch.; V. cinerea (Engelm. in Gray) Engelm. ex Millard var. berlandieri (Planch) Comeaux; V. cordifolia Lam. var. helleri Bailey; V. helleri (Bailey) Small].

Reported to hybridize with V. mustangensis, V. rupestris, etc. (Vines 1960).

5.V. ripariaVITACEAE VITIS riparia Michx. Riverbank Grape, Frost Grape. Moderately high-climbing vine, older stems sometimes with great girth; bark exfoliating in shreds, lenticels inconspicuous or none; current season's branchlets terete; young stems and leaves glabrous to slightly hirtellous (to slightly arachnoid in LA material); growing tips enclosed by enfolding leaves; pith brown, interrupted at the nodes by diaphragms usually less than 0.5 mm broad; nodes not glaucous or red externally. Petioles about half as long as the blades, slightly to moderately hirtellous; blades cordate in overall outline, 7 to 15 cm long and about as wide, with "shoulders" or shallowly 3-lobed, margins sharply dentate-serrate, base usually cordate (to sometimes nearly truncate), apex short-acuminate, upper surface glabrous, yellow-green, lower surface usually green hirtellous on the veins and in the vein axils or glabrate; stipules 3 to 5 mm long. Inflorescences 7 to 12 cm long, slenderly triangular in outline, at maturity usually with more than 25 berries or pedicels. Berries 8 to 12 mm in diameter, black, heavily glaucous, without lenticels; seeds 3 or 4, dark brown, pyriform, 5 to 6 mm long. Various habitats, mostly on moist soils of streambanks, pond margins, alluvial forests, etc., but also on fencerows, roadsides, and so on. Trans Pecos, E. to N. Cen. TX, apparently possible in our area but no specimens seen by the author; New Brunswick W. to Sask., S. to VA, TN, MS, LA, and TX, W. to KS, NE, SD, and ND; also the Pacific Northwest. Flowering Apr.-June; fruiting Aug.-Sept., the leaves often turning yellow and falling to reveal the ripening fruit. [Includes var. syrticola (Fern. & Wieg.) Fern.; V. cordifolia Lam. var. riparia (Michx.) Gray; V. vulpina var. syrticola Fern. & Wieg.; V. vulpina subsp. riparia (Michx.) Clausen; V. vulpina of authors, but not V. vulpina L.].

Said to hybridize with V. rupestris, V. vulpina, V. aestivalis, V. cinerea, etc. (Vines 1960).

6.V. palmataVITACEAE VITIS palmata Vahl Cat Grape, Catbird Grape, Missouri Grape, Red Grape. High-climbing vine, stems slender; older with bark exfoliating in shreds; current season's branchlets subterete and usually wholly deep crimson or purplish red, at maturity changing to reddish-brown to chestnut; pith brown, interrupted at the nodes by diaphragms 2.5 to 4 mm thick; tendrils red when young. Petioles reddish, slender, somewhat shorter than the blades, glabrous to puberulent; blades usually cordate with a broad, rounded basal sinus, 7 to 12 cm long, long-acuminate, commonly deeply 3-(5-)lobed, lobes long-acuminate, sinuses acute to rounded, with or without teeth, margin sharply dentate to serrate, upper surface glabrous, the lower glabrous or only hirtellous on the veins and in the vein axils; stipules 1.5 to 3 mm long. Inflorescences 5 to 18 cm long, usually slenderly triangular, usually with more than 25 berries or pedicels at maturity. Berries 8 to 10 mm in diameter, thick-skinned, blue black to black, little if at all glaucous, sweet when fully ripe; seeds 3 to 4, globose, 4 to 7 mm long, usually more or less filling the berry. Margins of ponds and sloughs, and in low woods and floodplains. E. TX; IL and IN S. to MO, TX, AL and the panhandle of FL. Flowering late in relation to other species--mid to late June; fruit ripening late July-Oct. [V. rubra Michx.].

7.V. vulpinaVITACEAE VITIS vulpina L. Fox Grape, Winter Grape, Frost Grape, Chicken Grape, Riverbank Grape. High-climbing vine, stems stout; bark of mature stems exfoliating in shreds, lenticels absent or inconspicuous; current season's branchlets slightly angled when very young, becoming terete, very young shoots and leaves glabrous to sparsely arachnoid pubescent but not tomentose, if new branchlets with any red coloration, then red only on one side (cf. V. palmata with young growth entirely reddish or purplish); pith brown, interrupted at the nodes by diaphragms 1 to 2.5 m thick. Petioles about as long as the blades, sparsely to moderately hirtellous or glabrous; blades cordate, ca. 8 to 18 cm long, often with "shoulders" to shallowly 3-lobed, deeply lobed only on ground shoots, margin irregularly dentate to serrate, base usually cordate, apex acute to short-acuminate; glabrous to very sparsely hirtellous and often lustrous above, lower surface with short straight pubescence on the veins and in the vein axils to more or less glabrous, rarely with very sparse arachnoid pubescence; stipules 1.5 to 3 mm long. Inflorescences 8 to 19 cm long, slenderly triangular in outline, usually with more than 25 berries or pedicels at maturity. Berries 8 to 12 mm in diameter, black, not or only very slightly glaucous, without lenticels; seeds 3 to 4, ovoid, 3 to 5 mm long. Well-drained woods of various types, wood edges, fencerows and thickets, less commonly in bottomland woods and floodplains. About the E. 1/3 TX, more common northward; SE. NY to MO and E. KS, S. to FL, and N. Cen. TX. Flowering May; fruit ripening July-Aug. [V. cordifolia Michx. and vars. foetida Engelm. and sempervirens Munson; V. pullaria LeConte; V. illex Bailey].

This species has been used extensively as a rootstock in Europe. Known hybrids include crosses with V. aestivalis, V. mustangensis, V. cinerea, V. riparia, V. rotundifolia, etc. The fruit is eaten by birds and mammals and is suitable for jellies and wine (Vines 1960).


About 350 species, mostly in the tropics but some subtropical; we have the 1 species found in TX.

The genus includes several species grown as houseplants--C. quadrangula, C. rhombifolia, etc.--which are often called Treebine, Kangaroo Treebine, and so forth (Bailey, et al. 1976).

1. C. trifoliata (L.) L. Cow-itch, Marine Ivy, (Ivy) Treebine; Hierba del Buey. Vine from a tuberous root; stems stout, climbing or scrambling, to 10 m long or more; older stems tight-barked, warty; young branchlets usually 6-ridged, becoming more or less quadrangular, lenticels obvious, orange-red and becoming warty; tendrils without adhesive disk tips; pith white, uninterrupted; foliage rather unpleasantly scented when bruised. Leaves deciduous or semi-evergreen, succulent and fleshy, somewhat rubbery, to 8 cm long, quite variable in shape, from simple and broadly ovate or ovate-reniform to 3-lobed or trifoliolate with obovate to ovate, cuneate leaflets, margins coarsely and irregularly toothed. Peduncles usually longer than the leaves below; inflorescences umbelliform cymes, axillary or sometimes appearing terminal if in the axil of the uppermost leaf. Flowers perfect or unisexual, regular, 4-merous. Calyx campanulate, with 4 lobes; petals greenish, free, spreading, slightly cucullate (hooded); stamens opposite the petals; disk 4-lobed, cup-shaped, free of the ovary except at the base. Pedicels recurved in fruit; berry obovoid, black, 6 to 9 mm long, beaked by the persistent style, flesh dry; seeds 1 to 4, trigonous-obovoid, 2-grooved apically, 5 to 7 mm long, brownish. Climbing or sprawling on rocks or vegetation of open woods, chaparral, salt marshes, railroad grades, etc. Throughout much of TX, rare in the extreme E. and the Panhandle; MO & KS, S. to FL, TX, and Mex. Flowering May-Sept. [C. incisa of authors but not (Nutt.) Des Moul.; Sicyos trifoliatus L.].


Climbing vines or erect viney shrubs. Bark tight, not exfoliating, lenticels prominent. Pith white, uninterrupted. Tendrils sometimes present opposite the leaves. Leaves deciduous, thin-textured, simple or pinnately compound. Inflorescence a dichotomously branched cyme; flowers small, greenish, usually 5-merous and perfect. Calyx saucer-shaped, the lobes usually rudimentary. Petals distinct, spreading. Nectary disk cup-shaped, free of the ovary except at the bottom, entire to slightly crenate; stigma capitate. Fruit a pulpy or sometimes dry berry with 1 to several trigonous-obovoid seeds.

About 20 species of temperate and subtropical America; 2 in TX; both here.

A few species are cultivated as ornamental climbers (Mabberley 1987).

1. Leaves 2- or 3-pinnate or else ternate ...1.A.arborea

1. Leaves simple or shallowly lobed ...2.A.cordata

1.A. arboreaVITACEAE AMPELOPSIS arborea (L.) Koehne Peppervine. High-climbing or rampant-sprawling vine with forked tendrils; stems with lenticels visible, young stems reddish tan; herbage glabrous or with a few scattered hairs. Leave petiolate, triangular-ovate in overall outline, 2 or 3 times odd pinnately compound, occasionally ternate, to 15 cm long or longer, leaflets rhombic-ovate to ovate, the largest 3 to 7 cm long, acute to acuminate, base rounded or subtruncate to cuneate, margin toothed and incised, the teeth apiculate, upper surface deep green, paler below; rachis and petiolules sparsely pubescent. Cymes produced opposite the leaves, more or less puberulent, dichotomously branched, usually less than 8 cm long. Staminal disk thick, adherent to the ovary at the base. Berries subglobose to ovoid, 1 to 1.5 cm broad, black or purple-black, juicy-pulpy. Fairly common in woods and waste places, on fencerows, and in swamp woods, etc. Primarily in E. and SE. TX; FL to TX and NE. Mex., N. to MD, IL, MO, and OK. Flowering Jun.-Aug.; fruit ripening in fall--ours mostly Sept. [Cissus arborea (L.) Des Moul.].

The berries are visually appealing but are definitely not palatable. Tull (1987) reports colorfast gold and brown dyes from this plant.

2.A. cordataVITACEAE AMPELOPSIS cordata Michx. Heartleaf Ampelopsis. High climbing vine with occasional forked tendrils (very few on flowering branches); bark tight, not exfoliating, lenticels visible; pith white, uninterrupted; herbage nearly glabrous. Leaves petiolate; blades cordate to broadly ovate or suborbicular-ovate, to ca. 15 cm long, basally truncate or cordate, apically acuminate, margin coarsely and shallowly serrate, rarely some leaves with "shoulders" or shallowly 3-lobed, dark to medium green above, paler beneath. Inflorescences long-peduncled paniculate cymes. Functionally staminate flowers: calyx lobes minute; petals ovate, 2.5 mm long; stamens attached at the base of a cup-like disk; pistil vestigial. Functionally pistillate flowers: calyx lobes to 0.2 mm long; petals to 2.8 mm long; vestigial stamens present; ovary ca. 8 mm long, about 1/2 enclosed by the disk; style slender, to 1.8 mm long. Berries depressed-globose, 7 to 10 mm in diameter, ripening from green through orange-pink and ending turquoise, blue-purple, or greenish. Rich woods near streams and rivers. E. 1/2 TX and Panhandle; FL to TX and Mex., N. to VA, OH, IN, IL, and NE. Flowering Apr.-June; fruiting summer to fall. [Cissus ampelopsis Pers.].

The berries are not edible by humans, but a number of birds do eat them (Vines 1960). This plant strongly resembles a grapevine, but the cymose rather than truly paniculate inflorescence, tight bark, and uninterrupted pith provide clues to its identity.


Flax Family

Ours perennial or annual herbs. Leaves simple, alternate, opposite, or occasionally whorled; stipules in ours represented by glands at the base of the petiole or absent. Inflorescence racemose or cymose; flowers perfect, regular. Sepals (4)5, imbricate. Petals (4)5, free or rarely basally united, convolute in bud, usually falling quickly, yellow, blue, or white. Stamens 5, alternate with the petals; staminodia sometimes present and alternate with the stamens. Ovary superior, of 2 to 5 united carpels, placentation axile or apical-axile, locules 2 to 5 or sometimes twice as many due to the presence of false septa, or sometimes the partitions not reaching the apex and the ovary unilocular (usually not so in ours); ovules 2 per carpel; styles as many as the carpels, free or united; stigmas slender to capitate. Fruit in ours a septicidal capsule; seeds flat and oily.

15 genera and ca. 300 species worldwide; 1 genus and 21 species in TX; 7 here.

The family is most important for flax, Linum usitatissimum (see below).


As described for the family. Leaves mostly alternate or opposite, essentially sessile in ours; stipular glands when present visible as dark dots on either side of the leaf bases. Flowers 5-merous. Ovary 5-carpellate, the fruit separating into 5, 2-seeded segments or 10, 1-seeded segments.

About 20 species of temperate and subtropic regions, especially the Mediterranean; 21 species in TX; 7 in our immediate area. A major reference for our plants is Rogers (1984). His previous articles are also useful (Rogers 1964a, 1964b, and 1968).

Some species are cultivated for ornamentals; L. usitatissimum is flax (Mabberley 1987). Many yellow-flowered species have synonyms in Cathartolinum (Rogers 1984).

NOTE: For confident identification, specimens should have flowers at anthesis and some mature, dehiscing fruit. It is easiest to see any fusion of the styles on immature fruit as even united styles can be torn apart lengthwise when the fruit dehisces.

1. Flowers blue (rarely white) .......................................................................................................2

1. Flowers yellow ..........................................................................................................................3

2(1) Inner sepals with ciliolate margins; petals 10 to 15 mm long; styles 3 to 6 mm long


2. Inner sepals entire; petals 6 to 11 mm long; styles 1 to 3 mm long ...2.L.pratense

3(2) Styles separate or nearly so; fruit ultimately separating into 10 single-seeded segments ....4

3. Styles united to above the middle; fruit ultimately separating into 5 2-seeded segments .....6

4(3) Outer sepals with glandular teeth; styles briefly united at the base ...3.L.sulcatum

var. sulcatum

4. Outer sepals entire; styles completely free .............................................................................5

5(4) Margins of inner sepals with stalked glands; mature fruit in dried specimens usually remaining on the plant ...4.L.medium

var. texanum

5. Margins of inner sepals glandless or with inconspicuous glands; mature fruit in dried specimens usually shattering ...5.L.striatum

6(3) Sepal margins entire or fringed, without glands; flowers usually few at the ends of leafy branches; leaves appressed ...6.L.imbricatum

6. Sepals margins glandular-toothed; flowers in racemes or panicles; leaves perhaps ascending, but not appressed ...7.L.berlandieri

var. berlandieri

1.L. usitatissimumLINACEAE LINUM usitatissimum L. Common Flax, Linaza. Annual; stems usually several from the base or branched at the base, erect, 2 to 10 dm tall; herbage glabrous. Leaves alternate, linear to narrowly lanceolate or narrowly elliptic, 1 to 4 cm long, 1.5 to 5 mm broad, acute; stipular glands none. Inflorescence paniculate, pedicels 0.5 to 3 cm long, at fruit maturity erect or ascending. Sepals 6 to 9 mm long, scarious-margined, acute to acuminate, the outer entire, the inner with margins ciliolate; petals blue, rarely white, 10 to 15(20) mm long; stamens 5 to 7 mm long; staminodia present or absent; styles separate, 3 to 6 mm long, stigmas slender. Capsule broadly ovoid to subglobose, pointed, 6 to 10 mm long, 6 to 9 mm broad, tardily and not readily dehiscent into 10 single-seeded segments; false septa incomplete, ciliate or eciliate; seeds 4 to 5 mm long. Escaping from cultivation but usually not long persisting; our area within the known range of escape; S. and NE. TX; sporadic in N. America. Not known in the wild, but cultivated from antiquity and perhaps a cultigen of L. bienne Mill. (Mabberley 1987). Mar.-July. [L. humile Mill.].

This plant is the source of linen fibers. The oil (known as linseed oil) from the seeds has many uses in paints, varnishes, soap, etc., while the seed meal is used in cattle feed (Mabberley 1987).

2.L. pratenseLINACEAE LINUM pratense (Nort.) Small. Meadow Flax. Annual from a sometimes stout taproot; stem usually with spreading-ascending branches from the base, 5 to 50 cm tall; herbage glabrous or essentially so. Leaves alternate, crowded below and more widely spaced above, linear to linear-oblanceolate, 8 to 18 mm long, 0.7 to 2.3 mm broad, ascending, acute; stipular glands none. Inflorescence paniculate or racemose; pedicels 8 to 25 mm long, in fruit more or less secund on the branches and usually arching or slightly recurved. Sepals ovate, 3 to 5 mm long, entire, scarious-margined; petals obovate, blue (rarely white), 5 to 11 mm long; stamens 3 to 5 mm long; staminodia slender; styles separate, 1 to 3 mm long stigmas capitate. Fruit broadly ovoid to subglobose, 4 to 6 mm long and about as wide, ultimately breaking into 10 single-seeded segments; false septa incomplete, ciliate; seeds dark brown, lustrous, 3.5 to 4.5 mm long. Sandy open areas, prairies, etc. Primarily in N. and W. TX but our area within the range; KS and CO S. to TX, AZ and Cen. Mex. Mar.-July. [L. lewisii Pursh var. pratense Nort.].

3.L. sulcatumLINACEAE LINUM sulcatum Ridd. var. sulcatum Grooved Flax. Taprooted annual; stem erect, simple below with few to many ascending branches above the middle, 2 to 8.5 dm tall; herbage glabrous. Lower 0 to 13 pairs of leaves opposite, often absent by flowering time, remaining leaves alternate, linear to narrowly lanceolate, sharply acute, 1 to 3 cm long, 1 to 3 mm broad, midvein prominent, upper bracteal leaves glandular-toothed; stipular glands usually present as dark dots, rarely absent. Inflorescence an open panicle; pedicels to 1.5 to 4.5 mm long. Sepals lanceolate, acuminate, 3.5 to 7 mm long, all conspicuously glandular-toothed, the inner somewhat more delicately and with smaller teeth than the outer, central and marginal veins usually visible; petals pale yellow, obovate, 5 to 10 mm long; stamens 3.3 to 5.7 mm long; staminodia none; styles united less than 1/2 their length, usually only for 0.2 to 1.8 mm at the base, 2 to 4.5 mm long. Fruit ovoid or globose, stramineous, 2.5 to 3.3 mm long, 2.1 to 3 mm broad, readily dehiscent into 10 pointed, single-seeded segments; false septa partly developed, ciliate; seeds 1.6 to 2.1 mm long, reddish brown. Prairies and open sandy or gravelly fields. E. 1/2 TX except the Rio Grande Plains; S. Man. S. to E. TX, E. to VT, KY, and GA. May-Aug. [L. bootii Planch.].

4.L. mediumLINACEAE LINUM medium (Planch.) Britt. var. texanum (Planch.) Fern. Sucker Flax. Annual or perennial; stems solitary from the base or commonly several, usually simple below the inflorescence, 1 to 8 dm tall; herbage glabrous. Lower 3 to 20 pairs of leaves opposite (sometimes absent by flowering time), the remainder alternate, narrowly lanceolate to oblanceolate, acute, 1 to 3 cm long, 1.5 to 5.5 mm broad, thin- textured and more or less translucent when held against the light; stipular glands none. Branches of inflorescence more or less elongate, somewhat stiffly ascending to spreading; longer pedicels to 0.5 to 5 mm long, with a slight articulation 0.7 to 1.5 m below the fruit. Sepals lanceolate, acute, the outer entire and 2 to 3.5 mm long, the inner somewhat shorter and wider, with conspicuous glandular teeth (as seen with a lens), all sepals occasionally appressed pubescent within; petals lemon yellow, obovate, 4.5 to 8 mm long; stamens ca. 2.5 mm long; staminodia none; styles wholly separate, 1 to 3 mm long. Fruit depressed-globose, the apex commonly with some purplish pigment, 1.6 to 2.3 mm long, 2 to 2.5 mm broad, commonly remaining on the plant and only tardily dehiscent into 10 single-seeded segments; septa eciliate, the false septa almost complete; seeds 0.6 to 0.8 mm long, reddish-brown. Open fields, meadows, swales, and roadsides, etc. E. 1/3 TX; ME and S. Ont. to IA, S. KS, FL, and TX. May-Aug.

The typical variety is not found in Texas.

5.L. striatumLINACEAE LINUM striatum Walt. Rigid Flax. Perennial from basal offshoots or a crown; stems 1 or usually several, erect-ascending, branched in the inflorescence, 2.5 to 10 dm tall, prominently striate above. Lower 5 to 20 pairs of leaves opposite and sometimes some opposite in the inflorescence, the remainder alternate, usually ca. 20 to 60 below the inflorescence, thin, elliptic to oblanceolate or obovate, obtuse to acute, 1 to 3.5 cm long, 2 to 11 mm broad, reduced upwards; stipular glands none. Inflorescence paniculate, rather elongate, branches slender and spreading; pedicels angular, 0.5 to 4 mm long. Sepals lanceolate to ovate, acute or short acuminate, 1.5 to 3.5 mm long, all entire or the inner with a few small, delicate marginal glands near the apex; petals pale yellow, obovate, 2.7 to 4.6 mm long; stamens 1.5 to 2 mm long; staminodia none; styles separate, 1.2 to 2 mm long. Capsule depressed-globose, pale, 1.3 to 1.9 mm long, 1.8 to 2.3 mm broad, readily dehiscent into 10 single-seeded segments that fall with the seeds enclosed, not usually remaining intact on dried specimens; false septa eciliate, nearly complete; seeds 1 to 1.4 mm long, reddish brown. Open or partly shaded marshes, stream margins, and roadside ditches. Apparently not common in our area; known from Leon Co.; E. TX; TX to N. FL, N. to MI, and MA. May-Aug. [Includes var. multijugum Fern.].

6.L. imbricatumLINACEAE LINUM imbricatum (Raf.) Shinners Tufted Flax. Taprooted annual; stems simple or more commonly branched at the base, branches erect or ascending, 5 to 25 cm tall, terete or essentially so and glabrous below, striate and short hirsute above. Leaves opposite near the base and alternate above, those of the middle and upper stem strongly appressed and imbricate, 5 to 10 mm long, 0.5 to 1 mm broad, midrib cartilaginous, apically acuminate or short-awned, margin of upper leaves ciliate; stipular glands none. Inflorescence few-flowered, often the flowers merely terminating the branches; pedicels 2 to 11 mm long, often concealed by the leaves. Sepals ovate, 4.5 to 6 mm long, awn-tipped, persistent, the midrib usually with a few stiff hairs, margins broad and scarious, often purplish, prominently toothed in the distal 1/2; petals obovate, yellow, sometimes with dark red at the base, 6.5 to 8 mm long; stamens ca. 5 mm long; staminodia none; styles united nearly their entire length, 2.0 to 4.3 mm long. Fruit broadly ovoid, 2.6 to 3 mm long, pale; false septa mostly hyaline but with a cartilaginous strip along the ovary wall, this strip widest at the base of the carpel, inner margin of false septa appressed-pilose; seeds ovate, flattened, 2 to 2.6 mm long. Sandy open places, fairly common in our area. E. Cen. TX and S. OK. Mar.-July. [L. multicaule Hook in T. & G.].

NOTE: L. hudsonioides Planch is very similar and occurs just outside our area, usually to the south and west, but with at least one population to our southeast. (e.g., Waller Co.). It can be distinguished by, among other characters, a lack of hirsute pubescence in the upper portions. On the slim chance that it is one day found in our region, the reader is referred to Rogers (1984) for a complete description and a discussion of the differences between the two species.

8.L. berlandieriLINACEAE LINUM berlandieri Hook. var. berlandieri Berlandier's Flax. Taprooted annual or perennial herb; stems 5 to 40 cm tall, branched near the base and also in the inflorescence, sometimes branched throughout, branches spreading-ascending, striate; herbage hirsutulous near the base and sometimes on the stem angles above, otherwise glabrous. Leaves alternate or some opposite near the base, linear to linear-lanceolate, largest near or above midstem, 1 to 2.5 cm long, 1 to 4 mm broad, mostly entire but the upper and the floral bracts with a few small glandular teeth, mostly 3-nerved; stipular glands present on ca. 80 to 90% of individuals but lacking in others. Inflorescence more or less paniculate, usually flat-topped; pedicels short. Sepals lanceolate, acute to acuminate, 6 to 12 mm long, usually 3-nerved, all obviously glandular-toothed, the inner more densely and delicately so and with rather broader scarious margins; petals broadly obovate, 11 to 19 mm long, yellow to orange, usually with reddish or deep orange below the middle; stamens 4 to 9 mm long; styles united almost their entire length, 6 to 9 mm long. Fruit broadly ovoid to triangular ovoid, more or less flat-bottomed, 3.6 to 4.7 mm long, 3 to 4 mm broad, the walls opaque; seeds narrowly ovate, 2.6 to 3.4 mm long, reddish brown. Throughout most of TX; NE and CO, S. to TX. May-Sept. [L. rigidum Pursh var. berlandieri (Hook.) T. & G.].

Rather similar to L. rigidum Pursh. var. rigidum, which differs in having solid yellow flowers and no stipular glands. This is a plant primarily from N. TX, (Rogers 1964b). There is a slight chance it may someday show up in the northern part of Leon Co.


Milkwort Family

Herbs (as ours), elsewhere also shrubs, trees, and vines. Leaves alternate, opposite, or whorled; stipules none. Flowers usually irregular. Sepals 5, sometimes dissimilar. Petals 3 to 5, commonly united, often adnate to the stamens, often crested. Stamens 3 to 7 or 4+4 or 10, usually united basally. Ovary superior, of 2 to 5(8) united carpels, placentation usually axile, ovules 1 per cell. Fruit various. Seeds arillate and/or hairy.

18 genera and 950 species nearly worldwide but absent from the W. Pacific; 1 genus with 27 species in TX; 1 genus with 6 species here.


Ours annual or perennial herbs. Leaves alternate, opposite, or whorled, simple and entire, sessile or with a very short petiole. Flowers in axillary or terminal racemes, subsessile to pedicellate, strongly irregular, often subtended by small bracts. Sepals 5, the uppermost and the lower 2 small, greenish, but the lateral 2 larger, petaloid and termed wings, deciduous. Petals usually 3, united at the base, the lowermost, the keel, boat-shaped and with a central portion or lamella, clawed, sometimes 3-lobed, usually with an apical crest or beak, but sometimes unappendaged; 2 upper petals ligulate to ovate, sometimes galeate, united to the keel and/or the stamen tube at least basally; 2 lateral petals rarely present and if so, minute. Stamens (6)8, united by the filaments into a sheath split on the upper side, the tube adnate to the keel and upper petals at the base, anthers dehiscent by apical or apical/ introrse pores. Ovary 2-celled, with 1 pendulous ovule per cell; style usually long and slender, often bent, stigma 2 lobed, often one lobe tufted. Capsule 2-celled, equally or unequally so, marginless, margined, or winged, flattened perpendicular to the septum. Seeds usually pubescent and nearly always arillate, globose to conic or fusiform.

About 500-550 species nearly worldwide; 27 in TX; 6 here.

Some are cultivated ornamentals and some are used medicinally in various regions (Mabberley 1987).

1. Flowers white or greenish; racemes dense and sharp-pointed ..............................................1

1. Flowers some shade of pink or purple, rarely white; racemes usually apically blunt (if pointed, then flowers definitely NOT white) .............................................................................3

2(1) Plants perennial; stems several from the base; midstem leaves alternate ...1.P.alba

2. Plants annual; stems usually solitary and branched above; leaves usually whorled at midstem ...2.P.verticillata

3(1) Wings less than 1/2 as long as the keel; stem glaucous ...3.P.incarnata

3. Wings about equalling or longer than the keel; stem not glaucous .......................................4

4(3) Wings apically acuminate and aristate, deltoid in overall outline; leaves mostly opposite or whorled ...4.P.cruciata

4. Wings rounded to obtuse or mucronate; leaves mostly alternate ..........................................5

5(4) Racemes loose; flowers bright rose-purple; cleistogamous flowers produced on short, leafless basal branches; lowermost leaves spatulate to obovate ...5.P.polygama

5. Racemes dense, the flowers overlapping, pale pink or purple (rarely white); cleistogamous flowers none; leaves all linear or elliptic ...6.P.sanguinea

1.P. albaPOLYGALACEAE POLYGALA alba Nutt. White Milkwort. Perennial from a stout single root; stems several to many from the base, 1 to 4 dm tall, usually unbranched, sometimes sparsely branched, erect or ascending, often with a cluster or short, leafy stems at the base; herbage glabrous. Leaves alternate, except perhaps for 1 or 2 whorls at the base, the lowermost spatulate-obovate or oblanceolate, 4 to 12 mm long, 1.5 to 2.5 mm broad, most cauline leaves linear, acuminate, cuspidate, 8 to 25 mm long, 1 to 2 mm broad. Peduncles slender, usually exceeding the foliage; racemes dense, 2 to 8.5(11) cm long at anthesis, 4 to 8 mm broad, cylindric but tapered to the tip; flowers white with greenish centers. Sepals white-margined, ovate to oblong, obtuse, 1.3 to 1.5 mm long; wings elliptic, 2.2 to 4 mm long, ca. 1.5 mm wide, only slightly longer than the corolla, apically rounded, basally short cuneate, midrib sometimes dark; keel 3 mm long, crested, the crest with 4 lobes on each side, sometimes purplish. Capsule elliptic to oblong-elliptic, 2.5 to 3 mm long, 1.3 to 1.6 mm wide; seeds 2.3 to 2.5 mm long, pilose, aril 0.8 to 1.5 mm long, with 2 oblong, appressed lobes. Sandy or rocky soils of hills, dry washes, mesquite plains, etc.; in our area most common on calcareous outcrops in Grimes Co.; E. Cen. TX; N. to MN, ND, and WA, W. to AZ, S. to Mex. Mar.-Oct.

This plant was used by the Seneca tribe to treat snakebite. It was used by various Native American tribes in remedies for coughs, colds, and other ills, and by European settlers in various medicinal preparations (Kindscher 1992).

2.P. verticillataPOLYGALACEAE POLYGALA verticillata L. Whorled Milkwort. Taprooted annual; stems simple below and usually branched above, erect, 5 to 40 cm tall; herbage glabrous. Leaves usually in whorls of 4 or 5 throughout, rarely the lowermost 1 or 2 groups opposite and the rest alternate, linear to linear-lanceolate or narrowly elliptic, 5 to 30 mm long, 0.5 to 5.5 mm broad, tapered to both ends, apically cuspidate. Peduncles to 9 cm long, usually surpassing the foliage; racemes usually dense, cylindric or conic-cylindric, tapered to the apex, to ca. 3.5 cm long, 2.2 to 4.5 mm wide; floral bracts subulate, glandular-denticulate, deciduous; pedicels less than 2 mm long; flowers whitish or greenish, very rarely with any purplish tint. Sepals narrowly white-margined, ovate, 0.9 to 1.1 mm long, ciliolate; wings obovate-oval, 1.6 to 2 mm long, 1 to 1.2 mm wide, apically rounded, short-clawed, with 1 to 3 visible nerves, the midnerve sometimes dark or greenish; keel 1.2 to 1.5 mm long, with 1 or 2 lobes and a crest on either side of the lamella. Capsule ovoid, 1.8 to 2.4 mm long; seeds 1.5 to 2.2 mm long, black, pilosulous, aril 0.5 to 1 mm long, with 2 oblong-linear or obovate lobes ca. 1/3 to 1/2 as long as the seed. Sandy prairies, roadsides, post oak and pine woods. E. 1/3 TX; MA and S. Man., S. to FL, TX, CO, and UT. May-July.

Several varieties have been described, though Hatch, et al. (1990) list none. As treated here, includes var. isocycla Fern. and var. sphenostachya Penn. Some of our plants may be referable to var. ambigua (Nutt.) Wood with the upper leaves alternate and the stem not much branched. This taxon is recognized by Kartesz (1998) as P. ambigua Nutt.

3.P. incarnataPOLYGALACEAE POLYGALA incarnata L. Pink Milkwort, Slender Milkwort. Taprooted annual; stems simple or very sparsely branched, 1 to 6 dm tall, glaucous and sulcate. Leaves sparse, alternate except perhaps the very lowest opposite or whorled, erect, linear, 4 to 12 mm long, 0.3 to 1 mm broad, acuminate, cuspidate, glaucous, early deciduous. Peduncles 2 to 4 cm long; racemes dense, 6 to 40 mm long, 1 to 1.3 cm broad in flower, to 5.5 or 6 mm wide in fruit; pedicels ca. 0.5 mm long; flowers rose-purple, very rarely whitish. Sepals very narrowly white-margined, ovate-oblong, 2 to 2.5 mm long, rounded to nearly acuminate, minutely serrulate to entire; wings linear-oblong, ca. 3 mm long, 0.6 mm broad, margins more or less undulate-convolute, not clawed, obtuse to submucronulate, midrib area often greenish; upper petals 6.7 mm long; keel 7 mm long, obviously longer than the wings, united with the stamen tube and the upper petals into a trough 5 mm long, each side of keel crested and with 1 to 3 lobes, the lobes again variously lobed or cleft. Capsule subglobose to ovoid, 2.4 to 2.5 mm long, 2 mm broad, cordate basally; seeds 2.2 mm long, plump, pilose, aril 1.1 mm high, erect, scarcely lobed, membranaceous, equitant. Prairies, open grassy areas, open woods, bogs, and savannahs. E. 1/3 TX; S. Ont. and NY to MI, WI, IA, and KS, S. to FL, TX, and Mex. (Apr.)May-Sept. [Galypola incarnata (L.) Nieuw.].

4.P. cruciataPOLYGALACEAE POLYGALA cruciata L. Marsh Milkwort. Taprooted annual; stems simple or usually cymosely branched from near the base, 6 to 50 cm tall. Leaves mostly in whorls of 3 or 4 or the lowermost opposite and/or the upper alternate, linear, linear-oblanceolate, or linear-elliptic, 8 to 35(40) mm long, 1 to 5 m broad, the uppermost the largest, apically rounded to obtuse, basally narrowed, punctate. Peduncles to 5 cm long; racemes dense, usually oblong to ovoid-cylindrical, abruptly short-pointed, 1 to 1.7 cm broad, axis to 6 cm long; floral bracts subulate-attenuate, with ovate bases, ciliolate, 1.5 to 3 mm long, persistent; pedicels 1 to 3 mm long; flowers rosy purple to less often greenish, rarely white. Sepals ovate, 0.8 to 1.4 mm long, obtuse to acutish, ciliolate; wings broadly ovate-deltoid, 3.5 to 5.6 mm long, 2.7 to 3.6 mm broad, basally truncate or slightly oblique, sessile or with a very short claw, apically acuminate and aristate or cuspidate, with ca. 9 nerves; corolla shorter than the wings; keel 2.8 to 3.5 mm long, either side of the lamella crested and with 2 to 4 entire or bifid lobes. Capsule 2 to 2.2 mm long, 1.8 to 2.1 mm wide, suborbicular, plump, basally oblique, winged below and on a stipe-like base; seeds ellipsoid to oblongish, plump, sparsely short-pubescent, 1 to 1.5 mm long, aril 0.9 to 1.1 mm long, with 2 linear lobes appressed to one side. Bogs, edges of bogs, seepage slopes, pinewoods, savannahs, and ditches; in our area known from the acid bogs in Leon Co. and probably present in Robertson Co. as well; E. TX; S. ME to MN, S. to FL and TX. May-Oct. [P. ramosior (Nash) Small; varieties are sometimes recognized].

5.P. polygamaPOLYGALACEAE POLYGALA polygama Walt. Racemed Milkwort, Bitter Milkwort. Biennial to weak perennial from a taproot or rootstock; stems 1 to several from the base, erect or ascending, simple or few-branched, 1.5 to 3(5) dm tall. Leaves alternate or the very lowest sometimes opposite, evenly distributed, 12 to 31(40) mm long, 2 to 8 mm broad, apically obtuse to mucronate, sometimes rather fleshy, linear-oblong to linear-spatulate, lower leaves broader, to obovate or oblong-spatulate. Leafless racemes of cleistogamous flowers produced at the base (just below or above ground) or (late in the season) from the axils of the lower leaves, these cleistogamous racemes commonly missed in collecting; peduncles of chasmogamous inflorescences 1 to 2 cm long, racemes loose, more or less cylindric, 5 to 25 cm long, 9 to 14 mm broad; pedicels 1 to 4 mm long; floral bracts oblong-ovate, 1 to 1.3 mm long, deciduous; flowers rosy pink to purple, rarely paler or nearly white. Sepals green or tinged with purple, oval-ovate, 1.3 to 2.2 mm long, rounded to acute; wings oval to oval-obovate or elliptic, 3.2 to 6 mm long, 2 to 3.8 mm broad, apically obtuse to rounded, basally clawed or cuneate, 3-nerved, the midvein commonly darker or greenish; keel 3 to 5 mm long, either side of lamella with a crest and 2 or 3 divided lobes. Capsule oval, 2.5 to 4 mm long, 2 to 3 mm broad, edges margined, sometimes slightly erose; seeds black, ellipsoid, basally pointed, plump, pilose, 1.8 to 2.8 mm long, aril 0.8 to 2 mm long, 2-lobed, the lobes linear-elliptic to oval, appressed. Sandy open woods, bogs, along streams, roadsides, etc. E. TX; FL to TX, N. to Nova Scotia, SW. Que., S. Ont., MI, WI, and MN. Apr.-June. [Author sometimes given incorrectly as L.].

Some sources recognize varieties.

6.P. sanguineaPOLYGALACEAE POLYGALA sanguinea L. Blood Milkwort, Blood Polygala. Taprooted annual; stem simple or branched, 1 to 4 dm tall. Leaves all alternate, many and well-spaced, linear to linear-elliptic, 5 to 40 mm long, 1 to 5 mm broad, acute to acuminate, mucronulate, erect or ascending (often displaced in pressing), margins minutely papillose-serrate with subglandular teeth. Peduncles 3 to 30(50) mm long; racemes thick-cylindric or capitate, dense, 5 to 14 mm broad, the axis 6 to 40 mm long; floral bracts subulate, 1 to 1.5 mm long, eventually deciduous; pedicels 1.1 to 1.5 mm long; flowers greenish and pinkish or purplish, rarely whitish. Sepals oval to elliptic-ovate, acute to subacute, 1.3 to 1.8 mm long, glabrous, white-margined; wings ovate-oval, 4.8 to 6.3 mm long, 2.5 to 3.5 mm broad, apically rounded, short-clawed, 9-nerved, but only the darker midnerve readily apparent; keel 2.5 to 2.7 mm long, either side of the lamella with a crest and a cuneate lobe, the lobes sometimes connate. Capsule cuneate-suborbicular, with a short, flattened sterile base, 2.5 to 3 mm long, 2 to 2.5 mm broad; seed subglobose-pyriform, apically rounded, basally pointed, 1.5 to 1.7 mm long, short-pilose, aril 1 to 1.3 mm long, with 2 linear or linear-oblong, scarious, appressed lobes. Bogs, near lakes, moist open woods, etc. NE. TX; N. S., S. Ont. and MN, S. to TN, OK, LA, and TX. May-July. [P. viridescens L.].


Krameria Family

A monogeneric family.


Perennial herbs or small shrubs, sometimes highly-branched and somewhat thorny. Herbage often gray pubescent. Leaves alternate, narrow, entire, sessile or short-petiolate, estipulate. Flowers perfect, irregular, borne in the axils of the upper leaves, each pedicel usually with 2 leafy bracts. Sepals 4 or 5, unequal. Petals 5, the upper 3 long-clawed, free or partially united, usually reddish or purple, the 2 lower petals smaller, thick, sessile, usually greenish and glandlike. Stamens 4, free or united to the claw of the uppermost petal, each anther cell dehiscent by an apical pore. Ovary superior, 1-celled, with 2 pendulous ovules. Fruit 1-seeded, indehiscent, the surface covered with prickles. Seeds apparently without endosperm.

An American genus with 15 species; 4 in TX; 1 here.

This family has historically been treated as part of the Fabaceae (Caesalpinioideae) or as part of the genus Polygala in the Polygalaceae, but it is now treated as a separate family.

1. K. lanceolata Torr. Trailing Ratany, Krameria, Crameria. Perennial herb from a dark, woody, usually branched rootstock; stems decumbent, prostrate, or trailing, 1 to 18 dm long; herbage silky-strigose. Leaves linear, linear-elliptic, or occasionally elliptic-oblong, 6 to 20 mm long, acute or commonly apiculate with a small brown point. Pedicels 0.5 to 3 cm long, pubescent. Sepals 4 or 5, free, ovate-lanceolate, 8 to 10 mm long, pubescent, showy, usually maroonish; 3 upper petals free, red-purple or maroon, the other 2 petals thick, sessile, greenish, and gland-like; stamens 4; ovary conspicuously densely pubescent. Fruit globose or very broadly ovate, 6 to 9 mm in diameter, densely woolly, armed with a number of straight prickles 2 to 4 mm long, these often at first maroon-tinted. Sandy prairies, roadsides, hillsides, etc. Present in much of TX except the Pineywoods region; KS to AZ, S. to TX and Mex. Spring-fall, our collections Apr.-July. [K. secundiflora DC.].


Soapberry Family

Trees, shrubs, or vines. Leaves alternate (in ours), simple, ternate, or pinnately compound, stipules present or absent. Plants dioecious and/or with perfect flowers, flowers usually regular, in ours in racemes, panicles, or cymes. Sepals 4 or 5 sometimes united basally. Petals, in ours, 4 or 5, often with basal scales or glands. Disk usually present around or bearing the stamens. Stamens usually more than the petals, in ours usually 8 to 10 in 2 series, filaments often hairy. Ovary typically tricarpellate (sometimes with fewer or more carpels) and multilocular; styles free or united; ovules 1 to several per locule. Fruit fleshy or dry, indehiscent or dehiscent, in ours a berry or inflated capsule. Seeds sometimes arillate or with fleshy outgrowths.

144 genera and 1,325 species, chiefly in tropical and subtropical regions, a few in the temperate zone; 6 genera and 9 species in TX; 3 genera and 3 species here.

The family is important for some edible tropical fruit including Litchi, some oilseed crops, and some cultivated ornamentals. Many members contain toxic saponins (Mabberley 1987).

1. Plants annual vines; fruit an inflated, balloon-like capsule ......................1. Cardiospermum

1. Plants trees or shrubs; fruit a berry or woody capsule ............................................................2

2(1) Leaves even-pinnately compound; flowers regular; fruit a translucent berry .....2. Sapindus

2. Leaves odd-pinnately compound; flowers irregular; fruit a woody capsule .......3. Ungnadia

NOTE: Occasional seedlings of Koelreuteria (Goldenrain Tree) occur, but there is no evidence that the trees are becoming established in our region. Koelreuteria is a tree with 1- to 3-pinnately compound leaves, large panicles of small yellow flowers, and papery brown or pink, 3-valved capsules. The reader is referred to Hortus Third (Bailey, et al. 1976) for the distinctive characters of the several species.


Primarily climbing herbs with tendrils. Leaves bi-ternate to variously decompound, the leaflets entire to incised. Flowers small, whitish or yellowish, in axillary corymbose or racemose-paniculate clusters, each inflorescence pedunculate and with 2 tendrils below the flowers. Sepals 4 or 5, the 2 outer smaller than the inner. Petals 4. Stamens 8. Fruit a thin-textured, inflated, 3-lobed, 3-celled capsule.

14 species, mostly of the tropics, and especially common in the W. hemisphere; 3 in TX; 1 here.

The seeds of some, especially the tropical C. grandiflorum, have been used as beads (Mabberley 1987).

1. C. halicacabum L. Common Balloon Vine, Parolitos. Annual herbaceous vine; stems several-ribbed, wiry, with axillary tendrils; herbage sparsely pilose to subglabrous. Leaves ternate or biternate, leaflets to ca. 8 cm long and 3 cm broad, ovate-lanceolate to rhombic-lanceolate or narrowly lanceolate, acuminate, toothed or incised-lobed, base decumbent on the petiole. Inflorescence umbelliform, branches ca. 1 cm long. Flowers irregular, ca. 4 mm long; sepals 4; petals 4, whitish, obovate, often somewhat unequal, each with a basal petaloid appendage; stamens 8; nectary disk outside the filaments. Fruit 3 to 4.5 cm broad, inflated, 3-lobed, 3-locular; seeds 3, black, ca. 5 mm in diameter. Trailing or sprawling on the ground or climbing over surrounding vegetation, usually in open or brushy waste places, sometimes on river banks, usually in moist soil. NE., Cen., and S. TX; widespread in warmer regions, NJ to PA, OH, MO, and KS, S. to FL and TX; also Mex. and tropical Amer. Jun.-Nov.

Popping the balloons has some recreational value for the young-at-heart.


About 13 species of tropical and warmer parts of the world. We have the one species and variety found in TX.

The berries have a high saponin content and some are used as soap substitutes. The seeds of some are used as beads, and some are cultivated ornamentals (Mabberley 1987). The fruits are poisonous, but serious intoxications are very uncommon and gastroenteritis is usually the worst result. The plants can produce contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals (Lampe 1985).

1. S. saponaria L. var. drummondii (Hook. & Arn.) L. Benson. Western Soapberry, Jaboncillo. Moderately slow-growing tree, usually less than 10 m tall, to 15 m under ideal conditions; bark gray to tan or reddish, in narrow scaly plates, wood yellow; young branchlets yellow-green, becoming gray, puberulent or glabrous. Leaves estipulate, petiolate, even-pinnate, leaflets 6 to 10 pairs, elliptic-lanceolate to narrowly lanceolate, entire, acuminate, falcate, to 10 cm long and 4 cm broad, the rachis very narrowly winged. Inflorescence a dense terminal panicle; flowers whitish, 4 to 5 mm broad, regular. Calyx deeply (4-)5-lobed, glabrate, margins ciliate; petals 4 or 5, obovate, with pilose claws, attached below the staminal disk, usually appendaged; stamens (7)8 or 10, filaments long-hairy, inserted on the disk. Fruit a globose berry ca. 1.3 cm in diameter, flesh yellowish, translucent; seed solitary, 8.5 to 9 mm long, black, appearing smooth but with minute pits. Often in groups on roadsides, streambanks, and fencerows, and in bottomland woods. Scattered throughout TX; KS to NM, S. to LA, TX, and Mex. Flowering Mar.-July; fruiting in fall. [S. drummondii H. & A.; S. marginatus Coult.].

The fruits are used in Mexico as laundry soap and in fish poisons. They can also be used to give a yellow dye on wool (Tull 1987). Sometimes planted as an ornamental.


A monotypic genus.

1. U. speciosa Endl. Mexican Buckeye, Texas Buckeye, Monilla. Shrub or small tree to a maximum of 10 m, usually smaller, trunk to 2 dm in diameter; bark thin, smooth, light gray to brown, on older trees shallowly fissured. Leaves estipulate, petiolate, odd-pinnately compound, leaflets 3 to 7, sessile or with short petiolules, ovate to ovate-lanceolate, to 12 cm long and 6 cm wide, acuminate, sometimes with an expanded and rounded tip, serrate at least distally, basally rounded to broadly obtuse, pubescent below when young, soon glabrate. Flowers appearing with or before the leaves, in lateral fascicles from axils of the previous season, blossoms pink to purplish pink, fragrant, irregular, bisexual or unisexual. Calyx deeply 5-lobed, sparsely pubescent; petals 4 or 5, obovate, to 1 cm long, the claws pilose and fimbriate-crested at the apex on the inner side; stamens 7 to 10, anthers cherry-red. Fruit a stipitate, woody, 3-celled, 3-lobed capsule, 3.5 to 5 cm broad, more or less wrinkly, green or suffused with red, gold to brown at dehiscence; seeds globose, 1 to 1.5 cm broad, lustrous dark brown to blackish with a large, pale hilum. Usually in rocky areas, usually associated with limestone or calcareous sandstone, in canyons, on slopes or ridges, often above water. S. Cen. and W. TX, E. to about Dallas Co.; in our area known from Old River Ranch and outcrops in Grimes Co.; TX and SE. NM; also adjacent Mex. Flowering Mar.-Jun., ours primarily Mar.-Apr.


Buckeye Family

Trees or shrubs. Leaves opposite, palmately compound, estipulate, leaflets with marked, straight, pinnate venation. Perfect and unisexual flowers often on the same plant, in terminal panicles or racemes, zygomorphic, showy. Sepals 5, fused at least basally. Petals (4)5, unequal, clawed, brightly colored or whitish. Nectary disk commonly present, often 1-sided. Stamens 5 +(0)1 to 3. Ovary superior, of (2)3(4) united carpels, with as many locules, style 1, stigma simple. Fruit a loculicidal capsule, leathery in ours, sometimes spiny, ovules 2 per locule, but usually only 1 seed maturing. Seeds relatively large, with a hard coat and large hilum; cotyledons unequal; endosperm none.

Two genera of the N. temperate zone to SE. Asia; 1 genus with 2 species in TX; we have both species.

Some taxa are cultivated for ornament or for timber (Mabberley 1987).


Deciduous shrubs and trees; bark more or less unpleasantly scented. Leaves petiolate, with 5 to 11 leaflets, leaflet margins serrate. Flowers largely without functional pistil and hence sterile; pedicels jointed. Calyx campanulate to tubular, somewhat irregular, commonly gibbous or oblique basally. Petals 4 or 5, unequal. Stamens 7 or sometimes 5, 6, or 8, filaments slender and often unequal, anthers glandular-apiculate. Ovary generally 3-celled unless with fewer cells by abortion.

13 species of Eur., Ind., E. Asia, and N. Amer.; 2 in TX, each with two varieties; one variety of each species locally.

All parts of the plants are poisonous, especially the twigs and seeds. There have been reported cases of human and livestock poisonings, though the seeds are edible if cooked and were eaten by Native Americans of California (GPFA 1986; Mabberley 1987). Because the seeds are toxic, they are not an important wildlife food (Elias 1980). Some species, including those of N. Amer., were used as fish poisons or in medicines to treat humans or horses (Tull 1987; Mabberley 1987). Interspecific and intervarietal hybrids exist; some of these and several of the species are cultivated for ornament (Mabberley 1987). The seeds are sometimes used like marbles by children (Mabberley 1987) or carried for luck.

NOTE: The following key is for our local area only; on the Ed. Plat. a yellow-flowered variety of A. pavia exists. Occasional hybrids of the two following species may be found. They are intermediate between the parents in floral coloration and leaflet size.

1. Flowers red or red and yellow; leaflets 5 (rarely more) to 17 cm long; calyx usually 8 mm long or longer; petals very unequal ...1.A.pavia

var. pavia

1. Flowers yellow; leaflets 7 to 11, to 12 cm long; calyx usually ca. 6 mm long; petals about equal ...2.A.glabra

var. arguta

1.A. paviaHIPPOCASTANACEAE AESCULUS pavia L. var. pavia Red Buckeye. Large shrub or small tree to 10 m tall, trunk to 5 dm in diameter, commonly smaller; bark smooth, gray or brown; young branchlets glabrous or finely pubescent. Petioles to 15 cm long; leaflets 5 (to seven), essentially sessile or with petiolules to ca. 1 cm long, lanceolate to oblanceolate or elliptic, to 17 cm long and 7 cm broad, widest at the middle, central leaflet the largest, tapered to base, apically usually abruptly acuminate or sometimes acute, margins serrate or crenate-serrate, sometimes irregularly so and sometimes entire near the base, glabrous or sometimes tomentose beneath. Inflorescence 10 to 20 cm long, pubescent. Calyx typically elongate, tubular, 8 to 18 mm long (rarely shorter and somewhat campanulate), basally gibbous, red, the lobes short and rounded, the margins glandular ciliate, the glands often obscured by the over-all fine pubescence; corolla red or with some yellow, to 3 cm long, the petals unequal, the upper pair longer and narrower, with small spatulate, rounded-truncate blades and claws 19 to 23 mm long, about as long as the lateral petals, blade of lateral petals 6 to 9 mm long, oblong-ovate, more or less rounded, claw 10 to 17 mm long, apical margins of petals stipitate-glandular and lateral margins more or less pilose.; stamens 6 to 8, 23 to 36 mm long, exserted, but not extending much beyond the longer petals. Capsule 3.8 to 6.0 cm broad, essentially globose, the leathery shell 1 to 2 mm thick; seeds 1, 2, or sometimes 3, light brown. Frequent in E. TX forests, on rocky hills or bluffs, and along streams; a nice colony known from Old River Ranch in Burleson Co.; E. 1/2 TX; NC and FL, W. through KY to S. IL, MO, OK and TX. Mar.-May. [Synonyms for the species as a whole include A. pavia L. var. discolor (Pursh) T. & G.; A. discolor Pursh and var. mollis (Raf.) Sarg.; A. austrina Small].

The other variety in Texas is var. flavescens (Sarg.) Correll, with yellow flowers and apparently confined to the Ed. Plat. Where the two are found together, intermediates occur.

The flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds (Wyatt & Lodwick 1981).

2.A. glabraHIPPOCASTANACEAE AESCULUS glabra Willd. var. arguta (Buckl.) Robins. White Buckeye, Texas Buckeye, Western Buckeye. Large shrub or small tree to 7(9) m tall; bark smooth, gray, sometimes scaly with thin plates. Petioles to 10 cm long; leaflets (5)7(8 to 11), sessile or with petiolules to 10 mm long, lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate, to 12 cm long and 4 cm broad, basally acute to acuminate or cuneate, apically long-acuminate or acute, margins sharply and unevenly serrate, often doubly so, glabrous above, sub-glabrous to tomentose beneath. Inflorescence a terminal, puberulent panicle, perfect flowers confined to the lower branches or scattered throughout. Flowers yellow, irregular; calyx campanulate, base scarcely if at all gibbous, 3 to 8 mm long, pubescent, the lobes subequal, short, rounded to acute; corolla 9 to 17 mm long, pubescent, petals 4, the upper 2 with villous claws about equalling the spatulate blades, the 2 lateral petals slightly shorter and with claws less than half the length of the petal; stamens 7, 13 to 21 mm long, exserted, often to nearly twice the length of the corolla. Fruit ovoid or obovoid, 3 to 5 cm broad, pericarp tuberculate-spiny, often glabrous or the spines deciduous; seeds 1 to 3(4), brown, 2 to 3 cm in diameter. Sandy soils of woods and thickets, along fencerows and streams, seldom in the open. NE. and Cen. TX; NE, KS, and MO, S. to TX. Mar.-Apr. [A. arguta Buckl.; A. glabra Willd. var. buckleyi Sarg. and var. sargentii Rehd.; A. buckleyi (Sarg.) Bush].

The eastern form, var. glabra (Ohio Buckeye) is found in the Pineywoods region and is not currently known from our area. It usually has 5 leaflets, only very rarely 6 or 7.


Maple Family

Trees or rarely shrubs; sap watery and sweet. Leaves opposite, simple, and palmately veined and/or lobed to palmately divided or compound, occasionally (as ours) pinnately compound; usually estipulate. Inflorescence terminal or lateral, corymbose, umbelliform, paniculate, or racemose; flowers regular, hypogynous or sometimes somewhat perigynous, usually both perfect and truly or functionally unisexual on the same plant or sometimes plants dioecious, . Sepals usually 5. Petals none or as many as the sepals. Stamens (3)8(12), inserted on or outside a nectary disk or disk rarely absent. Ovary superior, 2-carpellate, 2-celled, styles 1 or 2, stigmas 2, ovules usually 2 per locule. Fruit a winged schizocarp eventually separating into 2 1-seeded samaras. Seeds without endosperm.

2 genera and 113 species of N. temperate and tropical montane regions; 1 genus with 4 species in TX; 1 species here.

The family is important for the genus Acer, as described below.


Deciduous trees or shrubs. Flowers racemose, paniculate, or corymbose. Sepals (4)5(12), often colored, to some degree united. Corolla none or petals as many as the sepals, usually clawed, inserted on the rim of a perigynous or hypogynous disk. Stamens 3 to 12. Styles 2, united only below, stigmatic along their inner sides. Fruit the typical winged schizocarp.

111 species of temperate and tropical montane regions; 4 in TX; 1 here.

The genus is important for timber and wood for instruments and household items. A. saccharum is the sugar maple from which syrup and sugar are obtained. Many species are cultivated for shade and for fall color, which in some types is quite brilliant. A. palmatum is the Japanese maple, which is cultivated for its decorative foliage (Mabberley 1987).

NOTE: A. rubrum L., Red or Scarlet Maple, is common in swamps and alluvial woods in E. TX. It has simple, palmately lobed leaves with serrate margins and acute sinuses; the fruits are glabrous and commonly reddish when young. This species is not currently known from our area, but there is a slight possibility that it may be encountered in under-explored portions of E. Madison and Grimes Cos.

1. A. negundo L. Box-elder, Ash-leaved Maple, Arce, Fresno de Guajuco. Small deciduous tree to 15(20) m, trunk straight to crooked, branched near the ground, to a maximum of 1.2 m in diameter, usually smaller; bark of older trees thin, light brown to gray, with deep furrows and ridges separating into scales; young branchlets green and pubescent to glabrous, becoming gray. Leaves pinnately compound, leaflets 3 to 9, 5 to 10 cm long, 5 to 7.5 cm broad, petiolulate, papery and thin-textured, pubescent when young and pubescent or glabrate below in age, prominently veiny below, terminal leaflet elliptic to obovate or rhombic, apically toothed, the lateral leaflets narrower and with a few coarse teeth or lobes, leaves of fast-growing branch tips and sprouts with more and more-deeply lobed leaflets, on the whole the foliage strongly resembling poison ivy. Flowers produced with or just before the leaves, unisexual, greenish. Staminate flowers ca. 7 to 15, fasciculate and pendulous on slender pedicels. Pistillate flowers in racemes of ca. 4 to 9. Calyx 5-lobed; petals and disk none; male flowers with ca. 4 to 6 functional stamens. Samara mericarps 2.5 to 4 cm long, the wings divergent at an angle of 45 degrees or less, glabrous or pubescent, greenish to yellow or reddish; seed slightly less than 1/2 the length of the wing. River banks, low or floodplain woods, fencerows, and waste places. FL to TX, N. to NY, S. Ont., MN, Sask., and Man., W. to MT, WY, NE, KS, OK, and scattered in the mountain West; also Mex. and Cen. Amer. Apr.-May. Fall color not impressive.

Several varieties; 2 in TX; both possible here and intermediates not impossible.

var. negundo Young branchlets glabrous to slightly glaucous, green. E. Great Plains. Apparently the more common variety here.

var. texanum Pax Young branchlets velutinous; samara pubescent to glabrous. W. MO, E. KS., and southward.

The wood of this species is weak and not as useful as that of the other maples, but is suitable for crates, pulp, and firewood. It has been used as a street tree in the past, but the weak wood and messy fruits make it rather unsuitable. It is weedy in Europe where it has been introduced (Mabberley 1987).


Cashew or Sumac Family

Ours shrubs, woody vines, or occasionally small trees; bark and sometimes herbage with resin ducts; sap often resinous, milky, or acrid, in some species causing severe dermatitis. Leaves alternate (rarely opposite), trifoliolate to once pinnate (some, but not ours, with simple leaves), deciduous or evergreen; stipules usually absent or essentially so. Inflorescence a terminal thyrse, axillary panicle, or sometimes a cluster of spikes or catkins; flowers often subtended by bracts. Flowers many, small, (3- or 4-)5-merous, regular, usually hypogynous, appearing before or with the leaves, perfect or unisexual by abortion and the plants then monoecious or dioecious. Receptacle concave to convex, sometimes forming a gynophore, commonly developing into a ring- or cup-like disk. Perianth usually present, sometimes absent. Stamens as many as the petals and alternate with them, or sometimes twice as many or absent. Carpels 1 or 2 to 5, fused, but gynoecium in ours usually unilocular and uniovulate; styles separate or united. Fruit dry or drupe-like with a waxy or resinous mesocarp and bony or crustaceous endocarp. Seed with little or no endosperm.

About 73 genera and 850 species of tropical, subtropical, and Mediterranean regions and temperate N. Amer.; 5 genera and 14 species in TX; 3 genera and 7 species here, including one rarely-escaping cultivated species.

The family is economically important for the food crops mango (Mangifera), cashew (Anacardium), and pistachio (Pistacia). Some members, especially species of Toxicodendron (poison ivy and poison oak), have allergenic resins, while the resin or sap of others is used in tanning leather or in ink, lacquer, or dyes. A few taxa are cultivated for ornament, e.g. Pistacia (pistache) and Cotinus (Smoke Tree) (Mabberley 1987).

1. Plants true trees, persisting or rarely escaping cultivation; leaves even-pinnately

compound; flowers without perianth .......................................................................1. Pistacia

1. Plants shrubs, woody vines, small trees, or sometimes apparently herbaceous, native; leaves odd-pinnate or ternate; flowers with perianth ..............................................................2

2(1) Fruits red; leaflets more than 3 per leaf and flowers in a terminal thyrse OR leaflets 3 and flowers in terminal and lateral compound spikes; plants never climbing or with aerial rootlets; resin non-allergenic ........................................................................................2. Rhus

2. Fruits white or tan; leaflets 3 per leaf; flowers in axillary panicles or racemes; plants often climbing or with aerial rootlets; resin allergenic ........................................3. Toxicodendron

1. PISTACIA L. Pistachio, Pistache

Evergreen or deciduous trees or shrubs. Leaves pinnately compound. Flowers without perianth. Plants dioecious. Stamens 5. Ovary 1-celled. Fruit dry and drupe-like.

Nine or 10 species of the Mediterranean, Asia, Malesia, S. U.S. and Cen. Amer.; 1 species native to TX; one non-native species found here as an occasional escape from cultivation.

P. vera is the common pistachio nut. P. lentiscus the source of true mastic, a resin used in varnish, chewing gum, etc. Several species are sources of tannins, turpentine, or ingredients for varnish (Mabberley 1987).

1. P. chinensis Bunge Chinese Pistache. Tree to ca. 20 m tall. Leaves even-pinnately compound, leaflets 6 to 10 pairs though these not always opposite on the rachis), 4 to 6.5 cm long, to 2 cm broad, apically acuminate, basally oblique, margins entire; herbage with a distinct bitter aroma when crushed. Inflorescences axillary; staminate flowers in compound racemes, pistillate flowers in panicles. Fruit an ellipsoid to subglobose drupe to 4 cm in diameter, usually much smaller, ripening through turquoise and hot pink to reddish. Fall color yellow to gold, red, or maroon--often all on one tree and commonly changing from the top down or side to side. Native to China, Taiwan, and Philipp.; planted in our area for shade and fall color; usually not escaping, but some collections made by collectors who insist the plants were coming up on their own.


Shrubs or small trees, often forming thickets. Leaves alternate, ternate or once odd-pinnate, estipulate. Herbage without toxic resins, often aromatic when crushed. Plants polygamodioecious (usually dioecious but with some perfect flowers). Flowers yellow to greenish white, in terminal thyrses or panicles or terminal compounds spikes, appearing before or with the leaves, each flower subtended by one caducous lanceolate bract or one persistent deltoid bract and 2 bractlets. Sepals 5, united basally, persistent. Petals 5, free, imbricate in bud, spreading at anthesis. Fertile stamens 5, pistillate flowers with 5 to 10 vestigial stamens separated from the ovary by a flat, lobed disk. Ovary unilocular, style 3-parted apically. Fruit a red or reddish-yellow drupe, externally usually with glandular and hyaline hairs interspersed.

About 200 species of temperate and warm regions; 6 in TX; 4 here. As treated here and by Hatch, et al. (1990) and Kartesz (1998), excluding Toxicodendron. For a discussion of the segregation of Toxicodendron from Rhus, see Gillis (1971).

Several species are used in tanning and dyeing, e.g. R. coriaria with a 26% tannin content and the source of dye for Morocco leather. Wax and lacquer are obtained from others (Mabberley 1987). Lemonade-like drinks can be made from the fruit of local species, as can dyes ranging from tan to red-brown (Tull 1987). Native Americans used several species for their medicinal preparations, most having to do with astringent properties (Kindscher 1992). Species of Rhus (as treated here without Toxicodendron) do not produce contact dermatitis except in extremely sensitive individuals who respond to nearly all members of the family (Tull 1987). The common name may also be spelled or pronounced "Shumac" (among other variations).

1. Leaves ternate; flowers appearing with or before the leaves; floral bracts deltoid,

persistent ...1.R.aromatica

1. Leaves pinnately compound with 5 or more leaflets; flowers appearing after the leaves; floral bracts lanceolate, deciduous ..........................................................................................2

2(1) Leaf rachis unwinged; leaflet margins usually all toothed ...2.R.glabra

2. Leaf rachis winged; leaflet margins mostly entire ...................................................................3

3(2) Leaflets ovate-lanceolate, 2 to 4 times longer than wide, little if at all falcate, 7 to 11 per leaf ...3.R.copallina

3. Leaflets linear-lanceolate, 4 to 9 times longer than wide, strongly falcate, 13 to 19 per leaf .


1.R. aromaticaANACARDIACEAE RHUS aromatica Ait. Fragrant Sumac, Polecat Bush, Lemon Sumac, Sweet-scented Sumac. Small shrub to ca. 2(3) m; stems straggling to upright; herbage pungent/fragrant when crushed; young branches light brown, puberulent or sometimes glabrate or densely pilose. Leaves deciduous, ternate, leaflets thin to somewhat coriaceous, varying in shape, the terminal usually the largest, broadly ovate to rhombic-ovate or more or less cuneate, 2 to 9 cm long, 1.5 to 8 cm broad, crenate-dentate to serrate apically and sometimes more or less lobed, basally abruptly cuneate, lateral leaflets ovate to cuneate, 3.3 to 4.5 cm long, 1.7 to 3.5 cm broad, crenate-dentate to serrate apically, basally cuneate to obtuse. Inflorescences terminal compound spikes or catkins to ca. 6 cm long and 3 cm broad, produced late the previous season and blooming before the leaves of the year unfold Flowers pale yellow or yellow. Fruit subglobose or somewhat compressed, 5 to 6(7) mm in diameter, pubescent with both simple and glandular hairs. Flowering Apr.-May, usually collected in fruit. Fall color orange and scarlet. [Schmaltzia crenata (Mill.) Greene].

The stems are quite flexible and can be used in basketweaving. Native Americans of the Southwest used them for that purpose (Tull 1987), and the Cheyenne used the leaves in smoking mixtures and medicines (Kindscher 1992).

Several varieties exist; 3 are found in TX; 2 found locally; intermediate individuals or populations possible.

var. serotina (Greene) Rehd. Mature leaves pubescent below or mostly glabrous except for the bases of the leaflets and the rachis, terminal leaflet 2.5 to 6 cm long, flabelliform-ovate, more or less narrowed apically and variously crenate-lobed. Flowering before the leaves on some plants and with the leaves on others--often in the same population; floral bracts glabrous to densely pubescent, margins apically ciliate. Fruits densely longish-hairy; stone 3.8 to 4.8 mm long. Sandy woods, ravines, hillsides, etc. E. 1/2 TX; IL, IA, and SE. SD, S. to AR, TX. [R. trilobata var. serotina (Greene) Rehd; Schmaltzia serotina Greene; S. trilobata Greene var. serotina (Greene) Barkl.; R. nortonii (Greene) Rydb.].

var. flabelliformis Shinners Skunkbush. Mature leaves glabrous, terminal leaflet 15 to 33 mm long, cuneate-obovate, apically obtuse to nearly truncate, variously crenate to lobed. Flowering before or with the leaves; floral bracts glabrous or glabrate within an apically ciliate margin. Fruits densely longish-pubescent; stone 3.5 to 4.5 mm long. Rocky slopes, calcareous outcrops, prairies, mesquite plains, sandy woods, brushy ravines, etc. Cen. & W. TX; also S. OK. [R. trilobata of various authors and R. trilobata var. trilobata].

NOTE: Following Barkley (1937), some sources (e.g., Kartesz 1998) maintain R. trilobata and place this within it as R. trilobata Nutt. var. trilobata. However, since intermediates between varieties thus assigned to R. trilobata and those assigned to R. aromatica exist, it would seem logical that the group is perhaps best treated as a single species until relationships within the complex can be resolved. In that case, the name R. aromatica (1789) has priority over R. trilobata (1838).

2.R. glabraANACARDIACEAE RHUS glabra L. Smooth Sumac, Scarlet Sumac. Shrub, less often small tree, to 3(5) m tall, spreading by underground root suckers and often forming thickets; branchlets glabrous, often glaucous. Leaves alternate, odd-pinnate, 3 to 5 dm long, leaflets 11 to 23(31), lanceolate, oblanceolate, or lance-ovate, 7 to 12 cm long, apically acuminate or acute, basally acute to rounded and often oblique, commonly sharply serrate but sometimes only 1 margin serrate, undersurface glaucous, rachis unwinged; petiole 4 to 7 cm long; petiolules 0 to 2 mm long. Inflorescence a dense terminal panicle 10 to 25 cm long, puberulous; flowers greenish. Fruit scarlet, flattened-globose, 3.5 to 4.5 mm in diameter, viscid-pubescent; stone 3 to 3.5 mm long, smooth. Fall color bright scarlet. Dry banks, hillsides, roadsides, etc., often in sandy soil. E. TX, W. to Brazos, Milam, Eastland, and Armstrong Cos.; N.E. and Que. to B.C., S. OR, UT, FL, AR, TX, AZ, and NM. Flowering May-July.

This plant was used by many Plains tribes in medicinal preparations as a styptic, anti-hemorrhagic, and astringent. The leaves were also used in tobacco mixtures and the roots in yellow dyes (Kindscher 1992). A tart drink can be made from the fruits (Tull 1987).

3.R. copallinumANACARDIACEAE RHUS copallinum L. Flameleaf Sumac, Shining Sumac, Dwarf Sumac, Wingrib Sumac. Shrub or small tree 1.5 to 3(10) m tall; branches commonly slender, young branchlets puberulent to villous-tomentose, becoming glabrate with age and developing conspicuous lenticels; buds tan and woolly. Leaves odd-pinnate, to 35 cm long; petioles 3 to 6 cm long; rachis winged between the leaflets, the segments 15 to 25 mm long and to ca. 4 mm broad, puberulent; leaflets 7 to 17, essentially sessile or the terminal abruptly narrowed basally and thus appearing petiolulate, ovate-lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate, scarcely if at all falcate, to 8.5 cm long and 4 cm broad (usually 2 to 4 times longer than wide), obtuse to acute or acuminate apically, basally rather unequally cuneate, margin entire but slightly revolute, rarely with a few serrations, upper surface glabrous or sparsely pilose, rather glossy, midvein impressed, lower surface glandular-puberulent and dull, midvein raised. Inflorescence a dense terminal thyrse to 1.5 dm long and 1 dm wide; flowers greenish yellow. Fruits (3.5)4(5) mm in diameter, depressed-globose, red, with short erect white hairs and scattered longer glandular hairs; stone 2.5 mm in diameter, usually larger on one end, smooth to slightly roughened. Rocky hills, woods, prairies, fencerows, old fields, etc. E. 1/2 TX; ME to MI and SE. NE, S. to GA, LA, and TX. Flowering Jun-July; fruiting Aug.-Oct. Fall color red to maroon and purple. Some sources recognize varieties.

Occasionally planted for fall color. The fruits can be used in drinks and dyes can be made from the plants (Tull 1987).

4.R. lanceolataANACARDIACEAE RHUS lanceolata (Gray) Britt. Prairie Sumac. Large shrub or small tree to 10 m; branches slender, younger branchlets villous and quickly glabrate, older branchlets with prominent lenticels and bark brown; buds whitish, tomentose. Leaves odd-pinnate; petiole 2.5 to 4 cm long; rachis winged, puberulent, the segments 13 to 17 mm long, usually less than 4 mm broad, distal segments the largest; leaflets 13 to 19, essentially sessile or the terminal with slight petiolule, linear-lanceolate, strongly falcate with the distal side wider than the proximal, to 6(9) cm long and 2 cm broad (generally around 12 mm broad), long-acuminate to acuminate, basally rounded to cuneate and somewhat oblique, margin slightly revolute, entire or serrate, especially on the distal margin, dark green and shiny with the midvein impressed above, pilose and somewhat glandular pubescent and with raised veins below. Inflorescence a large terminal thyrse to ca. 15 cm long, flowers whitish. Drupe subglobose, somewhat flattened, red, ca. 3.5 to 4 mm long, 4 mm broad, pubescent; stone ca. 3 mm long and 2 mm broad, sometimes larger on one end, smooth. Fall color red, tinged with orange or purple. Calcareous and limestone soils of roadsides, canyons, fencelines, etc. N. Cen. TX and E. Ed. Plat., W. to Trans Pecos; uncommon in our area but known at least from Brazos Co.; also NM. Flowering summer-early fall; fruiting in fall. [R. copallina L. var. lanceolata Gray].

Native Americans used the fruits in drinks and the leaves in smoking mixtures (Powell 1988).


Ours woody vines, shrubs, or subshrubs, often rhizomatous, frequently climbing by aerial rootlets; resin in all parts of the plants capable of causing dermatitis. Leaves alternate, estipulate; leaflets 3(5 or 7), entire to toothed, undulate, or variously lobed, upper surface glabrous to sparsely pubescent, lower surface glabrous or scattered-strigose to densely pilose or velvety, sometimes the hairs in tufts in the axils of the veins. Inflorescence an axillary paniculate or racemose thyrse, pendent when large, ultimate clusters with 3 or 4 flowers. Plants dioecious, in section Toxicodendron (to which all of our species belong) flowers conservative in morphology within a sex rather than within a species. Sepals 5, united only briefly below, imbricate in bud, broadly lanceolate or ovate, green below and cream above, often with purple veins, shriveling but persistent in fruit. Petals 5, cream, free, imbricate in bud, ovate to lanceolate, obtuse, smaller in female than male. Fertile stamens 5, borne on a glandular disk attached to the ovary base, shriveling and persisting in fruit; sterile stamens present in female flowers. Gynoecium 3-carpellate but only one carpel fertile, ovary sessile or buried in the disk; style 1, 3-branched apically, stigmas capitate, ovule 1; rudimentary ovary present in male flowers. Fruit a globose to flattened drupe, with a brittle, chartaceous exocarp; waxy, fibrous mesocarp with resin canals visible as black striations; and bony endocarp permanently attached to the testa; fruits green until ripening to cream, yellow, straw-colored, or tan, glabrous, scabrous, papillose, or with eglandular hairs; exocarp commonly separating from the mesocarp and the mesocarp-endocarp-seed unit often referred to in literature as the "seed".

Six species of N. Amer. and Asia, some accidentally introduced elsewhere; 4 in TX; 2 here. (For a discussion of the segregation of Toxicodendron from Rhus, see Gillis (1971).)

Members of the genus produce allergic contact dermatitis. Long-chain catechols bind with skin proteins, and the body produces antibodies to the resulting compound. Upon further exposure, an antigen-antibody reaction occurs, resulting in swelling, itching, and blisters. A period of 12 to 48 hours can elapse between contact and expression of the rash. Usually only the contact site develops the rash, but sometimes previous exposure sites respond. Prevention is the best means of avoiding an episode--protective clothing and washing with lots of water (the toxins take about 10 minutes to penetrate skin). The toxins can also be contracted from contaminated clothes, pets, backpacks, etc. The pollen and smoke from burning plants can also be toxic. Topical steroids are useful in reducing the misery of the rash; antihistamines are not. Severe cases may require injections of steroids. True tolerance appears to exist in 15 to 30% of the population; in others, sensitization and subsequent reaction can occur at any age (Lampe 1985). Folk remedies abound, including rubbing the affected area with jewelweed (Impatiens), dock (Rumex), bleach, etc. (Tull 1987). Birds eat the fruit with impunity (Vines 1960).

NOTE: For keying purposes, it is best to use "sun" leaves from older branches as they are more constant and diagnostic than "shade" or juvenile foliage. Material from both sexes should be examined, if possible.

1. Plants shrubs or subshrubs, never climbing; fruits pubescent or papillose; leaflet margins undulate to crenate or round-lobed; apex usually rounded to obtuse ...1.T.toxicarium

1. Plants vines or shrubs, often climbing with aerial rootlets; fruits glabrous to scabrous, papillose, or puberulent; leaflet margins entire, serrate, or with 1 lobe; apex usually acute to acuminate .............................................................................................................................2

2(1) Leaflets glabrous to scattered-strigose beneath; tufts of hairs present in the axils of the major veins ...2a.T.radicans

var. radicans

2. Leaflets densely hispid, pilose, or villous below with erect hairs; tufts of hairs absent ............


var. pubens

1.T. toxicariumANACARDIACEAE TOXICODENDRON toxicarium (Salisb.) Gillis Eastern Poison-oak (though "Poison-oak" applies more properly to T. vernix). Small shrub or subshrub (sometimes woody only at the very base) to 1 m tall from branched rhizomes; branches pubescent. Leaves subcoriaceous; petiole villous or hispid, 1.4 to 12.5 cm long; leaflets 3(5), ovate to oblong or oblong-ovate, the terminal 0.7 to 3.2 cm long, lateral leaflets inequilateral, subsessile or with petiolules to 2.5 cm long, all rarely undulate, more often lobate-dentate, lyrate, or sinuate-pinnate with 3 to 7 rounded, obtuse, or subacute lobes, commonly more deeply lobed on male plants, apically rounded to subacute or less often acuminate, basally obtuse to cuneate, upper surface pilose, strigose, hispid, or velutinous, undersurface strigose, velutinous, or woolly, often dark brown, tufts of hairs absent. Inflorescence an axillary paniculate thyrse to 10 cm long; floral bracts deltoid to lanceolate, 0.6 to 10 mm long, 0.3 to 3 mm broad. Petals 2 to 4 mm long, 2 to 3 mm broad, reflexed in male and recurved in female flowers; anthers 1 to 1.5 mm long, filaments 1 to 1.8 mm long. Drupe 3 to 5 mm in diameter, yellow-brown to tan, globose-reniform or occasionally depressed-globose, pubescent (rarely glabrous), the exocarp becoming papery and separating from the white-waxy, striate mesocarp. Fall color red-brown or brown. Almost entirely restricted to nutrient-poor sands, usually in oak or pine woods or ravines, often associated with an understory of Ericaceous shrubs and grasses. E. 1/2 TX; Atlantic and Coastal Plain--NJ to mid-FL, W. to S. MO, KS, OK, and TX. Flowering generally in April. [Rhus toxicodendron L. and formae elobata Fern. and leiocarpa Fern.; R. toxicodendron L. var. quercifolium Michx.; R. quercifolia (Michx.) Steudel; R. toxicarium Salisb.; T. monticola Greene; etc.].

Kartesz (1998) uses the name T. pubescens P. Mill for this species. This name has been applied to several different plants, only one of which is the taxon in question. The type of the name is not this species, and no type of T. pubescens Mill is known. For a discussion, see Gillis (1971).

2.T. radicansANACARDIACEAE TOXICODENDRON radicans (L.) O. Ktze. Poison-ivy, Cow-Itch, Poison Mercury, Poison-oak (though "Poison-oak" is more properly applied to T. vernix). Viny shrub or shrub, often with brown aerial roots, sometimes climbing to great heights, spreading by creeping rhizomes; branches glabrous to puberulent. Petiole 2 to 20 cm long, commonly short pubescent with curly hairs; leaflets 3, rarely 5(7), ovate to elliptic, entire to serrate, dentate, or irregularly lobed or incised, apically acute to acuminate or cuspidate, variously pubescent, terminal leaflet 3 to 20 cm long, 1.5 to 13 cm broad, with petiolule 0.3 to 6 cm long, lateral leaflets often inequilateral, 2.5 to 10 cm long, 1 to 10 cm broad, petiolules from less than 0.1 mm to 1.2 cm long. Inflorescence an axillary paniculate thyrse to 10 cm long, pedicels pilose, 2 to 5 mm long, bracts deltoid to lanceolate, 0.7 to 10 mm long, 0.5 to 3 mm broad, glabrate, ciliate-margined, deciduous. Sepals deltoid-ovate, 1 mm long, 2 to 4 mm broad, glabrate; petals glabrous, 2 to 5 mm long and broad, reflexed in male flowers and recurved in female; anthers 1 to 1.5 mm long, filaments 1.3 to 1.8 mm long. Drupe cream, yellow, or tan, globose to globose-reniform, sometimes laterally compressed, 2.5 to 7 mm broad, exocarp glabrous to bristly, papery on ripening and separating from the mesocarp, deciduous, mesocarp white-waxy. Fall color yellow to orange, red, or bronze.

There are 9 subspecies, widely distributed from S. Can. to Guat., E. 1/3 U.S., Mex., Berm., Bahamas, Japan, W. and Cen. China, Taiwan, and Kurile and Sakhalin Islands; 5 subspecies in TX; apparently only 2 here as separated by the above key. Intergrades between subspecies do occur.

2a. subsp. radicans Leaflets usually entire or with 1 lobe (the terminal leaflet with 2), glabrate to scattered-strigose above, often with curly hairs near the base, lower surface with tufts of straw-colored or hyaline hairs (occasionally reddish-brown) in the axils of the major veins, blades 2.5 to 17 cm long, 2 to 13 cm broad, terminal leaflet basally obtuse, subcordate, or truncate, usually biggest below the center, petiolule 0.5 to 6 cm long; petiole 2 to 20 cm long. Fruits globose, 3 to 6.5 mm broad, puberulent, scabrous, or papillose (surface texture often visible only with strong magnification). Very common on roadsides, fencerows, railroad rights-of-way, and sand dunes and in disturbed woods, floodplain woods, and wet areas. Often associated with Parthenocissus, Ulmus, Fraxinus, Ampelopsis, and (in our area) Rubus. More or less throughout the state; N. S., S. to FL and the Bahamas, W. to VT, KS, AR, and TX. Flowering Apr.-May. [Rhus radicans L. and var. vulgaris forma intercursa Fern.; R. toxicodendron L. var. radicans Eaton and var. vulgaris Michx., etc.].

2b. subsp. pubens (Engelm. ex S. Wats.) Gillis Leaflets ovate, serrate, notched, or sometimes one-lobed (the terminal leaflet sometimes with 2), upper surface scabrous or rarely glabrous, often with a line of curly hairs on the midrib, lower surface densely strigose, hirsute, or velutinous with erect hairs, velvety to the touch, without tufts of hair in the axils, veins usually slightly raised, terminal leaflet 3 to 20 cm long, 3 to 11 cm broad, acuminate, petiolule 0.3 to 5 cm long; petiole 2 to 13 cm long, hispid, villous, or tomentose. Fruit glabrous, often glaucescent, rarely with minute papillae or hairs, 3 to 4.5 mm broad. Often weedy or in ruderal areas, usually in SE evergreen forests, associated with Quercus virginiana, Ulmus crassifolia, or Liquidambar styraciflua; present in our area. Distribution in the former Eocene Gulf Embayment: NW. MI, SE AR, and E. LA; scattered NE. to TN, KY, and MO, NW. to OK and possibly KS, W. to TX. Flowering in mid to late spring. [Rhus toxicodendron L. var. pubens Engelm. ex Watson; R. toxicodendron L. var multifolia Vines].


Mahogany Family

Trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate, once or twice pinnately compound or some (not ours) simple, estipulate. Inflorescence various, in ours paniculate. Flowers in ours perfect (in others unisexual or plant polygamous), regular. Sepals (2)3 to 5(7), imbricate in bud. Petals 3 to 7(14), sometimes in 2 whorls, imbricate, valvate, or convolute. Stamens 7 to 14 in 1 or 2 series, generally monadelphous with the anthers sessile on the stamen tube. Nectary usually present as a ring around the ovary. Ovary superior, of (1)2 to 6(20) united carpels with as many locules, placentation usually axile, with 1 to many ovules per cell; style and stigma 1. Fruit capsular or drupe-like.

51 genera and 575 species primarily of the tropics, a few in the subtropics; 1 species naturalized in TX and present in our area.

The family is important for timber trees in several genera. Swietenia is mahogany. There has recently been much interest in natural insecticides from the Neem tree (Azadirachta) (Mabberley 1987).


3 species of the Old World tropics; one escaping cultivation and naturalized in TX.

1. M. azedarach L. Chinaberry, Pride of India, Canelón, Paraíso. Tree to ca. 15 m, crown broad and rounded; bark gray or brown, fissured; wood rather weak; young branches with conspicuous lenticels. Leaves petiolate, twice odd-pinnately compound, 30 cm or more long, sometimes quite large; leaflets many, ovate to elliptic or lanceolate, basally rounded, apically acute or more often acuminate, crenate-dentate to incised or lobed, to 6 cm long and 3 cm broad. Flowers many per panicle, fragrant; pedicels ca. 3 mm long, minutely pubescent with simple or stellate hairs. Sepals usually 5 or 6, 1 to 2 mm long, elliptic, pubescent like the pedicels; petals 5 or 6, narrowly oblanceolate to spatulate, obtuse to acute, ca. 1 cm long, pale lavender or whitish, spreading; stamens 10 to 12, united by the filaments into a dark purplish tube 8 to 10 mm long, the orifice with numerous short, slender filaments outside and 10 to 12 anthers inside. Fruit drupe-like, pale golden or yellow, subglobose, becoming wrinkly with age, ca. 1.5 cm broad, the flesh thin, bitter or bittersweet and astringent, somewhat foul-smelling when fallen and decomposing; seeds usually 5, 1 in each cell of the ribbed, bony endocarp unit. Weedy in thickets, floodplains, neighborhoods, woods, etc. Native from Asia to Australia, originally cultivated for ornament and definitely established in our area. E. 1/2 TX; escaped from cultivation as far N. as SE. VA. Flowering Mar.-May; fruiting in the fall. Fall color bright clear yellow.

Although the wood has been used for firewood, tool handles, furniture, cigar boxes, etc. (Mabberley 1987), the tree tends to be brittle and readily drops branches in storms. The limbs, the fruits, and the large leaf rachises make litter when they fall, so the tree is generally regarded as a "trash tree." The ripe fruits are eaten by several species of birds in the spring after they mature; in our area a favorite of the cedar waxwing. Birds that eat the fruit often become intoxicated and fly into windowpanes. The fruit and bark have been used medicinally (Elias 1980), but the fruit are listed as poisonous by Lampe (1985). Human intoxications vary in nature and severity, but fatalities have been recorded.


Citrus or Rue Family

Herbs, subshrubs, shrubs, and small trees, armed or unarmed. Leaves alternate or opposite, pinnately or palmately compound or simple by reduction, usually thickish, firm, and aromatic, with oil glands at least on the undersides of the leaves (obscure in Ptelea); rachis and/or petiole often winged; stipules none. Inflorescence racemose-cymose, cymose, or an axillary cluster. Flowers perfect or imperfect, plants polygamous, dioecious, or with all perfect flowers. Sepals in ours (4)5, free or fuse, sometimes caducous, rarely none. Petals in ours 3 to 5 (rarely 6 or more), usually imbricate, rarely none. Stamens in ours (1)2(3) times as many as the petals, free or connate, when in two whorls, the outer opposite the petals. Nectary disk present between the stamens and ovary. Gynoecium in ours superior, of (2)4 to 5(many) carpels around a central columella, in ours usually united, but in some only loosely united, rarely carpels only 1. Fruit a capsule, samara, berry, or follicle. Seeds usually with abundant endosperm.

161 genera and 1,700 species worldwide, especially in the tropics; 10 genera and 15 species in TX; 3 genera and 4 species here.

The family is important for citrus fruits from Citrus, Fortunella (kumquat), etc., and for flavorings or herbs such as rue (Ruta). Some are timber trees or have medicinal value. Many taxa are cultivated for ornament, including members of Poncirus, Dictamnus, Skimmia, and so on (Mabberley 1987).

1. Fruit a berry with a leathery rind; stamens usually 15 or more; stems with vicious thorns; leaves trifoliolate ....................................................................................................1. Poncirus

1. Fruit a samara or follicle; stamens usually fewer than 15; stems armed or unarmed--if armed then leaflets more than 3 ..............................................................................................2

2(1) Leaflets 3; plants unarmed; fruit a samara ................................................................2. Ptelea

2. Leaflets usually 9 or more; plants armed with prickles; fruit follicle-like ......3. Zanthoxylum


One species native to China; cultivated and sometimes persisting or escaping.

1. P. trifoliata (L.) Raf. Trifoliate Orange, Hardy Orange, Bitter Orange. Shrub or small tree; branches somewhat flattened, green, armed with stout, straight, viciously sharp thorns to 6 cm long. Leaves deciduous, often not present or only sparse even in the growing season, alternate, palmately trifoliolate, leaflets elliptic or obovate, 17 to 40(85) mm long, terminal leaflet tapered to the base and sometimes oblanceolate, lateral leaflets asymmetrical, all entire or with tiny glandular scallops, gland-dotted, midveins and petiole pale beneath; petiole winged. Flowers solitary, perfect, fragrant. Calyx cup-shaped with 3 to 5 sepal teeth; petals 4 or 5 whitish; stamens (8 to 10)15 or more. Fruit globose to subglobose, 3.7 to 5 cm in diameter, yellow or yellowish-orange, with a thick gland-dotted rind, the interior resembling a small orange, often partly hollow, pulp sour, seeds relatively large. Fencerows, old homesites, etc. E. 1/2 TX; cultivated as far north as MA, persisting and escaping in the Mid-Atlantic and southern states. Flowering in spring; fruiting in fall. [Citrus trifoliata L.].

This plant makes a very good barrier hedge with its stout thorns and tolerance of poor soils (Elias 1980). The fruit, though resembling a small orange, is not edible. Lampe (1985) lists it as poisonous, causing gastroenteritis, though serious poisoning cases are unlikely because the fruits are unpleasant to eat.


Deciduous shrub or small tree, unarmed, with pale or whitish bark. Leaves alternate, trifoliolate, glandular. Flowers in terminal cymes or panicles, greenish-white, plants polygamo-dioecious. Sepals 4 or 5(6), quickly deciduous. Petals 4 or 5(6), free, imbricate in bud. Stamens 4 or 5(6), vestigial in pistillate flowers. Disk lobed. Ovary with 2(3) locules, ovules 2 per locule but one aborting. Fruit a flat samara, the wing completely encircling the body.

There are 3 species in N. America; we have the 1 found in TX.

1. P. trifoliata L. Skunk-bush, Skunk-tree, Wafer-ash, Common Hop-tree, Cola de Zorillo. Shrub or small tree 1 to 3 m tall; bark light brown. Leaflets sessile, 2 to 9 cm long. Flowers appearing with the leaves, primarily unisexual by abortion; sepals 1 to 2 mm long; petals usually 4 to 6 mm long, broadly elliptic to ovate or linear-oblong, hirsute within; stamens alternate with the petals; disk forming a gynophore beneath the ovary.

The seeds were formerly used as a hops substitute in beer making, and a tonic made from the plant's juices was considered a quinine substitute (Elias 1980).

There are three intergrading subspecies. Our material belongs to the following subspecies and varieties.

subsp. trifoliata var. mollis T. & G. Woolly Hop-tree. Twigs short-pubescent. Foliage and fruit with glands small, visible only with a lens, mostly less than 0.1 mm across. Leaflets more or less ovate or obovate, lateral leaflets inequilateral at the base, the angle between the lower margin and the midvein ca. 45o to 55o, blades herbaceous, sparsely pubescent above, mostly on the veins, lower surface densely short-pubescent, margin crenate-serrate to entire. Samaras ca. 2 cm long, reticulate, mostly 2-carpellate, the body usually less than 1 mm thick and about in the center of the wing or slightly above. Ed. Plat., E., SE., and N. Cen. TX.; in our area usually associated with rock outcrops; NY, Que., and Ont. to NE, S. to FL, AL, and TX. Mar.-May.

subsp. angustifolia (Benth.) V. Bailey var. persicifolia (Greene) V. Bailey. Twigs short-pubescent; glands of twigs, leaves, and fruit large enough to be seen with the naked eye, 0.15 to 0.25(0.3) mm in diameter. Leaflets more or less elliptic, lateral leaflets nearly equilateral at the base, the angle between the lower margin and the midvein usually less than 50o; blades herbaceous and flexible, thin, shiny and short pubescent along the midrib above, slightly shiny below and thinly pubescent with longer hairs, apices acute to obtuse, bases cuneate, margins serrulate to irregularly serrate or nearly entire. Fruit to ca. 2 cm long, often 3-carpellate, the body often 2 to 3 mm thick, sometimes below the middle of the wing. Rocky stream banks, ravines, pastures, etc. Known from Robertson Co.; Ed. Plat. and N. Cen. TX; TX to OK and AR. Mar.-May.


Shrubs or trees; trunk, branchlets and/or foliage armed with stout prickles; bark aromatic. Leaves alternate, usually deciduous, once odd-pinnately compound, margins of leaflets glandular-crenate or -serrate. Plants polygamous or dioecious; flowers in terminal or axillary clusters, small, yellow-green. Sepals 4 or 5, sometimes more or less united or in some species absent. Petals 4 or 5. Stamens 4 or 5, alternate with the petals, vestigial in female flowers. Carpels 2 to 5, more or less free or slightly united basally, vestigial in male flowers. Each carpel maturing into a one-seeded follicle; seeds shiny and black.

About 250 species of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia; 4 species in TX; 2 known from our area.

Often misspelled "Xanthoxylum". Various species are sources of timber, medicines, or spices (Mabberley 1987).

1. Leaves of flowering branches 10 to 30 cm long, with 9 to 17 acute to acuminate leaflets; inflorescence 6 to 15 cm long ...1.Z.clava-herculis

1. Leaves of flowering branches 2.5 to 12 cm long, with 5 to 11 obtuse to rounded leaflets; inflorescence 1 to 7 cm long ...2.Z.hirsutum

1.Z. clava-herculisRUTACEAE ZANTHOXYLUM clava-herculis L. Toothache-tree, Prickly-ash, Hercules Club, Tickle-tongue, (Southern) Pepperbark. Large shrub or small tree to ca. 3 m tall; crown rounded, trunk to 50 cm in diameter, usually much smaller; bark light gray with many scattered, darker pyramidal prickles, these eventually deciduous; branchlets pubescent when young, becoming glabrous, gland-dotted, armed with prickles to 1.5 cm long; leaf scars more or less heart-shaped. Leaves 1 to 3 dm long, semi-persistent, remaining until new growth appears, leaves of flowering branches with 9 to 17 leaflets, leaflets 3.5 to 9 cm long, elliptic to lanceolate, acute to acuminate, basally sometimes somewhat inequilateral, glossy and glabrous above, paler below, margin glandular-crenate or -serrate; rachis puberulent, sometimes with prickles. Inflorescence terminal, 6 to 15 cm long, flowers 5-merous except for the 3 pistils in carpellate flowers. Fruits with a leathery wall, 5 to 9 mm long, each opening to reveal 1 shiny black, minutely pitted seed. Common in woods and on fencerows. E. and SE. TX; scattered W. to N. Cen. TX; scattered from TX to AR, E. to FL, N. along the seaboard to VA and MD. Spring; ours mostly April.

Biting and chewing a leaf produces a numbing or tingling sensation in the tongue. Plains Indians used the near relative Z. americana in various medicinal preparations (Kindscher 1992); it is possible local tribes used this species in similar ways.

2.Z. hirsutumRUTACEAE ZANTHOXYLUM hirsutum Buckl. Texas Hercules Club. Small tree or usually large shrub to 5 m tall; branches and twigs with stout curved prickles; bark of twigs light gray-brown; herbage semi-evergreen and usually more or less minutely hirsute or pilose. Leaves of flowering branches 2.5 to 12 cm long, with 5 to 11 leaflets, leaflets elliptic to oval, 10 to 40 mm long, apically obtuse to rounded, margin glandular-crenate, gland-dotted and somewhat shiny above and below, despite any hair; rachis pubescent. Plants dioecious, the flowers in terminal panicles 1 to 7 cm long, opening before the leaves expand, 5-merous except for the gynoecium. Fruits ellipsoid, 6 to 12 mm long, gland-dotted, fragrant, each with 1 shiny black seeds. Usually in brushy country on sandy, gravelly, or calcareous soils. Known from Leon Co., but more usually to our W.: Ed. Plat., lower Plains Country, and N. Cen. TX, S. to Rio Grande Plains; TX to OK, and AR; also Mex. Spring. [Z. clava-herculis L. var. fruticosum Gray].


Caltrop Family

Ours annual or perennial herbs (other taxa also shrubs or trees). Leaves stipulate, opposite (other taxa also alternate or in fascicles), commonly 1 of each pair reduced or sometimes absent, even-pinnately compound or irregularly pinnatifid, leaflets usually in opposite pairs, entire. Flowers perfect, regular or essentially so, ours 4- or 5-merous. Sepals imbricate or valvate in ours, free, persistent or deciduous. Petals usually free, imbricate or convolute in bud. Stamens usually in 2 whorls, free or the outer whorl basally united to the petals. Disk or nectary glands present or absent, sometimes acting as a gynophore. Ovary superior, 2- to 5- or 10-lobed and with as many locules, ovules 1 to many per locule, placentation axile; style 1, often forming a beak on the fruit. Fruit in ours schizocarpic, separating into indehiscent mericarps, often spiny or tuberculate.

27 genera an 250 species of the tropics and subtropics, especially dry areas; 6 genera and 13 species listed for TX by Hatch, et al. (1990); 2 genera and 4 species here.

1. Fruit breaking into 5 spiny, 3- to 5-seeded mericarps; beak of fruit falling with the

mericarps; glands present between stamens ........................................................1. Tribulus

1. Fruit breaking into 10 tubercled, 1-seeded mericarps; beak of fruit persisting on the pedicel after mericarps fall; glands between the stamens absent ................2. Kallstroemia


Annual or perennial herbs; stems radiating from a taproot, prostrate to ascending, well-branched, with silky appressed hairs and also hirsute, to 3 m long. Leaves opposite, but 1 of each pair smaller or abortive (often alternately so along the stem), even pinnately compound, leaflets 3 to 7 pairs, oblong to ovate or elliptic, base in equilateral. Flowers solitary in the axils of the reduced leaves, 5-merous. Sepals ovate to lanceolate, imbricate, pubescent, deciduous. Petals yellow (or white), obovate, apically lobed or rounded. Stamens 10 in 2 whorls, the outer series opposite and basally adnate to the petals, usually slightly exceeding the inner series; intrastaminal nectary glands present. Ovary ovoid, 5-carpellate and 5-lobed, with 5 locules, densely hirsute-pilose; ovules 3 to 5 per locule. Fruit at maturity a schizocarp separating into 5 indehiscent mericarps, each with 2 to 4 spines dorsally and sometimes small spines and bristly tubercles, the interior divided by oblique cross-septa into 3 to 5, 1-seeded compartments; beak of fruit falling with or before the mericarps.

25 species of the Old World tropics and subtropics; 3 species are weeds introduced into the New World; 2 thought to occur in TX; 1 here.

1. T. terrestris L. Caltrop, Puncture Weed or Vine, Goat-head, Abrojo de Flor Amarilla, Cadillo. Characters of the genus and specifically as follows: Annual; stems to 1.5 m long, hirsute and appressed-sericeous but becoming glabrous. Leaves appressed-silky pubescent, 1 to 4.5 cm long, leaflets 3 to 6 pairs, oblong to ovate, 4 to 11 mm long, 1 to 4 mm wide, inequilateral; stipules lanceolate, 3 to 6 mm long, 0.5 to 1.3 mm broad. Flowers 5 to 10 mm across; pedicels usually shorter than the subtending leaves and pubescent. Sepals ovate, 2 to 3 mm long, 1.5 to 2 mm broad, pubescent; petals 3 to 5(6) mm long, 2 to 3 mm wide; nectary glands free; ovary 1 mm broad. Fruit ca. 1 cm broad (exclusive of the spines), larger spines 4 to 7 mm long. Usually in sandy or gravelly disturbed soils of roadsides, railroad beds, etc. Throughout much of TX except the Gulf Coast and Pineywoods; native to the Mediterranean region and now a widespread warm-temperate weed. Apr.-Nov.

This plant is somewhat poisonous to livestock as it leads to photosensitization (Mabberley 1987).


Annual or perennial herbs. Stems radiating from a central taproot, prostrate to decumbent or ascending, well-branched. Leaves opposite, 1 of each pair often reduced or aborted, commonly alternately so along the stem, even-pinnately compound, leaflets in TX material 3 to 8 pairs, oblong or obovate to elliptic, basally inequilateral and somewhat unequal; stipules membranous, deciduous. Flowers solitary in the axils of the reduced leaves, 5-merous. Sepals lanceolate or subulate to ovate, pubescent, imbricate in bud, persistent or deciduous. Petals orange or yellow (white), obovate, rounded to slightly notched, convolute in bud, macrescent (withering but remaining). Stamens 10 in 2 series, the outer series opposite the petals and adnate to them, usually slightly exceeding the inner series. Ovary ovoid or globose, with 10 lobes and 10 locules, glandular to pubescent. Fruit at maturity schizocarpic, separating into 10 unarmed, indehiscent, 1-seeded mericarps.

17 species of the New World tropics and subtropics; 6 listed for TX (Hatch, et al. 1990); 3 known from our area.

1. Fruits glabrous ...1.K.maxima

1. Fruits pubescent .......................................................................................................................2

2(1) Petals orange; beak of fruit longer than the body, 3 to 9 mm long; pedicels usually longer than the subtending leaves ...2.K.parviflora

2. Petals yellow; beak of fruit shorter than the body, 1 to 4 mm long; pedicels usually shorter than the subtending leaves ...3.K.hirsutissima

1.K. maximaZYGOPHYLLACEAE KALLSTROEMIA maxima (L.) Hook. & Arn. Annual; stems prostrate to decumbent, to 1 m long, sericeous and sparsely hirsute, becoming glabrate. Leaves 1 to 6 cm long, leaflets 3 or 4 pairs, widely oblong to elliptic, 5 to 29 mm long, 3 to 14 mm broad. Sepals ovate, 3 to 8 mm long, 2 to 3 mm broad, persistent; petals yellow, 7 to 8 mm long, to 6 mm broad. In fruit pedicels equalling or exceeding the subtending leaves; body of fruit ovoid, glabrous, 5 to 6 mm across, the beak with a conical base, about as long as the body. Mericarps at maturity tuberculate, cross-ridged, and slightly keeled, 3 to 4 mm long, ca. 1 mm broad. Known from Washington Co. in the 1930's; collected by the author from nearby Fayette Co. in 1991, so probably still in our area; native to the Caribbean and tropical Mex; also known from coastal FL, GA, and SC. July-Oct, the Fayette Co. collection from Sept.

2.K. parvifloraZYGOPHYLLACEAE KALLSTROEMIA parviflora J. B. S. Nort. Warty Caltrop. Taprooted annual; stems prostrate to decumbent, to 1 m long, sericeous and coarsely hirsute, becoming glabrate. Leaves 1 to 6 cm long, leaflets (3)4 or 5(6) pairs, elliptic to oval or oblong, 8 to 19 mm long, 3.5 to 9 mm broad, asymmetrical, surface appressed-hirsute, margin and veins sericeous; stipules lanceolate, 5 to 7 mm long, 1 to 3 m broad. Peduncles 1 to 4 cm long at anthesis, at maturity usually longer than the subtending leaves (or at least their rachises). Sepals lanceolate, 4 to 7 mm long, 1 to 2 mm broad, persistent; petals orange (drying white to yellow), slenderly obovate, 5 to 11 mm long, 3.5 to 6 mm broad; stamens as long as the style; nectary glands none; ovary ovoid, ca. 1 mm in diameter, pubescent. Body of fruit ovoid, 3 to 4 mm tall, 4 to 6 mm in diameter, strigose, beak cylindric, usually longer than the body, 3 to 9 mm long. Mericarps 3 to 4 mm tall, ca. 1 mm broad, dorsally rugose to tuberculate, the sides pitted. Roadsides, railroads, etc. Throughout much of TX except the E. and SE., the High Plains, and the southernmost Rio Grande Plains; KS, CO, and SE. CA., S. to TX and Mex.; introduced elsewhere, to IL and MS. Apr.-Nov. [K. intermedia Rydb.].

3.K. hirsutissimaZYGOPHYLLACEAE KALLSTROEMIA hirsutissima Vail ex Small Hairy Caltrop, Carpetweed. Taprooted annual; stems prostrate, 15 to 70 cm long, often forming a dense mat, densely gray-sericeous and hirsute. Leaves 1 to 4 cm long; leaflets 3 or 4 pairs, broadly elliptic to oblong-ovate or widely ovate, 12 to 19 mm long, 5 to 11 mm broad, the surface densely hirsute (to strigose or sometimes nearly glabrous), margins ciliate; stipules lance-subulate, to ca. 4 mm long. Sepals subulate, 2.5 to 4 mm long, ca. 1 mm broad, persistent; petals yellow (drying paler), 2 to 4 mm long, ca. 1.5 mm broad. Peduncles at maturity usually shorter than the subtending leaves; body of fruit broadly ovoid, to 4 to 5 mm tall, 6 to 8 mm broad, strigillose, beak broadly conical basally, white-hirsute in a ring at the base, shorter than the body of the fruit, 1 to 4 mm long. Mericarps ca. 4 mm tall and 1 mm broad, with blunt tubercles with surfaces often transversely ridged. Various soils of roadsides, waste places, fields, etc. Known at least from Brazos, Burleson, and Washington Cos.; sporadic in the Rio Grande Plains N. to Kerr Co. on the Ed. Plat., also in the Trans Pecos; S. AZ and S. NM. to TX; also Mex. June-Nov.



Wood-sorrel Family

Ours annual or perennial herbs (elsewhere also shrubs and trees), acaulescent or caulescent; usually with sour sap. Leaves alternate or basal, palmately or pinnately compound (rarely unifoliate), with or without stipules. Flowers perfect, regular, 5-merous, often heterostylous, borne in axillary cymose inflorescences or the cymes reduced and flowers umbellate or solitary. Sepals imbricate. Petals sometimes briefly united basally, usually convolute in bud. Stamens 10, more or less in 2 whorls, the outer commonly with shorter filaments, often all basally connate, sometimes only 5 with anthers, anthers attached dorsally. Ovary superior, of 3(5) united carpels, styles usually as many and free, placentation axile, each locule with (1)2 to several ovules. Fruit a loculicidal capsule or berry. Seeds with a basal aril, sometimes explosively propelled from the fruit, endosperm usually abundant and oily.

8 genera and 575 species, primarily of the tropics to a few in temperate regions; 1 genus with 12 species in TX; 6 species here.

The family is important for Averrhoa (Star Fruit) with its edible berry. Oxalis includes weeds, cultivated ornamentals, and some food plants (Mabberley 1987).

OXALIDACEAE OXALIS1. OXALIS L. Wood-sorrel, Lady's-sorrel

Caulescent or acaulescent annual or perennial herbs from rootstocks, bulbs, taproots, rhizomes, and/or stolons. Leaves basal or alternate, simple to palmately or pinnately compound (ours all palmately 3-foliolate), leaflets in ours obcordate to obreniform, entire except for an apical dent or notch, usually folded downward and together at night or in cloudy weather; stipules present or absent. Flowers closing at night and in inclement weather, nodding prior to and after anthesis, dimorphic or trimorphic in length of style and stamens. Sepals persistent. Petals sometimes briefly united basally. Stamens 10, of 2 lengths, basally united. Ovary 5-carpellate, styles 5, free. Capsule more or less cylindric, longitudinally dehiscent. Seeds red to brown, enclosed in a transparent aril that turns inside out to forcibly expel the seed from the capsule.

About 500 species worldwide, especially in S. America and the Cape region of Africa; 12 in TX; 6 here.

Many species, including some of ours, are weedy. Some, such as O. acetosella, have edible foliage, while the tubers of some, such as O. tuberosa of Peru, are root vegetables. Some are cultivated ornamentals. One such is O. tetraphylla. It has 4-foliolate leaves and is often sold as a "shamrock" (Mabberley 1987). Tull (1987) notes that yellow dyes can be made from TX species.

NOTES: It is essential to have a complete specimen for identification. Our purple-flowered species must have the underground portion and the yellow-flowered sorts are best examined for habit and pubescence in the fresh state. Many herbarium sheets cannot be determined with absolute confidence.

Several good references exist (e.g. Lourteig 1979; Eiten 1963), but more work needs to be done to determine the range of the species in Texas. Several species known to occur here were not indicated for our area by Correll and Johnston (1970) or Hatch, et al. (1990).

1. Plants leafy-stemmed; flowers yellow ......................................................................................2

1. Plants acaulescent; flowers purple or pink ..............................................................................4

2(1) Stipules none but petioles jointed just above the base; spreading septate hairs present on stems, petioles, and pedicels; inflorescence often cymose; stems usually erect or

decumbent, single from the root or arising from a slim white rhizome ...1.O.stricta

2. Stipules present; plants with appressed or spreading non-septate hairs; inflorescence usually umbellate; stems few to many from the main root, sometimes rooting at the nodes; rhizomes, if present, not white ..................................................................................................3

3(2) Aboveground stems erect to decumbent, not rooting at the nodes; dark rhizomes often present; stipules narrow ...2.O.dillenii

3. Aboveground stems creeping and rooting at the nodes; rhizomes absent; stipules broad and often auriculate ...3.O.corniculata

4(1) Petioles, leaf blades, peduncles and pedicels glabrous; plants from scaly bulbs with fibrous roots ...4.O.violacea

4. Petioles, leaf blades, peduncles, and/or pedicels more or less villous or pubescent; plants from scaly bulbs or woody crowns ...........................................................................................5

5(4) Plants from scaly bulbs and fibrous roots; flowers purplish when fresh; native species .........


5. Plants from a woody crown with a stout woody taproot and tubers; flowers usually pink when fresh (drying purple); occasionally escaping cultivation ...6.O.rubra

1.O. strictaOXALIDACEAE OXALIS stricta L. Yellow Wood-sorrel, Chanchaquilla. Plant to 5 dm tall; stems erect or eventually decumbent, single from a main root or several single stems spaced along a thin, white, succulent rhizome (this often lost in collecting), aboveground stems not rooting at the nodes, varying from subglabrous to densely pubescent with more or less spreading, septate hairs (use strong magnification) and short, appressed non-septate hairs. Stipules absent but petioles with an articulation above the point of attachment, usually with at least some septate hairs at the base and also some non-septate hairs; leaves often purplish, leaflets quite variable in size. Inflorescence cymose or sometimes the branches of the cyme reduced and the inflorescence apparently umbellate or single-flowered; pedicels 1 to 2.5 cm long, glabrous to pubescent with septate and/or non-septate hairs, at fruit maturity horizontal to erect. Sepals 3 to 5 mm long; petals 11 mm long or shorter, lemon- or orange-yellow. Capsules 5 to 15 mm long, cylindric, glabrous or with a few spreading, septate hairs (sometimes very small, appressed curled hairs also); seeds brown, the transverse ridges only rarely with white markings or the white markings inconspicuous. Weedy in gardens, flower beds, woods, ravines, waste places, stream banks, etc. Definitely present in our area; E. TX; common in the E. and Cen. U.S.; introduced and widespread in Europe and possibly also Africa and Asia. Spring-fall. [O. europaea Jord.; O. cymosa (Small) Small; Xanthoxalis cymosa Small; X. bushii Small].

Many older manuals, e.g. Small (1903), used the name O. stricta for plants properly called O. dillenii. Hence, while O. stricta does occur in our area, many uncorrected older collections under that name are actually O. dillenii. It is also possible that once this error in nomenclature was noted and resolved, many sheets were "corrected" to O. dillenii which were, in fact, O. stricta. NOTE: One current trend, as reflected by Kartesz (1998) is to combine O. stricta with the taxon below under O. stricta. This would certainly make identification of most of our yellow-flowered sorrels much easier.

The foliage is edible and can be used in salads. Because the high oxalic acid content can be harmful (especially for those with a tendency toward kidney stones), it should be eaten in moderation (Tull 1987). This plant is an alternate host for rust diseases of maize, sorghum, and Andropogon (GPFA 1986).

2.O. dilleniiOXALIDACEAE OXALIS dillenii Jacq. Dillen's Oxalis, Gray-green Wood-sorrel. Plants usually caespitose, stems more or less erect or ascending to decumbent, branched at the base, single from the root or more commonly with short, dark, shallow rhizomes, not rooting at the lower nodes, nodes of horizontal stems with fascicles of leaves or erect stems, 1 to 2.5 dm tall, usually densely appressed-white pubescent with non-septate hairs. Stipules present, clearly visible with a handlens, slender (rarely broad), oblong, densely and often rusty pubescent; leaves usually green, sometimes with a bluish tint when dry; petioles without septate hairs, hairs, if any, usually appressed-pubescent. Inflorescence typically umbellate, with 2 to 9 flowers, sometimes 1-flowered; peduncles usually longer than the leaves; pedicels strigose with non-septate hairs. Sepals 3 to 7 mm long; petals 8 to 10 mm long, yellow. Capsule 1 to 2.5 cm long, often angled, gray-canescent with short, appressed, non-septate hairs and often some longer spreading hairs as well; seeds red or red-brown, the transverse ridges with definite white markings. Very common plant of roadsides, prairies, lawns, woods, pastures, thickets, etc. Throughout TX except the Panhandle and the Trans Pecos; E. and Cen. U.S. W. to the Great Plains; rare in W. Europe as an introduction. Flowering mostly Feb.-May, occasionally and sporadically thereafter. [O. florida Salisb.; O. corniculata L. var. dillenii (Jacq.) Trel.; Xanthoxalis dillenii (Jacq.) Holub; X. stricta Small; O. langloisii Small; O. stricta of Texas authors, not O. stricta sensu L.]. See NOTE at S. stricta, above.

Varieties have been described, but the characters that vary do so independently of one another. Plants referred to var. radicans Shinners by Correll and Johnston (1970) are described as rooting at the nodes, which is more typical of O. corniculata. This plant has the same uses and rust diseases as O. stricta, above.

3.O. corniculataOXALIDACEAE OXALIS corniculata L. Creeping Lady's-sorrel, Agrito, Jocoyote. Plants creeping, rooting at the lower nodes, nodes of horizontal stems with single leaves and pedicels, fascicles of leaves, or with erect stems; rhizomes absent; stems glabrous to pubescent with appressed or spreading non-septate hairs. Leaves often purplish; stipules usually broad and commonly auriculate and/or brownish. Inflorescence 1- to several-flowered, umbellate; peduncles in fruit reflexed. Capsules 0.8 to 2 cm long, sparsely to densely pubescent, usually gray-canescent with non-septate hairs and often longer, spreading non-septate hairs; seeds brown, reticulate or transversely ridged, only rarely with white markings. A pantropical weed, common in and around greenhouses, gardens, flowerbeds, and lawns. Flowering May-Oct. outdoors. [Xanthoxalis corniculata Small].

Probable in our area.

4.O. violaceaOXALIDACEAE OXALIS violacea L. Violet Wood-sorrel. Colonial perennial herb from dark brown scaly bulbs, fibrous roots, and usually-overlooked fine rhizomes; bud scales 3-ribbed; stems none, plants 1 to 4 dm tall, glabrous. Leaves 5 to 20 cm long, including the slender petiole, leaflets obreniform to broadly cuneate, 1 to 2.5 cm broad, lobes rounded, apical notch broad, shallow, and open, sometimes with a tiny callus in the center. Scapes usually exceeding the leaves, cymes umbellate, eventually with 4 to 19 flowers; pedicels 1 to 3 cm long. Sepals 4 to 6 mm long, oblong-elliptic to ovate-oblong, each with 2 short, irregular apical tubercles, these commonly orange; petals 1 to 2 cm long, violet, rarely pinkish or white; shorter and longer filaments both pubescent or the longer ones only; styles short and glabrous at first, becoming elongate and hispid. Capsules 4 to 6 mm long, globose-ovoid; seeds reticulate. Sandy or gravelly soils of open woods, grassy or brushy slopes, roadsides, and pinewoods; sometimes on rock outcrops. E. 1/4 TX; MA and NY, to MN and ND, S. to NM, TX, and FL. Flowering with leaves Mar.-May and without leaves Aug.-Oct. [Ionoxalis violacea (L.) Small].

= O. debilis Kunth var. corymbosa (DC.) Lourteig) Martius Oxalis. Perennial from a cluster of scaly, fleshy, sometimes whitish bulbs with 3-ribbed scales; fibrous roots present as well; stem none, plants to ca. 30 cm tall. Petioles slender, more or less villous; leaflets 2.5 to 5 cm broad, obcordate, apical notch narrow and often deep, usually with small reddish-brown callosities near the margin, with scattered hairs above, paler and more densely pubescent beneath. Scapes villous, commonly exceeding the foliage, cymes often compound (occasionally umbellate), usually with several to many flowers; pedicels 1 to 3 cm long, sparsely appressed-pubescent. Sepals elliptic or oblong to linear, 4.5 to 6 mm long, glabrous or essentially so, the apex of each with 2 confluent orange callosities or tubercles; petals violet to rose-purple, 12 to 15 mm long; shorter filaments usually glabrous and the longer pubescent; styles usually pubescent. Cultivated ground, waste places, and fields. SE. TX; in our area known from at least Brazos Co.; native to tropical Amer.; introduced in the U.S. from FL to TX, N. to SC. Mar.-June. [Ionoxalis martiana (Zucc.) Small; O. martiana Zucc.; treated as O. debilis Kunth var. corymbosa (DC.) Lourteig by Kartesz (1998)].

6.O. rubraOXALIDACEAE OXALIS rubra St.-Hil. Windowbox Wood-sorrel. Perennial from a dark woody crown with a woody taproot and tubers or corms, crown sometimes with brown scale-like leaves, but no plump scaly bulbs present; stem none, plants to ca. 30 cm tall. Petioles appressed-pubescent; leaflets obcordate, 0.7 to 3(4.5) cm long, apical sinus seep and relatively narrow, sometimes a few dark or red callosities present near the margins or sometimes all over, pubescent on both surfaces, sometimes glandular. Peduncles appressed-pubescent, usually surpassing the leaves, inflorescence cymose or umbellate-cymose; flowers pink or rose with darker veins, drying purple. Sepals 3 to 6 mm long densely to sparsely pubescent, with 1 or 2 orange to dark apical tubercles; petals 1 to 1.5 cm long. Capsule ellipsoid, 6 to 8 mm long; seeds punctate or reticulate. Persisting in or escaping from flowerbeds; native to Brazil and a common garden plant in our area; scattered as an escape in pars to the SE. U.S. Mar.-Sept. The cultivar 'Alba' has white flowers, but the pink-flowered form is more usual here. [O. articulata Savingy subsp. rubra (St.-Hil.) Lourteig].


Geranium Family

Ours annual, biennial, or perennial herbs (elsewhere also shrubs). Leaves basal or alternate, usually lobed or divided to compound, stipulate. Flowers perfect, regular or essentially so, ours 5-merous, solitary or in cymose inflorescences. Sepals imbricate in bud, persistent. Nectary "disk" of 5 glands alternate with the petals. Stamens as many as to twice as many as the sepals, but some or all of the outer series staminodial, if only as many as the sepals then opposite them. Ovary superior, in ours 5-carpellate and 5-locular, ovules usually 2 per locule, but only one maturing; carpels developing long stylar beaks, these united into a column. Fruit at maturity dry, the carpels with their beaks separating basally from the central fruit axis, often elastically so; seeds with little or no endosperm.

14 genera and 730 species, primarily in the temperate zones; a few are tropical; 2 genera and 9 species in TX; 2 genera and 4 species here.

The family is important for cultivated ornamentals in Geranium and Pelargonium (garden Geraniums). Since many members have aromatic essential oils, some have uses in medicines or perfumes (Mabberley 1987).

1. Fertile stamens usually 10; leaves palmately lobed and veined; after dehiscence, style beaks upcurved ....................................................................................................1. Geranium

1. Fertile stamens usually 5; leaves pinnately veined or divided; after dehiscence, style beaks twisting below the middle .......................................................................................2. Erodium


Annual, biennial, or perennial herbs, our species with at least a short stem. Leaves of ours palmately lobed, cleft, or divided. Flowers on axillary peduncles, pedicellate in pairs subtended by bracts, regular to slightly irregular. Petals in ours white to pink or marked with darker purple. Stamens 10, usually all fertile (rarely only 5), the 5 longer ones alternate with the petals and with glands at the base. Each style portion glabrous to soft-pubescent on the inner surface, remaining attached apically to the central column, the lower portion and the carpel curling upwards at maturity. Seeds minutely pitted.

About 300 species of temperate regions and the montane tropics; 6 in TX; 2 here.

Many species are cultivated for ornament, especially as ground covers, with flowers ranging from white to blue, pink, red, and magenta. However, the common window-box type geraniums belong to the genus Pelargonium (Mabberley 1987).

1. Sepals ovate-lanceolate, ca. 7 mm long; maturing style column hirtellous with spreading hairs, sometimes also with glandular hairs ...1.G.carolinianum

1. Sepals orbicular ovate, ca. 4 mm long; maturing style column with short ascending or subappressed hairs, not glandular ...2.G.texanum

1.G. carolinianumGERANIACEAE GERANIUM carolinianum L. Carolina Geranium, Cranesbill. Taprooted annual or biennial herb; stems 1 to several from the base, usually well-branched, 1 to 5(8) dm long or tall, densely spreading- or retrorse-hirsute or pilose, commonly somewhat glandular, at least in the inflorescence. Larger leaves orbicular-reniform, to 7 cm broad, palmately divided into 5 to 9 linear-oblong to obovate, obtuse segments, these again toothed or lobed. Inflorescence more or less crowded, often with peduncles not longer than the pedicels and pedicels not longer than calyces. Sepals ca. 7 mm long (rarely shorter), ovate-lanceolate, aristate, sometimes short pilose, usually with longer villous-ciliate hairs on the nerves; petals about as long as the sepals, white or pale pink, oblanceolate, rounded to obtuse; style column ca. 13 to 15 mm long, with a beak (including stigma) 2 to 2.5 mm long, body hirtellous, the hairs spreading or ascending, sometimes also with glandular hairs (examine a maturing fruit); carpel bodies hirsute, ca. 3 mm long; seeds 1 to 1.5(2 to 2.5) mm in diameter, oblong to subglobose, faintly and minutely reticulate-alveolate, with the alveolae elongate and in irregular rows. Dry and/or rocky woods, fields, roadsides, lawns, waste places, clay flats, etc. Throughout the state, especially common in Cen. TX; a nearly cosmopolitan weed; in N. Amer. from N. Eng. S. to FL and TX, W. to B.C., ID, WY, and KS. Mar.-May. [Some sources recognize varieties; as treated here, includes var. confertiflorum Fern. and var. sphaerospermum (Fern.) Breitung; G. sphaerospermum Fern.; G. langloisii Greene].

2.G. texanumGERANIACEAE GERANIUM texanum (Trel.) Heller Texas Geranium. Taprooted annual herb; stem well-branched, branches to 4 dm long, retrorsely appressed-pubescent with short hairs, not glandular. Leaf blades to ca. 4 cm broad, palmately 3-parted, the divisions again 3-lobed, the sinuses rounded. Sepals ca. 4 mm long, suborbicular to orbicular-ovate, short-aristate, glabrous except for the nerves; petals white, purple-tinged, oblong to oblong-ovate, entire, slightly longer than the sepals; style column 1 to 1.2 cm long, with short, ascending or antrorsely subapressed hairs (examine a maturing fruit), glandular hairs none; carpel bodies ca. 3 mm long, with scattered hairs; seeds subglobose, ca. 2 mm in diameter, finely and densely pitted. Sandy or clay soils, primarily in S. Cen. TX; apparently endemic. [G. carolinianum L. var. texanum Trel.].


Annual, winter annual, or perennial herbs, usually forming a rosette and with spreading to ascending branches. Leaves petiolate, entire and palmately lobed but pinnately veined, pinnately lobed, pinnate-pinnatifid, or pinnately compound. Inflorescence umbellate, the peduncles axillary; flowers 5-merous. Upper 2 sepals sometimes smaller than the lower 3. Stamens 10 in 2 series, the outer 5 sterile or reduced, the inner fertile and opposite the sepals. Mature carpels fusiform, ultimately dehiscent and the style portion elastically separating basally from the central axis and twisting when dry, bearded on the inner surface; seed surface smooth. As the fallen mericarp with the attached style portion dries, the style untwists, "screwing" the fruit into the soil.

About 60 species widespread in temperate and subtropical regions; 3 species in TX; 2 known from our area.

1. Leaf blades simple, shallowly to deeply palmately or pinnately lobed but the veins pinnate ..


1. Leaf blades pinnate-pinnatifid ...2.E.cicutarium

1.E. texanumGERANIACEAE ERODIUM texanum Gray Texas Filaree, Heronbill, (Large-flowered) Stork's-bill. Plants from taproots, prostrate to ascending, branched at the base, branches to 5 dm long, minutely pubescent. Leaves ovate in outline, to ca. 3.5 cm long, basally cordate, shallowly to deeply palmately or more or less pinnately lobed, but the veins pinnate, lobe margins rounded, crenate, minutely and sparsely pubescent above, more densely so below. Peduncles and pedicels short-pubescent. Sepals elliptic, apiculate, 6 to 12 mm long, canescent; petals purplish-red, drying purple or violet, broadly obovate, 10 mm long or more, much longer than the sepals; mature style column to 7.5 cm long; seeds 4 to 5 mm long, ellipsoid-conic, tan. Sandy or rocky soil, often where calcareous, in open areas and prairies. Cen., S., and W. TX; OK an TX to UT and SE. CA. Feb.-April.

2.E. cicutariumGERANIACEAE ERODIUM cicutarium (L.) L'Her. ex Soland. in Ait. Filaria, Alfilaria, Alfilerillo, California Filaree. Taprooted annual or winter annual; stems short at first flowering, lengthening after, becoming prostrate to ascending, well-branched from the base, to 5 dm long; herbage shortly and softly hispid, some of the stem hairs swollen. Basal rosette leaves overwintering, mature leaves narrowly triangular to elongate-obovate in outline, pinnate-pinnatifid, the divisions toothed or lobed, ultimate divisions narrow and pointed; petiole slender, usually less than 1/4 as long as the blade. Umbels long-peduncled, with 2 to 8 flowers; pedicels 1 to 2.5 cm long; peduncles and pedicels hispid and more or less glandular; flowers ca. 1 cm broad when open. Sepals elliptic, 2 to 6 mm long, apically with a short awn and sometimes also with a slender bristle (this easily broken off); petals elliptic-obovate, slightly longer than the sepals, pink, drying purple; mature style column to 5 cm long, with short, ascending pubescence; carpel bodies short-pubescent; seed ellipsoid, dull brown, 2 to 3 mm long. Rocky or sandy soils of roadsides, pastures, lawns, ravines, waste places, etc. W. and Cen. TX; known at least from Brazos Co.; native of Europe and naturalized in N. Amer. from Que. to MI, IL, and KS, S. to VA, TN, AR, and TX; also S. Amer. Feb.-June. Some sources recognize subspecies.

This plant provides some forage for livestock. The root has been used as a dye source (Mabberley 1987).


Ginseng Family

Trees, shrubs, woody vines, or rarely herbs, sometimes armed. Leaves alternate (rarely opposite or whorled), usually pinnately or palmately compound or lobed, rarely (and not ours) simple; with or without stipules. Inflores-cences terminal, rarely lateral, usually of umbels variously arranged; flowers usually perfect, 4- or 5-merous. Calyx usually represented by small teeth or a truncate cup. Petals usually free, early deciduous. Stamens in ours 5, inserted on a nectary disk. Ovary in ours inferior, with 2 to 5 locules, ovules 1 per locule, styles free or fused. Fruit a 5-seeded berry (other taxa with drupes or rarely schizocarps).

57 genera and 1,800 species, primarily of the tropics, especially Indomalaysia and the Americas, a few temperate; 1 genus with 2 species in TX; 1 species here.

The family is very closely allied to the Apiaceae and is included within in by some taxonomists, including Thorne (see Zomlefer 1994).

Ornamental genera include Aralia, Hedera (e.g., English Ivy), Schefflera, Polyscias, Fatsia, etc. Some taxa have medicinal value, notably Panax (Ginseng) (Mabberley 1987).

ARALIACEAE ARALIA1. ARALIA L. Sarsaparilla, Spikenard

Perennial herbs, shrubs, or small trees, often with aromatic or spicy-scented roots. Leaves alternate (sometimes solitary), compound or multiply compound, leaflets toothed. Flowers in umbels grouped into terminal panicles, small, 5-merous. Ovary 5-celled, styles 5, free or fused basally, stigma capitate. Fruit a 5-seeded berry topped with the persistent style; seeds flattened.

About 36 species of N. Amer., E. Asia, and Malaysia; 2 in TX; 1 here.

Some species have ornamental or medicinal value. The young leaves of some (but not ours) are edible. A. racemosa (Sarsaparilla) provides a traditional flavoring for rootbeer (Mabberley 1987; GPFA 1986).

1. A. spinosa L. Hercules'-club, Devil's-walking-stick, Angelica Tree. Shrub or small tree, fast growing and short-lived, to 12 m or more tall, ultimately developing a stout trunk to 30 cm in diameter; branchlets and leaves prickly. Leaves bipinnately compound, to 1 m long or more, primary leaflets usually with 5 or 6 pairs of secondary leaflets, secondary leaflets ovate to broadly elliptic, 5 to 10 cm long, to 6 cm broad, basally rounded to cuneate, apically acuminate or acute, margin serrate or serrulate, paler below, midvein and/or rachis and rachillas with prickles. Flowers small, whitish, in umbels arranged in a large compound panicle; peduncles and pedicels pilose. Fruit a black berry to ca. 6 mm in diameter, topped with the style, juicy. Woods, usually along streams; rare in our area but known from Brazos and Madison Cos.; FL to TN, N. to NJ, PA, OH, IL, MO, and OK. Flowering May-June.

The fruit is eaten by small mammals and birds. The bark, roots, and berries have been used medicinally, usually in stimulants (Elias 1980). Tull (1987) says the fruit can be toxic if eaten raw in large amounts, but the plant is not listed by Lampe (1985) as poisonous.


Parsley or Carrot Family

Ours all herbaceous (elsewhere some woody), annual, biennial, or perennial. Stems commonly hollow. Herbage often aromatic. Leaves alternate or basal (rarely opposite), simple or compound, some (not ours) reduced to phyllodia, usually much-divided, petioles usually sheathing; stipules absent or present as small flanges. Inflorescence a simple or compound umbel, the primary rays often subtended by an involucre of bracts and each umbellet often subtended by an involucel of bractlets, umbels sometimes contracted and glomerulate OR flowers capitate (e.g. Eryngium) or rarely apparently racemose or some combination of umbellate and racemose; some species (none of ours) with flowers replaced by bulbils. Flowers relatively small, usually regular (sometimes peripheral flowers of umbels zygomorphic with the larger petals toward the outside), perfect or some staminate or sterile, 5-merous except for the gynoecium. Calyx tube adnate to the ovary, sepals represented by 5 very small persistent points or teeth, occasionally obsolete. Petals in ours 5, free, usually with inflexed tips, white, yellow, pink, or purple. Stamens 5, inserted on an epigynous nectary disk. Gynoecium inferior, of 2 united carpels, bilocular; styles 2, free, swollen at the base to form a stylopodium confluent with the nectary disk. Fruit a schizocarp composed of 2, 1-seeded mericarps joined until maturity by their common inner face (commissure), terete or flattened laterally or dorsi-ventrally, at maturity separating from one another and suspended apically from a slender carpophore or stalk, which is entire or bifid, or in some genera (e.g. Hydrocotyle) carpophore absent. Each mericarp with 5 primary ribs--1 exactly dorsal and the other 4 lateral and equally spaced, some genera with secondary ribs alternating with the primaries, ribs obscure to prominent, rounded to sharp, corky-thickened, or winged; aromatic oil tubes often present and their location diagnostic, best seen in cross-sections of mature fruit, variable in number, commonly 6, with 2 on the commissure and the other 4 alternate with the primary ribs (coinciding with the secondary ribs, if present).

A large family with 410 genera and ca. 3,100 species worldwide, especially abundant in the N. temperate and tropical montane zones; 44 genera and 78 species reported for TX; 24 genera and 40 here. The work of Mathias and Constanct (1951) is an old but invaluable reference for complete descriptions, county-level distribution information, and exceptional illustrations.

The Apiaceae is closely allied with the Araliaceae and the two families combined in some treatments--for a concise discussion see Zomlefer (1994). This family has traditionally been included within the Rosidae (e.g., Cronquist 1981), but recent evidence suggests that it should be included within a more broadly-defined Asteridae (see e.g., Plunkett, et al. 1996).

The family is important for several vegetable crops, including carrot (Daucus), celery (Apium), and parsnip (Pastinaca). In addition, the family is the source of many herbs (of leafy origin) and spices (dried fruits) including dill (Anethum), caraway (Carum), cilantro and coriander (Coriandrum), cumin (Cuminum), fennel (Foeniculum), parsley (Petroselinum), and anise (Pimpinella), etc. (Mabberley 1987). Some taxa are deadly poisonous, such as Cicuta and Conium. The toxins are usually 17-carbon polyacetylenes, though the element in Conium is an alkaloid (Cronquist 1981; Lampe 1985). Other genera can cause phytophotodermatitis, that is, contact sensitizes skin to ultraviolet light, resulting in sunburn-like effects (Lampe 1985).

NOTES: Particular characters of the mature fruit are most diagnostic of genus, but making cross-sections and examining them under a compound microscope is not always practical or possible. The following key is based largely on vegetative, inflorescence, and external fruit characters which are more readily available. However, a complete specimen, including roots and mature fruit, is still necessary.

Escapes of cultivated taxa such as dill, coriander, and fennel are almost unknown in our area. These taxa are not included but, if found, may often be identified by their characteristic fragrances. However, because of the similarity of poisonous species to harmless ones, it is strongly recommended that one NEVER eat wild umbels.

1. Leaves essentially simple (or if lobed, the sinuses narrow, the lobes more or less touching, and the blades reniform-orbicular) ..........................................................................................2

1. Leaves--at least some of them--compound, dissected, or deeply lobed with broader sinuses between the lobes .......................................................................................................5

2(1) Leaves reniform-orbicular or cordate ......................................................................................3

2. Leaves not reniform orbicular or cordate, usually proportionately longer ..............................4

3(2) Involucre of 2 conspicuous bracts; secondary ribs present on fruits; petioles sheathing ........

. ................................................................................................................................1. Centella

3. Involucre of several inconspicuous bracts; secondary ribs absent; petioles not sheathing ....

. .........................................................................................................................2. Hydrocotyle

4(2) Flowers in heads; involucre present. ...................................................................3. Eryngium

4. Flowers in compound umbels; involucre absent; involucels present ..............4. Bupleurum

5(1) Leaves palmately lobed or compound ....................................................................................6

5. Leaves pinnately lobed, dissected, or compound ...................................................................9

6(5) Inflorescence a compound umbel; leaves compound, leaflets linear ........5. Cynosciadium

6. Inflorescence a head, glomerule, or compact simple umbel; leaves lobed, or if compound, leaflets not linear .......................................................................................................................7

7(6) Flowers in dense heads; leaves not reniform-orbicular in overall outline ..........3. Eryngium

7. Flowers in glomerules or compact, simple umbels; leaves reniform-orbicular in overall outline ........................................................................................................................................8

8(7) Flowers in compact umbels, all perfect; plants often with stellate or branched hairs .............

...............................................................................................................................6. Bowlesia

8. Flowers in glomerules of sessile, perfect flowers mixed with pedicellate, staminate flowers; plants without stellate or branched hairs .................................................7. Sanicula

9(5) Inflorescence head-like or not seeming to be a true umbel .................................................10

9. Inflorescence a simple or compound umbel .........................................................................11

10(9) Foliage pubescent; flowers in very dense simple umbels ........................................8. Torilis

10. Foliage glabrous or mostly so; flowers in dense heads ......................................3. Eryngium

11(9) Ovary and fruits with bristles, spines, or tubercles ................................................................12

11. Ovary and fruits not bristly, spiny, or tuberculate, though they may be pubescent .............14

12(11) Foliage glabrous; ultimate leaf divisions filiform; fruits tuberculate to minutely echinate ........

. ........................................................................................................................9. Spermolepis

12. Foliage usually pubescent, especially on the veins of the lower leaf surface, upper peduncles usually retrorsely hispid; ultimate leaf divisions linear or broader; fruits bristly or with stiff hooked hairs .............................................................................................................13

13(12) Bracts of involucre pinnately divided, rarely entire ...............................................10. Daucus

13. Bracts of involucre lacking or few, small, and undivided ..........................................8. Torilis

14(9) Leaves much dissected or several times compound so that it is not immediately obvious what is a leaflet and what is a division of a leaflet; ultimate divisions usually less than 2 or 3 mm broad ............................................................................................................................15

14. Leaves once or twice pinnately compound with distinct and separate leaflets, usually some greater than 3 or 4 mm broad, OR leaves merely lobed and not compound ...........23

15(14) Ultimate leaf divisions filiform or narrowly linear (at least on the upper leaves), usually less than about 1 mm broad; fruits not much longer than broad, if at all ....................................16

15. Ultimate leaf divisions broader, oblong to variously shaped, usually 1 mm or more broad; OR, if leaf divisions near 1 mm then fruits much longer than broad ....................................19

16(15) Involucres usually absent (includes Cyclospermum with simple, bractless umbels grouped in the axils of true leaves) .......................................................................................................17

16. Involucres present ..................................................................................................................18

17(16) Involucels present (each may be only one small bract) ................................9. Spermolepis

17. Involucels absent ......................................................................................11. Cyclospermum

18(17) Plants from taproots; ribs on globose fruits forming concentric half-circles on either side of the commissure as seen in side view; oil tubes absent in fruit; seed face concave ................

...................................................................................................................................12. Bifora

18. Plants from fibrous roots; ribs of the fruit more less vertical and straight; oil tubes present in fruit; seed face flat ........................................................................................13. Ptilimnium

19(15) Fruit oblong-cylindrical, much longer than wide ...................................................................20

19. Fruit globose to ovoid, not much longer than wide, if at all ..................................................21

20(19) Plants often retrorsely hispid; involucre usually lacking; fruit tapered to both ends, without secondary ribs ..........................................................................................14. Chaerophyllum

20. Plants glabrous; involucre present; fruit blunt on both ends, with secondary ribs ...................

. ......................................................................................................................15. Trepocarpus

21(20) Plants with a definite main stem, branched above, 5 dm or more tall; involucre of several to many bracts; ribs of fruit undulate-crenate .......................................................16. Conium

21. Plants acaulescent or branched near the base, less than 5 dm tall; involucre lacking or of a single foliaceous bract; ribs of fruit not undulate-crenate ..............................................22

22(21) Flowering stems more or less scapose; fruit 3 to 4 mm long, seed face deeply sulcate ........

..............................................................................................................................17. Tauschia

22. Flowering stems leafy; fruit 2.5 to 3 mm long, seed face flat or nearly so ...............................

. ...................................................................................................................18. Ammoselinum

23(14) All leaves or leaflets entire, without lobes or teeth ................................................................24

23. Some or all leaflets variously toothed or lobed .....................................................................25

24(23) Mericarps with corky marginal wings; terminal leaf segment about as broad as the others, net-veined; plants from fascicled tubers or tuberous roots ................................19. Oxypolis

24. Mericarps not winged; terminal leaf segment larger and wider than the others, parallel- veined; plants from fibrous roots .............................................................20. Limnosciadium

25(23) Basal leaves all bi-ternately divided or the leaves with two ternate side leaflets and a pinnatifid terminal leaflet; central flower of each umbellet sessile or subsessile .....21. Zizia

25. Basal leaves otherwise pinnate, bipinnate, or merely lobed; central flower of each

umbellet pedicelled ................................................................................................................26

26(25) Flowers yellow; mericarps with corky marginal wings; plants from taproots ..22. Polytaenia

26. Flowers white or purplish; mericarps with or without wings and roots various, but not with both winged mericarps and taproots ....................................................................................27

27(26) Plants from taproots; bracts of involucre usually about as long to longer than the primary rays of the compound umbel; leaves reduced in size up the stem .........................23. Ammi

27. Plants from fascicles of tuberous roots; bracts of involucre much shorter than the primary rays; leaves not much reduced up the stem .........................................................................28

28(29) Stems usually with purple or reddish spots; mericarps without corky wings .........24. Cicuta

28. Stems without spots; mericarps with corky marginal wings ...............................19. Oxypolis


Twenty species, mostly of the Southern Hemisphere, primarily in S. Afr; we have the one species that is a pantropical weed.

1. C. asiatica (L.) Urban Spadeleaf. Perennial from slender horizontal rootstocks, bearing plantlets or leaves at each node; stems 1 to several dm long, rooting at the nodes; herbage glabrous to tomentose. Leaves of each plantlet all essentially basal, blades ovate-cordate to oblong, basally cordate to truncate, apically rounded, 1 to 5 cm long, palmately veined, margin weakly sinuate, denticulate, shallowly repand, or entire; petiole often with a tuft of hairs at the apex, to 30(35) cm long, usually shorter, often reddish, base sheathing. Flowers in 1 to 5, loose to capitate simple umbels per plant, each with 1 to 4 flowers; peduncles axillary, varying in length but usually shorter than the subtending leaves, to ca. 12 cm long; involucre of 2 oblanceolate, scarious bracts; pedicels to 4 mm long. Calyx obsolete; petals white to rosy or greenish, spreading, triangular, commonly pubescent abaxially; anthers purple; stylopodium obsolete; styles shorter than the petals, spreading-reflexed. Fruit transverse-ellipsoid, constricted at the commissure, strongly flattened laterally, 3 to 4 mm long, 3 to 5 mm broad, glabrous, more or less strongly reticulate- veined, the primary ribs filiform and evident, secondary ribs evident, seed face flat, an oil-bearing layer present beneath the epidermis, this sometimes with small oil tubes, a thickened layer of cells usually surrounding the seed cavity. Marshes, bogs, stream edges, and other wet places. E. 1/2 of TX; DE to FL along the coastal plain, W. to TX; pantropical and also W. I., Mex., Cen. and S. Amer., and Asia. May-Sept; to Oct. in fruit. [Includes var. floridana Coult. & Rose; C. erecta (L.f.) Fern; C. repanda (Pers.) Small; Hydrocotyle erecta L.f.]

According to Mabberley (1987), this plant is sometimes grown as a cover crop and also has edible leaves.


Low perennial herbs from creeping rootstocks, most with arching or horizontal stems and rooting at the nodes, occasionally in floating mats. Herbage glabrous to pubescent. Leaves 1 per node, peltate and more or less orbicular or else cordate-reniform with the petiole attached at a sinus; margin entire to crenate or lobed; petiole relatively slender, base not sheathing. Inflorescence a simple or compound umbel, or with an umbel-like cluster of flowers at the base and the secondary rays bearing umbels or spikes (thus a proliferous umbel), or with flowers in interrupted spikes or verticils; peduncles shorter than to longer than the leaves; involucre of several to many inconspicuous bracts. Flowers small, white to green or yellow. Calyx teeth minute or obsolete. Petals ovate. Stylopodium conical to depressed. Fruit more or less laterally compressed, ovoid to elliptic, wider than long, dorsal surface acute or rounded, dorsal and lateral ribs present or absent, seed cavity usually with surrounding strengthening cells, seed face flat to concave.

About 75 to 100 species worldwide, especially in the tropical and S. temperate zones; 4 species in TX; 3 here.

1. Leaves cordate-reniform; petiole attached at a sinus ...1.H.ranunculoides

1. Leaves peltate; petiole attached to the center of the blade ....................................................2

2(1) Flowers in simple umbels ...2.H.umbellata

2. Flowers in verticils or spikes .....................................................................................................3

3(2) Fruits sessile or subsessile; inflorescence often bifurcate ...3a.H.verticillata

var. verticillata

3. Fruits pedicellate; inflorescence rarely branched ...3b.H.verticillata

var. triradiata

1.H. ranunculoidesAPIACEAE HYDROCOTYLE ranunculoides L. f. Floating Water-pennywort. Plants often in dense mats at water's edge; stems creeping or floating, slender to stoutish; herbage glabrous. Leaf blades somewhat fleshy, not peltate, attached at the basal sinus, reniform-orbicular, variously crenate to crenately lobed, often with 1 to 6 rather deep sinuses in addition to the basal, to ca. 8 cm long; petiole generally slender, varying in length, to 35(40) cm long. Peduncle shorter than the leaves, axillary; umbels simple (or occasionally with 2 or 3 whorls), with 5 to 10 flowers; pedicels 1 to 3 mm long, ascending and spreading. Stylopodium depressed. Fruit 1 to 3 mm long, 2 to 3 mm broad, suborbicular, depressed, dorsal surfaces rounded, ribs obsolete, strengthening cells absent from the seed cavity wall. Wet places--along creeks, sloughs, ditches, etc., in mucky soil. Blackland Prairies and Timber Belt; PA, DE, and WV, S. to FL, W. to LA, AR, and AZ; also WA; S. to Panama, S. Amer., Cuba. April-July.

2.H. umbellataAPIACEAE HYDROCOTYLE umbellataL. Umbrella Water-pennywort, Ombligo de Venus. Plants glabrous, quite variable in size; stems somewhat thick, creeping or floating. Leaf blades orbicular, peltate, to 75 mm broad, usually smaller, crenate or slightly crenate-lobed; petiole to 40.5 cm long, usually shorter. Peduncle about equalling or longer than the leaves, to 35 cm long; umbels simple, (few-)many-flowered; pedicels to 2.5 cm long, spreading and reflexed. Stylopodium depressed. Fruits orbicular to reniform, 1 to 2 mm long, 2 to 3 mm broad, dorsal surface acute, dorsal and lateral ribs low but evident, obtuse, strengthening cells absent in the seed cavity wall. Wet places--seepage areas, ditches, swamps, shores, etc. About the E. 1/2 of TX; N. S. to FL, W. to MN and TX; also CA, OR; W. I., and from Mex. to S. Amer. Apr.-Oct.

3.H. verticillataAPIACEAE HYDROCOTYLE verticillata Thunb. Plants glabrous; stems slender. Leaf blades orbicular-peltate, to 6 cm in diameter, regularly or irregularly crenate or shallowly crenately lobed; petioles slender. Peduncles shorter than the leaves. Fruits ellipsoid, 1 to 3 mm long, 2 to 4 mm broad, dorsally acute, lateral and dorsal ribs acute, obvious, commissure constricted, oil-bearing cells obvious. Wet places in Coastal and Blackland Prairies, Timber Belt, and Ed. Plat.; MA to FL, W. to MO, TX, UT, NE, CA, and HI; also Mex., W.I., and S. Afr.

Two varieties in Texas, both of which are found here, and one of which may prove to be a distinct species.

var. verticillata Whorled Water-pennywort. Leaf blades with 7 to 14 veins and 8 to 13 shallow lobes, petioles to 26 cm long. Inflorescence an axillary, interrupted spike, usually once bifid (rarely twice to four times bifid), to ca. 17 cm long, verticils up to 6 cm apart, each with 2 to 7 flowers; flowers and fruit subsessile. Jun.-Aug.

Not to be confused with H. bonariensis Lam., a plant of the southern and coastal plains, which has proliferous umbels (base of each inflorescence a floriferous umbel and each secondary ray bearing an umbel or spike.).

var. triradiata (A. Rich.) Fern. Leaf blades with 8 to 14 veins and 8 to 14 shallow lobes, petioles to 35 cm long. Inflorescence an axillary simple (rarely branched) spike to 22 cm long, the verticils few and up to 4 cm apart, each with 4 to 15 flowers; pedicels to 1 cm long. May-Aug. Treated by Kartesz (1998) as Hydrocotyle prolifera Kellogg. [H. canbyi Coult. & Rose; H. australis Coult. & Rose].


Annual, biennial, or perennial herbs from rootstocks or taproots, caulescent and erect to prostrate or acaulescent. Herbage usually glabrous. Leaves thin-textured to coriaceous, entire to palmately or pinnately lobed or divided, venation pinnate or parallel, margins often spinose or ciliate; petioles sheathing, sometimes septate. Inflorescences capitate, solitary or in racemes or cymes; involucre of 1 or more whorls of entire, lobed, or dissected bracts; florets white to purple or blue, sessile, each subtended by an entire to lobed bractlet; a coma or tuft of bractlets sometimes crowning the head. Calyx teeth ovate to lanceolate, acute to obtuse, persistent in fruit. Stylopodium and carpophore absent. Fruit globose to obovoid, only slightly flattened laterally, commissure broad, surface covered with tubercles or scales, ribs obsolete, oil tubes 5 or obsolete, seed face flat or slightly concave.

About 230 species of tropical and temperate regions (except tropical and S. Africa); 8 in TX; 6 here.

Some species are cultivated for ornament; others are edible or used regionally in herbal medicines (Mabberley 1987).

1. Leaf venation parallel, plants monocot-like ...1.E.yuccifolium

1. Leaf venation reticulate, plants not monocot-like ...................................................................2

2(1) Cauline leaves entire to toothed but not spinose-margined; involucral bracts linear- lanceolate, entire or with only 3 to 5 teeth, sometimes sharp pointed ...................................3

2. Cauline leaves with conspicuous sharp, spiny teeth; involucral bracts mostly broader, usually spinose-toothed and sharp-pointed .............................................................................4

3(2) Plants erect; lower bractlets tricuspidate; basal leaves cordate; heads in an open cyme .....


3. Plants prostrate to ascending; bractlets entire; basal leaves not cordate; heads solitary in the axils ...3.E.prostratum

4(2) Heads bright metallic red-purple, 2 to 3.5 cm long; bractlets with 3 to 7 spiny teeth; coma pronounced, of 4 to 8 spiny bracts 1 to 2 cm long ...4.E.leavenworthii

4. Heads bluish or purplish, 2 cm long or less; bractlets entire; coma bracts inconspicuous and entire or else absent ..........................................................................................................5

5(4) Plants from taproots, diffusely branched; basal leaves deeply palmatifid and sessile or subsessile; heads subsessile ...5.E.diffusum

5. Plants from fibrous roots, mostly branched only above; basal leaves merely toothed, petiolate; heads pedunculate ...6.E.hookeri

1.E. yuccifoliumAPIACEAE ERYNGIUM yuccifolium Michx. Button Snakeroot, Rattlesnake Master. Caulescent perennial; stem solitary, simple below and branched above. Leaves monocot-like, parallel-veined, linear, reduced upwards, with many setae along the margins, bases sheathing. Inflorescence cymosely branched, the branches subtended by reduced leaves; heads globose to ovoid, pedunculate, many-flowered, subtended by an involucre of 6 to 10 bracts; bractlets similar to bracts; coma absent. Flowers pale, petals oblong; styles longer than the sepals. Fruit oblong, 4 to 8 mm long, the angles with flat lanceolate scales 1.5 to 3 mm long, scales of the dorsal surfaces reduced or obsolete. The species as a whole from VA, IN, MN, and KS, S. to FL, GA, and TX.

Two varieties in TX; both possible here. The two are sometimes distinguished only with difficulty and perhaps represent only ecological variants (Mathias and Constance 1951). Some treatments combine the two (e.g., Godfrey and Wooten 1981; GPFA 1986).

var. yuccifolium Rattlesnake Master, Button Snakeroot. Plants 3 to 8 dm tall from fascicled tuberous roots. Basal leaves stiff, broadly linear, to 1 m long and 1 to 3 cm broad, acute, cauline leaves linear, marginal bristles usually solitary, rarely grouped. Heads 1 to 2.5 cm in diameter; involucral bracts 6 to 10, ovate-lanceolate, to 15 mm long, cuspidate, mostly entire; bractlets similar to the bracts, entire to minutely serrulate, longer than the fruit. Sepals ovate, obtuse, minutely mucronate. Open prairies and woods. Blackland and Coastal Prairies and the Timber Belt; CT to FL, W. to MN, KS, and TX. May-Aug.

By far the more common variety in our area. Native American tribes used the leaves and fruit in ritual and the roots in medicines to treat snakebite and bladder trouble (Kindscher 1992).

var. synchaetum Gray ex Coult. & Rose Plants smaller than the typical variety, slender. Basal leaves 15 to 35 cm long, 5 to 10 mm broad, marginal setae 3 to 10 mm long, in groups of 2 to 4. Heads subglobose, 10 to 15 mm broad; involucral bracts 6 to 9, linear-lanceolate, 5 to 10(25?) mm long, entire or with a few teeth; bractlets similar to bracts but wider, ca. 5 mm long, longer than the fruit. Sepals acute. Pine woodlands; possible in E. Grimes, Leon, and Madison Cos.; Timber Belt and Coastal and Blackland Prairies; GA and FL, W. to TX and OK. May-Jun. [E. synchaetum (Coult. & Rose) Coult. & Rose].

2.E. integrifoliumAPIACEAE ERYNGIUM integrifolium Walt. Simple-leaf Eryngo. Perennial from a fascicle of fibrous or somewhat fleshy roots; stems 1 to several, erect, slender, 3 to 8 dm tall, striate; herbage glabrous. Basal leaves (often absent by anthesis) with sheathing petioles; blades oblong-lanceolate to -ovate, elliptic, or short-ovate, to 6(8) cm long and 2.5 (4) cm wide, entire to slightly crenate, basally oblique or cordate, apically obtuse to rounded, stem leaves below similar to the basal leaves, becoming reduced in size, more sessile, more acute, and increasingly spinulose-serrate (rarely subentire or laciniate) upwards, but never with fully pungent teeth. Heads in an open cyme subtended by a whorl of bracteal leaves, these similar to the uppermost stem leaves but commonly with one or more pairs of lateral lobes; heads pedunculate, ovoid to globose, 5 to 15 mm in diameter, usually steel-blue, many-flowered, each subtended by 6 to 10 rigid, linear bracts 1 to 2 cm long, these spreading, much wider than the head, entire or commonly with 3 to 5 spinose teeth; bractlets under individual flowers often tinted the same color as the corollas, 3 to 5 mm long, longer than the fruit, linear-oblong basally, apex spreading-tricuspidate, the 3 points equal and the tips usually visible between the flowers or fruit. Sepals ovate-lanceolate, 1 to 1.5 mm long, apically stiff, acuminate or mucronate; petals greenish initially, becoming bluish; stamens well-exserted; styles slender, longer than the calyx or corolla and obvious at anthesis. Fruit ca 2 mm long, obpyramidal, the angles densely white-papillose when young, the papillae becoming flat, lanceolate scales 0.5 to 1 mm long on the mature fruit, faces of fruit usually scaleless. Bogs and moist woods. Timber Belt and Blackland and Coastal Prairies; NC to N. FL, W. to OK, TX. (July)Aug.-Oct.

3.E. prostratumAPIACEAE ERYNGIUM prostratum Nutt. ex DC. Creeping Eryngo. Low perennial from fascicled fibrous roots; stems slender, 1.5 to 7 dm long, several to many from the base, simple or distally branched, weakly erect, prostrate, or ascending, often rooting at the nodes, the distal portions and the node-rooted plantlets ascending. Basal leaves largest, blades ovate to lanceolate, to 5.5(7) cm long, usually much shorter, to 2.5 cm broad, simple to dentate or palmately cleft or lobed, margin entire to dentate, petiole to several times the length of the blade, cauline leaves similar, reduced upwards and usually unlobed and more sessile. Heads solitary, axillary; peduncles slender, 1 to 2(3.5) cm long; involucre of 5 to 10 linear to lanceolate, entire bracts to 12 mm long, usually exceeding the diameter of the heads and reflexed; heads commonly blue, cylindrical-oblong at anthesis, to 9 mm long and 4 mm broad; bractlets subulate, ca 1 mm long, scarcely projecting from between the flowers, shorter than and usually concealed by the fruit; coma absent. Sepals ovate to suborbicular, obtuse and minutely mucronate, ca. 0.8 mm long; styles longer than the sepals, exserted at anthesis. Fruits subglobose to obconic, ca. 2 mm broad, usually wider than long, the surface sparsely white papillose or with low tubercles. Moist soil of stream and pond margins, ditches, seasonal wet areas, damp lawns, etc. E. 1/2 TX; DE S. to FL, W. to TX; also W.I., Mex, Cen. and S. Amer., and E. Asia. May-Oct.

4.E. leavenworthiiAPIACEAE ERYNGIUM leavenworthii T. & G. Leavenworth Eryngo, Button Snakeroot. Annual or winter annual from a taproot; stems simple below, divaricately-branched above, 5 to 10 dm tall; herbage glabrous, often purplish. Lower cauline leaves with short, sheathing petioles, blades broadly oblanceolate, to 6 cm long and 2 cm broad, usually absent by flowering time, middle and upper stem leaves sessile, to ca. 4 cm long, broadly ovate to orbicular in outline, deeply palmately parted, each division pinnatifid with spinose-pungent lobes. Head-bearing region sparingly cymose-branched, heads usually few, short-peduncled; involucre of 4 to 8 oblong, spinose-pinnatifid bracts about as long as the head is tall, these often the same color as the heads; heads oblong- or ovoid-cylindrical, 3 to 3.5 cm long, to 2.5 cm broad, usually metallic red- or bluish-purple, occasionally whitish; bractlets ca. 1 cm long, linear with 3 to 7 prominent, spreading, spinose teeth or lobes, longer than the fruit; coma of 4 to 8 conspicuous, colored bracts 1 to 3.5 cm long, similar to the involucral bracts. Sepals ca. 5 mm long, oblong, apically spinose-pinnatifid; stamens long-exserted, anthers versatile, often bluish; styles shorter than the sepals but long-exserted and obvious in flower. Fruit oblong, 2 to 4 mm long, angles and surfaces with clavate or linear white scales (0.5)1 to 2 mm long. Prairies, open woods, roadsides, etc, often preferring calcareous soils. Throughout TX except for the Trans Pecos and Rio Grande Plains; not common in our area but known at least from Brazos Co.; more usual to the N. and W.; TX to E. KS and E. OK. July-Sept.

5.E. diffusumAPIACEAE ERYNGIUM diffusum Torr. Diffuse Eryngo, Bushy Eryngo. Glabrous annual or biennial from a slender taproot; stem diffusely branched, erect or sometimes prostrate. Basal leaves (often not present at flowering time) subsessile, obovate to cuneate in outline, to 5 cm long and 2 cm broad, deeply palmately lobed, the divisions oblong or cuneate, spinulose-dentate or lobed, cauline leaves similar, usually many. Inflorescence successively trifurcate or the side branches elongating and simple; heads many, very short-pedunculate to subsessile (this most obvious on the heads in the forks of the inflorescence), globose-ovoid, 8 to 12 mm long, bluish, many-flowered; involucral bracts 10 to 12, linear-lanceolate, rigid and spreading wider than the heads, 10 to 15 mm long, 2 to 3 mm broad, margins pungently spinose-serrate, scarious at the base; bractlets lanceolate, 5 mm long, entire, mucronate, broadly scarious-winged basally, longer than the fruit; coma absent. Sepals lance-ovate, acuminate; styles shorter than to longer than the sepals. Fruit globose-ovoid, 2.5 to 3 mm long, densely covered on both faces and angles with subequal, linear-acute white scales (0.5)1 to 2 mm long. Sandy soil of prairies, pastures, roadsides, etc.; throughout much of TX except the Trans Pecos and Timber Belt; not common here but known from Washington Co.; also W. OK. May-Aug.

6.E. hookeriAPIACEAE ERYNGIUM hookeri Walp. Hooker('s) Eryngo. Annual from a fascicle of fibrous roots; stems slender, erect, glabrous, 3 to 6 dm tall, simple below, branched in the head-bearing region. Basal leaves subsessile, lanceolate, laciniately spinose-toothed, and with a pair of small laciniate basal segments but not palmatifid or pinnatifid, upper cauline leaves 2 to 3 cm long, ovate in outline, palmately 5- to 7-lobed, the lobes oblong, laciniate or pinnatifid, spinulose, the segments unequal on lower leaves and becoming more equal upwards. Inflorescence cymosely branched or in small specimens sometimes one side of the cyme not developed, peduncles well-developed; involucral bracts several to many, linear-lanceolate, 1 to 2 cm long, rigid and spreading wider than the head, spinose-serrate, scarious-margined or -winged at the base; heads ovoid to cylindric-ovoid, 8 to 15 mm broad, purplish or greenish, many-flowered; bractlets lanceolate, 4 to 6 mm long, entire, pungent, longer than the fruit; coma of a few elongate bractlets or absent. Sepals ovate-lanceolate, 2 mm long, acuminate-pungent; styles shorter than the sepals. Fruit 1 to 2 mm long, globose-ovoid to cylindric-ovoid, the angles with dense, flat, tawny scales to 0.5 mm long, the fruit faces usually bare and showing as narrow dark stripes between the scales. Moist loamy sand or clay soil. Coastal and Blackland Prairies; also LA. Jun.-Sept.


Annual, perennial, or rarely biennial herbs from woody or fibrous taproots (elsewhere also shrubs), caulescent (as ours) or rarely acaulescent, low to erect or spreading, branches dichotomous or alternate. Herbage glabrous and often glaucous. Basal leaves usually entire and parallel-veined, with sheathing petioles, stem leaves usually sessile and clasping, auriculate, or perfoliate. Flowers in axillary and terminal compound umbels; involucre absent or of conspicuous foliaceous bracts; primary rays spreading to ascending; involucel of broad foliaceous bracts, often connate and occasionally colored, in some species much exceeding the flowers and fruit; pedicels spreading. Calyx obsolete. Petals with an inflexed tip, yellow, greenish, or tinged with purple. Stylopodium depressed-conic; carpophore completely bifid. Fruit oblong to orbicular or ellipsoid, slightly flattened laterally, constricted at the commissure, glabrous to tuberculate, ribs filiform, oil tubes many and distributed around the mericarp or several in the spaces between the ribs and on the commissure, OR oil tubes absent, seed face plane.

About 70 species, mostly circumboreal, also represented in Africa; 2 species introduced in TX; 1 known from our area.

1. B. rotundifolium L. Roundleaf Throughwax. Annual from a slender taproot; stem usually simple below, 2 to 6 dm tall, erect or the branches spreading; herbage glabrous and often glaucous. Basal and lower leaves oblong to obovate-lanceolate, to 8 cm long and 5 cm broad, apically rounded, base subpetiolate or nearly perfoliate, upper cauline leaves (long-)ovate, perfoliate, apically rounded, all major veins arising from the point of attachment. Peduncles 2 to 7 cm long; involucre lacking; primary rays 4 to 10, 5 to 15 mm long, spreading-ascending; involucel of 5 or 6 broadly ovate to obovate, short-acuminate bracts 8 to 12 mm long, 6 to 10 mm broad, basally united, much exceeding the flowers and fruits; pedicels 10 to 12 per umbellet, equalling or shorter than the mature fruits. Flowers yellow, petals 0.5 to 0.8 mm long. Fruit oblong to ovoid, 2.5 to 3 mm long, 1.5 to 2 mm broad, dark purple-brown, smooth, ribs filiform, seed face slightly concave. Southern Blackland Prairies; native to the Medit. region; widely and sporadically introduced in E. and Cen. U.S. Rare or absent in our area in recent years, but known from at least Brazos and Washington Cos. Mar.-Jun.


A monotypic genus.

1. C. digitatum DC. Finger Dog-shade. Glabrous annual herb (1.5)3 to 5 dm tall from a fascicle of fibrous roots; stem erect, slender, few-branched below, dichotomously branched in the inflorescence region. Basal leaves simple, to 12 cm long and 5 cm broad, blades linear-lanceolate, tapered to a sheathing petiole-like base, acute at apex, entire, with cross-septa, major veins parallel, cauline leaves palmately 3- to 5-parted, the divisions linear-lanceolate to linear, 3.5 to 12 cm long, 1 to 6 mm broad, acute, tapered to the base, entire, some with visible septa. Inflorescences axillary and terminal compound umbels; peduncles 1.5 to 1.8 cm long; involucre of a few unequal linear bracts to ca. 1.5 cm long or else absent; primary rays 2 to 10, 1 to 4 cm long, unequal, slender, sometimes a few flowers present among the rays, representing a sessile umbellet; involucels usually absent or of a few linear bracts shorter than the pedicels; pedicels 2 to 11 per umbellet, 5 to 20 mm long, spreading-ascending. Flowers 2.5 to 3 mm broad; calyx teeth prominent, ovate; petals white, tips narrowed and inflexed; styles short, divergent, stylopodium conic, carpophore with bifid apex. Fruit ovoid, abruptly tapered to a prominent beak, basally rounded, slightly flattened laterally or nearly terete, dorsal ribs narrow and prominent, lateral ribs with prominent corky wings or bands, but these not protruding beyond the roundness of the fruit, rather making up the roundness of the fruit since the mericarps are flattened, oil tubes dark, solitary in the intervals between the ribs and 2 on the commissure, seed face flat. Wet places--bayous, low woods, ditches, etc. Coastal and Blackland Prairies. S. MO to E. and SE. TX, LA, and MS. May-July.


Fourteen species, primarily of S. Amer.; we have the 1 species found in TX.

1. B. incana Ruíz & Pavòn Hoary Bowlesia, Rabbit Lettuce. Annual from a slender taproot; stems usually several to many from the base, prostrate to suberect, dichotomously branched, 1 to 5(6) dm long or more; herbage densely stellate pubescent to glabrate. Leaves opposite (except the first), petioles slender, lax, to 7 cm long, not sheathing; blades suborbicular to broadly reniform in overall outline, usually broader than long, to 3 cm long and 4.5 cm broad, palmately veined, shallowly to deeply palmately 5- to 7-lobed, lobes entire to dentate; stipules present, lacerate, scarious. Umbels rather inconspicuous, simple, 2- to 6-flowered, usually paired at the nodes; peduncle slender, much shorter than the leaves, to ca. 2 cm long; involucre of a few subulate, lacerate bracts; pedicels 1 to 3 mm long or obsolete, spreading and ascending. Calyx teeth triangular, prominent in flower, ciliate; petals white to purplish, 0.4 to 0.7 mm long; stylopodium depressed-conic, carpophore undivided. Fruit sessile or subsessile, ellipsoid to subglobose, 1 to 1.5 mm long, 2 to 3 mm broad, stellate-pubescent to glabrate, constricted between the mericarps, carpels depressed along the dorsal area, the dorsal region inflated on either side, ribs scarcely obvious. Lawns, vacant lots, low moist woods, etc. Primarily in the SE. 1/2 of TX; FL to CA; Mex. to S. Amer. (Jan.)Feb.-June. [B. septentrionalis Coult. & Rose].

APIACEAE SANICULA7. SANICULA L. Sanicle, Black Snakeroot

Biennial or perennial herbs from taproots, tubers, rootstocks, or fascicles of woody or wiry fibrous roots, caulescent or acaulescent. Stems slender, low and decumbent or erect and spreading. Herbage glabrous. Leaves subsessile to petiolate, palmately or pinnately divided or ternate-pinnately decompound, the divisions toothed to lobed or entire, rachis sometimes winged, leaves rarely entire; petioles sheathing. Inflorescences terminal or terminal and lateral, irregular, spreading compound umbels; involucre foliaceous, the bracts toothed or lobed; primary rays few, unequal, developed and spreading or else obsolete; involucel of small to large, entire to lobed bractlets; pedicels obsolete to developed and spreading. Flowers white or some shade of yellow, green, or purple, perfect or staminate, the staminate flowers usually more prominently pedicelled. Sepals prominent, free or united, persistent. Petal apices narrowed and inflexed. Stylopodium absent, styles short to elongate, spreading to recurved or coiled. Fruit oblong-ovoid to ellipsoid or subglobose, slightly flattened laterally, the surface densely covered with uncinate bristles (as in ours), tubercles, or scales, ribs obsolete, oil tubes large or small, irregularly arranged with several to many on the dorsal and lateral surfaces and usually 2 on the commissure, seed face flat, concave, or grooved, strengthening cells none.

About 37 species nearly worldwide, except for Australasia; 3 in TX; apparently only 1 here.

Some, but not ours, have medicinal uses.

1. S. canadensis L. Canada Sanicle. Biennial from a short vertical rootstock and woody or wiry fibrous roots, caulescent, 2 to 10 dm tall; stem solitary at the base and alternately or divaricately branched above, 3- to 4-furcate at the top. Basal leaves long-petiolate, blades suborbicular to reniform in outline, 4 to 10 cm long, 2 to 8 cm broad, usually palmately 3-parted, the divisions in turn shallowly to deeply parted (sometimes to near the midrib), margins sharply serrate, stem leaves triangular to suborbicular, 1.5 to 14 cm long, 1.5 to 6 cm broad, palmately 3-parted (or appearing 5-parted by deep division of the lateral lobes), divisions ovate-lanceolate to cuneate-obovate, acute to obtuse, margin serrate and often incised, the teeth minutely spinulose to mucronate; petioles 5 to 20 cm long, reduced upwards and the upper leaves short-petiolate to sessile. Involucre of few (usually 2) ovate-lanceolate, sometimes divided, leaflike bracts 2 to 3 mm long; primary rays few, commonly only 2 or 3, the fertile ones 2 to 30 mm long; involucel of a few very small ovate bracts; umbellets with 4 to 6 flowers of which 2 or 3 are staminate and have pedicels ca. 2 mm long; perfect flowers subsessile. Calyx lobes linear to narrowly lanceolate, acute, longer than the petals, connate below; petals white, staminate flowers sometimes radiate (with larger petals toward the outside of the umbel); anthers white, slightly exserted; styles shorter than the calyx, included and not projecting beyond the bristles in fruit. Fruits usually 3 per umbellet, globose, 2 to 5 mm long, densely covered with yellowish uncinate prickles which are dilated basally and arranged more or less in longitudinal rows, oil tubes solitary in the groove on the dorsal surface and 2 on the commissure, seed face concave. Moist woods, bottomlands, etc., often in shade. Timber Belt and Blackland Prairies; Ont. and VT to MN and SD, S. to FL and TX. Apr.-June. [Sometimes divided into varieties; as described here, includes var. grandis Fern.].

NOTE: S. odorata (Raf.) Pryer & Philiippe (S. gregaria Bickn.) is reported from the Blackland Prairies, but apparently occurs primarily N. and E. of our area. It is similar to S. canadensis but has styles exserted in fruit, greenish-yellow flowers, and calyx lobes shorter than the petals. It may eventually be found in our area.


Annual from a taproot. Stems erect or decumbent, branched. Herbage pubescent to hispid. Leaves 1- to 3-pinnate or pinnately decompound, the ultimate divisions narrow; petioles sheathing. Inflorescences lateral or lateral and terminal, the sessile or pedunculate compound umbels capitate or open; involucre of 1 to few small, narrow bracts or absent; primary rays 6 to 12, either spreading-ascending or else obsolete; involucel of several linear to filiform bracts; pedicels spreading, short to obsolete. Calyx teeth evident to obsolete. Petals white, the tips narrowed and inflexed. Stylopodium thick, conic, carpophore apically bifid or cleft above the middle. Fruit oblong or ovoid, flattened laterally, the surface tuberculate or prickly/bristly, primary ribs filiform, setulose (sometimes hard to see through the bristles), lateral ribs displaced to the commissure; secondary ribs obscured by bristles or tubercles, oil tubes present, solitary beneath the secondary ribs and 2 on the commissure, seed face concave to shallowly grooved, strengthening cells present in primary ribs and absent from the secondary.

About 12 species, mostly of the Mediterranean area; 2 or 3 depending on interpretation; 2 here.

1. Umbels terminal and lateral, usually long-pedunculate ...1.T.arvensis

1. Umbels lateral, opposite the leaves, short-pedunculate or sessile, some-what capitate ........


1.T. arvensisAPIACEAE TORILIS arvensis (Huds.) Link Hedge-parsley. Stem slender, erect, divaricately branched, 3 to 10 dm tall. Herbage appressed-hispid throughout. Leaves ovate to lance-ovate in overall outline, 2 to 3 times pinnate, leaflets ovate linear-lanceolate, 0.5 to 6 cm long, 2 to 18 mm wide, acute to acuminate, more or less regularly incised or divided, dark green above, paler beneath; petioles sheathing. Inflorescences compound umbels; peduncles terminal and lateral, 2 to 12 cm long, longer than the subtending leaves; involucre of 1 small, linear bract or absent; primary rays 2 to 10, subequal to slightly unequal, 5 to 25 mm long, spreading to ascending; involucel of several subulate bractlets usually longer than the pedicels, which are 1 to 4 mm long. Fruit ovoid to oblong, 3 to 5 mm long , 2 to 3 mm broad, sometimes purple or bluish, densely covered with uncinate bristles spreading more or less at right angles and about as long as the width of the mericarps, remains of recurved styles sometimes persistent. Roadsides, fields, railways, etc. Primarily in the Blackland Prairies and the Ed. Plat.; adventive from Europe in NY, OH, and KS, S. to FL and TX; also CA. Apr.-June. [T. anthriscus (L.) Bernh. is apparently a synonym, but not T. anthriscus (L.) C. C. Gmel. or T. anthriscus Gaertn.]

T. arvensis is sometimes meant to include T. japonica (Houtt.) DC. (e.g., GPFA, 1986; Hickman 1993), but Kartesz (1998) maintains T. japonica as a separate species. Where T. japonica is described, it is said to have leaves 1 to 2 pinnately compound and fruit 1.5 to 4 mm long with short, ascending bristles shorter than the width of the fruit--this does not match our material.

2.T. nodosaAPIACEAE TORILIS nodosa (L.) Gaertn. Knotted Hedge-parsley. Stems slender, prostrate to ascending, to 6 dm tall/long, commonly very short, with the leaves all crowded at ground-level and mat-forming; herbage appressed-hispid. Leaves oblong, pinnately decompound, the ultimate divisions more or less filiform, 2 to 8 mm long, 1 to 2 mm broad, entire or pinnately lobed, acute; petioles shorter than the leaves. Inflorescences opposite the leaves, peduncles shorter than the leaves, obsolete or to 25 mm long; involucre none or of a few inconspicuous linear bracts; primary rays few, short to obsolete; involucel of linear bracts longer than the pedicels, which are very short, the whole compound umbel dense and sometimes head-like. Fruit ovoid, 3 to 5 mm long, 1 to 2 mm broad, outer fruits of a cluster with spreading bristles, the inner merely tuberculate or sometimes with their outer faces bristly and the inner faces warty. Fields, lawns, roadsides, etc., especially where moist; sometimes weedy. Primarily in the Timber Belt and Blackland and Prairies; adventive from Eurasia (especially the Mediterranean); in the Western Hemisphere in the S. U.S., along the Pacific coast, in Berm., and in S. Amer. Apr.-Jun.


Taprooted annuals. Stems slender, erect or spreading, well-branched, sometimes with red or purple tinting. Herbage glabrous. Leaves ternately or ternate-pinnately decompound, ultimate divisions filiform or narrowly linear; petioles sheathing. Inflorescences terminal and axillary compound umbels, peduncles longer than leaves; involucre none; primary rays few to several, erect to spreading, sometimes an umbellet sessile so that flowers are mixed among the primary rays; involucel of a few linear bracts which are shorter than the pedicels; flowers few per umbel, pedicellate, white. Sepals obsolete. Petals obtuse, apices not inflexed. Stylopodium low-conic, styles short, carpophore apically 2-cleft. Fruit ovoid, somewhat flattened laterally and slightly constricted at the commissure, surface with echinate hairs or tuberculate or smooth; ribs filiform, rounded, oil tubes 1 to 3 in the intervals between ribs and 2 on the commissure, seed face grooved.

3 species in the SE. and Cen. U.S., 1 in Arg., and 1 in HI; we have the 3 found in TX.

1. Mature fruit with echinate bristles; leaves ovate ...1.S.echinata

1. Mature fruit tuberculate to smooth; leaves oblong to oblong-ovate .......................................2

2(1) Primary rays 3 to 7, divaricate, more or less equal; sessile flowers usually not present among primary rays ...2.S.divaricata

2. Primary rays 5 to 11(14), erect, unequal; sessile flowers often present among primary rays


1.S. echinataAPIACEAE SPERMOLEPIS echinata (Nutt. ex DC.) Heller Bristly Scale-seed. Plant low but erect, 0.5 to 3(6) dm tall, branches often spreading. Leaves ovate in outline, 3 to 30 mm long and 20 mm broad, usually decompound, ultimate divisions filiform or very narrowly linear, 2 to 18 mm long, minutely mucronate, leaves usually not long enough to overlap the blade of the leaf above. Peduncles 8 to 65 mm long; primary rays 5 to 14, suberect, unequal, 1 to 15 mm long; involucel of a few filiform bractlets, callous-toothed, glabrous; pedicels 1 to 6 per umbellet, to 7 mm long, a sessile, 1-flowered umbellet often present amongst the primary rays. Fruit ovoid, 1.5 to 2 mm long, and wide, surface covered with short, spreading echinate bristles, topped with the points of the persistent stylopodium. Usually on sandy soils of roadsides, pastures, open woods, etc. More or less throughout the state; MO and IL to GA and SC, S. to OK, TX and FL, W. to S. CA; also N. Mex. Mar.-May; in fruit until June. [Apium echinatum (Nutt. ex DC.) Benth. & Hook. f. ex S. Wats.].

2.S. divaricataAPIACEAE SPERMOLEPIS divaricata(Walt.) Raf. ex Ser. Forked Scale-seed. Plants erect, 1 to 7 dm tall, branches spreading. Leaves oblong to oblong-ovate in outline, to 5 cm long and 3.5 cm broad, ternately or ternate-pinnately decompound, ultimate divisions linear (to filiform), 3 to 15 mm long, acute; petiole sheaths with scarious winged margins, to 3 cm long, leaves commonly shorter than the internodes. Peduncles 1 to 5 cm long; primary rays 3 to 7, subequal, spreading, filiform; involucel of a few linear, acute bracts with margins scarious and often callous-toothed; pedicels 1 to 6 per umbellet, commonly just 2 or 3, to 3 cm long, sometimes a central flower in an umbellet sessile (c.f. S. echinata and S. inermis with sessile flowers among the primary rays, not in the umbellets). Fruit ovoid, 1.5 to 2 mm long, 1.5 mm broad, dark, surface tuberculate, topped with the points of the persistent stylopodium. Sandy and alluvial soils of roadsides, woods, and fields, and in boggy or swampy areas. Timber Belt and Blackland Prairies; VA, MO, and KS, S. to FL and TX. Apr.-June.

3.S. inermisAPIACEAE SPERMOLEPIS inermis (Nutt. ex DC.) Math. & Const. Spreading Scale-seed. Plants erect; stems slender, 1 to 6 dm tall, branched above. Leaves oblong-ovate, to 5 cm long and 4 cm broad, ternately decompound, ultimate divisions filiform or narrowly linear, 3 to 30 mm long, minutely mucronate. Peduncles (0.8)2 to 7 cm long; primary rays 5 to 11(14), erect, unequal, 1 to 13 mm long; involucel of a few narrow bractlets shorter than the pedicels and callous-toothed; pedicels 1 to 6 per umbellet, to 6 mm long, but the central umbellets each with 1 to 3 sessile or very short-pedicelled flowers borne amongst the primary rays. Fruit ovoid, 1.5 to 2 mm long, 1.5 mm broad, surface smooth to tuberculate. Sandy or gravelly soils of roadsides, pastures, railways, etc. Widespread in TX but absent from Trans Pecos and Piney Woods; IN and NE, E. to NC, W. to NM, S. to MS, TX, and N. Mex. Apr.-Jun. [S. patens (DC.) Robins. or --(Nutt.) Robins or (Nutt. ex DC.) Robins.


Taprooted annual or biennial. Stems erect, simple to branched, pubescent. Leaves pinnately decompound, ultimate divisions usually small and narrow. Inflorescences terminal and axillary compound umbels, sometimes compacted by incurving of the rays during fruit development (often opening again when the fruit are mature); involucre of several to many pinnatifid bracts (as in ours), in some taxa the bracts entire or absent; primary rays few to many, unequal, spreading or the outer incurved over the inner; involucre of entire or toothed bracts or absent. Flowers pedicellate, white (often drying yellow), or the central flower of each umbellet rose or purple, rarely all the flowers reddish or yellow, outer petals of each umbellet often radiant. Calyx obsolete (as in ours) or evident, styles short, stylopodium conic, carpophore entire or apically bifid. Fruit oblong to ovate, flattened dorsally, primary ribs filiform, bristly at maturity, secondary ribs winged, each wing with a single row of bristles or prickles, oil tubes solitary under the secondary ribs and 2 on the commissure, seed face slightly concave to nearly flat.

About 22 species nearly worldwide; 2 species naturalized in TX and present in our area.

D. carota is the common edible carrot.

1. Ultimate divisions of involucral bracts elongate, linear to narrowly lanceolate, acuminate; rays 3 to 7.5 cm long; fruit widest at the middle; central flower of each umbellet rose or purple; biennial ...1.D.carota

1. Ultimate divisions of involucral bracts short, linear-lanceolate to oblanceolate, acute; rays 0.4 to 4 cm long; fruit widest below the middle; central flower of each umbellet white; annual ...2.D.pusillus

1.D. carotaAPIACEAE DAUCUS carota L. Wild Carrot, Queen Anne's Lace. Biennial; stem solitary below, often branched above, 1.5 to 15 dm tall, glabrous to retrorsely hispid. Leaves ovate-lanceolate to oblong in outline, to 15(20) cm long and 7 cm wide, ultimate divisions linear-lanceolate, 2 to 12 mm long, acute, mucronate, entire or few-cleft, glabrous to hispid, especially on the veins and margins, divisions of upper cauline leaves proportionately somewhat longer. Peduncles 2 to 60(70) cm long (or more), retrorsely hispid; involucral bracts 3 to 40 mm long, commonly deflexed, rarely entire, usually pinnately divided, the divisions linear or narrowly lanceolate, scarious margined; rays many, 3 to 7.5 cm long, inflexed in fruit; involucel bractlets linear, acuminate, entire (rarely pinnate), more or less scarious, ciliate, equalling or longer than the flowers; central flower of each umbellet purple or rose. Fruit ovoid, 3 to 4 mm long, ca. 2 mm broad, widest at the middle, secondary ribs with simple or slightly uncinate bristles. Usually along roadsides, sporadic and not very common in our area (more abundant farther N.); Blackland Prairies and Rio Grande Plains; native of Eurasia and widely naturalized in the U.S. and W. hemisph. Apr.-Jun.

The common garden carrot, colored by carotene, can be treated as subsp. sativus (L.) Schuebler & Martens. The white-rooted and wild plants belong to subsp. carota (Mabberley 1987). While the roots of this plant are edible, but not always palatable--and considering the very real possibility of confusing this plant with the deadly poisonous Conium--it is safest not to sample it. The leaves yield a yellow dye (Tull 1987), but contact with them can cause phytophotodermatitis (Lampe 1985).

2.D. pusillusAPIACEAE DAUCUS pusillus Michx. Rattlesnake Weed. Annual; stems slender, generally unbranched or the larger plants few-branched, 1 to 9 dm tall, retrorsely papillose-hispid. Leaves ovate-lanceolate to oblong in outline, to 10.5 cm long and 7 cm broad, often much smaller, ultimate divisions linear, ca. 1 mm broad, acute, hispid. Peduncles (5)10 to 45 cm long; involucral bracts similar to the leaves, 12 to 20 mm long, ultimate divisions short, linear-lanceolate or oblanceolate, short-acute; rays few to many, 4 to 40 mm long (usually less than 30 mm long), unequal, incurved and compact in fruit; involucel bracts linear, acute, about as long as the pedicels; pedicels unequal, 2 to 9 mm long. Flowers all white. Fruit oblong, 3 to 5 mm long, ca. 2 mm broad, usually widest below the middle, bristles of secondary ribs barbed or bluntly hooked, commissural surface with 2 rows of hispidulous hairs. Common in disturbed areas, roadsides, pastures, etc., especially in sandy soil. Nearly throughout TX, especially in the E.; SC, MO, KS, and OK, S. to FL and TX, also CA, N. to B.C., S. to N. Mex and temperate S. Amer. (Mar.)Apr.-Jun.


A monotypic genus formerly included in Apium. (Sometimes found spelled "Ciclospermum".)

1. C. leptophyllum (Pers.) Sprague Slimlobe Celery, Marsh Parsley. Taprooted annual; stems erect, striate, (2.5)5 to 8 dm tall, alternately-branched above; herbage glabrous. Leaf blades oblong-ovate in outline, to 10 cm long and 8 cm broad, the lower pinnately decompound, upper ternate-pinnately dissected, ultimate divisions narrowly linear to filiform, narrower on the upper leaves; petiole with abruptly expanded sheathing base with a white, hyaline margin, OR uppermost leaves sometimes subsessile. Umbels simple or compound, sessile in the axils or with peduncles to 2 cm long; involucre absent; primary rays 3 to 5, 1 to 2.2 cm long; involucel none; pedicels about 10 per umbellet, unequal, 2 to 8 mm long and ascending or the central flower sometimes sessile; flowers small and white or greenish. Calyx teeth inconspicuous or none; stylopodium short-conic to depressed; carpophore very shortly 2-cleft. Fruit ovoid to suborbicular, 1.2 to 3(4) mm long, 1.5 to 2 mm broad, slightly flattened laterally and constricted at the commissure, glabrous, ribs conspicuous, filiform and rounded, about equal in width, oil tubes dark (giving the mature fruit a decidedly striped appearance), solitary in the intervals between the ribs and 2 on the commissure, seed face plane. Widespread in moist to wet soil, sometimes weedy, in lawns, fields, roadsides, marshes, ditches, borders of ponds, etc. Coastal and Blackland Prairies and Rio Grande Plains; NC to FL, W. to OK and TX; scattered and adventive elsewhere in coastal areas; also W.I. and S. Amer.; a pantropical weed. Feb.-Jun. [Apium leptophyllum (Pers.) F. v. Muell.].


Four species, 3 in the Mediterranean area and the Caucasus; 1 in America.

1. B. americana (DC.) Benth. & Hook. f. ex S. Wats. Prairie Bishop. Taprooted annual; stem erect, slender, branching, 2.5 to 7.5 dm tall, glabrous to somewhat minutely scabrous. Leaf blades ovate-oblong in outline, 2 to 5 cm long, 1 to 3 cm broad, ternate-pinnately decompound, ultimate divisions filiform to very narrowly linear, 1 mm broad or less, obtuse and minutely mucronate, glabrous; petioles 2 to 15 mm long, slightly expanded basally, sheathing. Inflorescences terminal and axillary compound umbels to ca. 5 cm broad; peduncles slightly scaberulous apically; involucre of a few linear, entire to pinnatifid bracts, ultimate divisions linear to filiform; rays 4 to 14, spreading, usually subequal, 15 to 35 mm long, slightly scaberulous apically; involucel bractlets like the involucre, shorter than or equalling the flowers; pedicels 2 to 4 mm long, spreading; flowers white, outer petals often radiant, rather showy en masse. Calyx teeth evident to obsolete; petals with a narrowed, incurved apex; stylopodium low-conic, carpophore divided to the base. Fruit transverse-ellipsoid to subglobose, more or less didymous, flattened laterally, strongly constricted at the commissure, 2 to 3 mm long, 4 to 5 mm broad, glabrous, ribs filiform, curved to follow the contours of the fruit and often appearing as concentric half-circles on either side of the commissure, pericarp hard and very thin, oil tubes none, seed face deeply and broadly concave (as seen in cross-section as the commissural face itself is rounded). Prairies, fields, roadsides, vacant lots, rocky hills, etc. Primarily in N. and Cen. TX in Blackland Prairies and Ed. Plat.; also adjacent OK and AR. Apr.-Jun.

This flower is the last in the temporal sequence: Nothoscordum, Arenaria, Bifora that colors lots and roadsides white in springtime.


Annual herbs from a fascicle of fibrous (sometimes tuberous) roots. Stems erect, slender, sparingly branched. Herbage glabrous. Leaves in ours pinnately decompound, ultimate divisions filiform; petioles sheathing (in some other species leaves reduced to hollow, septate phyllodia). Inflorescences axillary and terminal compound umbels; involucre of entire to pinnate bracts; rays few to many, spreading-ascending to spreading; involucel of entire bractlets; pedicels spreading. Flowers white or rarely pinkish. Calyx teeth small to prominent. Petals with a narrowed, inflexed apex. Styles spreading to reflexed, shorter than to longer than the conic stylopodium; carpophore apically bifid or cleft to the middle. Fruit ovoid to suborbicular, flattened laterally, dorsal ribs filiform, rounded to acute, lateral ribs small or with corky wings, commonly forming a vertical band around the fruit on either side of the commissure, oil tubes solitary in the intervals between ribs and 2 on the commissure, seed face plane.

Six species of SE. and S. Cen. U.S.; 4 in Texas, all present in our region.

These plants can be devilishly hard to separate as each is defined by a set of characters rather than a single feature. Mature fruit is essential for confident identification, and access to positively identified specimens for comparison is of enormous value.

NOTE: For the key below, in counting leaf segments per node on the rachis of the leaves, examine the lowermost nodes of each leaf. Magnification is helpful.

1. Styles 0.2 to 0.5 mm long, shorter than the stylopodium, erect or slightly spreading but not recurved; calyx teeth small, triangular, AND involucral bracts (at least some) usually 3- cleft or pinnatifid AND leaf segments usually 3 per node on the rachis ...1.P.capillaceum

1. Styles 0.5 to 3 mm long, longer than the stylopodium, spreading or strongly recurved; calyx teeth lanceolate; involucral bracts entire or 3-cleft; leaf segments 2 to several per node on the rachis ....................................................................................................................2

2(1) Leaf segments crowded on the rachis, appearing verticillate; ultimate divisions only 3 to 8 mm long; styles (if not broken) 1.5 to 3 mm long, usually more than twice the length of the stylopodium, spreading or deflexed but not strongly recurved ...2.P.costatum

2. Leaf segments only 2 or 3 per node on the rachis, not verticillate; ultimate divisions 1 to 6 cm long; styles 0.5 to 1.5 mm long, strongly recurved, longer than and often appressed to the stylopodium .........................................................................................................................3

3(2) Leaf segments 2 per node on the rachis (sometimes divided very shortly above the point of attachment, but in any case segments attached at only 2 points); involucral bracts entire; leave sessile or with petioles to about 1 cm long ...3.P.nuttallii

3. Leaf segments 3 per node on the rachis; involucral bracts often 3-cleft; petioles some- times 1 cm long or more ...4.P.xtexense

1.P. capillaceumAPIACEAE PTILIMNIUM capillaceum (Michx.) Raf. Threadleaf Mock Bishop's-weed. Plants 1 to 8.5 dm tall, often branched. Leaves pinnately decompound, somewhat polymorphic in submerged specimens, blades widely oblong in outline, 5 to 13 cm long, to 6 cm wide, ultimate divisions 3 per node at the lower nodes of the rachis, very narrowly linear to filiform, 5 to 30 mm long, 0.25 to 1 mm broad, obtuse and more or less mucronate; petiole from obsolete to 1.5 cm long, the full length hyaline-winged and sheathing. Peduncles 2.5 to 10 cm long, surpassing the leaves; involucre of several bracts, each usually 3-cleft or pinnatifid, rarely entire, from about 1/2 to 3/4 as long as the rays; primary rays 4 to 21, subequal, 1 to 3.5 cm long; involucel of filiform bracts shorter than to slightly longer than the pedicels; pedicels 5 to 20 per umbellet, (3)4 to 6(12) mm long, subequal or unequal. Calyx teeth minute, deltoid, persistent; petals white, with acute apices; anthers purple; styles very short, 0.2 to 0.5 mm long, equalling or shorter than the stylopodium, ascending or divaricate but not recurved. Fruit suborbicular to ovoid, 1.5 to 3 mm long, 1.5 to 2 mm broad, dorsal ribs filiform and acute, lateral ribs broader, corky band around fruit obvious. Wet ditches, swamps, shores, etc. E. 1/3 TX; FL to TX, N. to KS, MO, and KY, along the Atlantic coast to MA. May-Aug.

2.P. costatumAPIACEAE PTILIMNIUM costatum (Ell.) Raf. Plants often from rounded, swollen bases, tall and slender, 0.8 to 1.5 m tall, usually only sparingly branched. Leaves well-spaced, oblong, 3 to 14 cm long, 2 to 7 cm broad, pinnately decompound, ultimate divisions filiform, proportionately short, 3 to 8 mm long, 0.2 to 1 mm broad, acute, crowded on the axis and appearing verticillate, overall leaf appearance bushy but the individual segments not long enough to tangle; petiole 0.5 to 3 cm long, hyaline margin very narrow and inconspicuous. Peduncles 7 to 14 mm long, surpassing the leaves; involucral bracts proportionately very short, to ca. 1 cm long, usually entire; primary rays 16 to 24, subequal, 1 to 4.5 cm long; involucel of usually entire bractlets shorter than the pedicels; pedicels 15 to 20 per umbellet, spreading, 4 to 5 mm long. Calyx teeth deltoid, acute to subacuminate, conspicuous and persistent; petals white, apices narrowed and inflexed; anthers rose; styles usually more than twice as long as the stylopodium, 1 to 3 mm long, spreading or slightly recurved. Fruit ovoid, 2 to 4 mm long, 2 to 3 mm broad, dorsal ribs broad and rounded, lateral ribs inconspicuous, corky band around the commissure very prominent, sometimes swollen. Bogs, swamps, and other wet areas. Timber Belt, Blackland Prairies, and Coastal Prairies in E. 1/2 TX; NC to GA, W. to MO and TX. Jun.-Oct.

3.P. nuttalliiAPIACEAE PTILIMNIUM nuttallii (DC.) Britt. Nuttall Mock Bishop's-weed. Stems 3 to 6 dm tall, branched. Leaves pinnately decompound, oblong in outline, 3 to 9 cm long, to ca. 4 cm broad, ultimate divisions filiform, acute, elongate, 1 to 6 cm long, 0.5 mm broad, usually 2 per node on the rachis (sometimes divided very near the point of attachment and apparently proliferating, but in any case attached at only 2 points on the rachis), seldom present untangled in herbarium specimens; petiole from obsolete to 1 cm long, with a narrow hyaline or scarious margin. Peduncles 4 to 12 cm long; involucre of several conspicuous filiform bracts, usually entire and shorter than the rays; primary rays 15 to 25(30), subequal, spreading, 1.5 to 3.5 cm long; involucel of filiform, entire bractlets shorter than the pedicels; pedicels 25 to 30 per umbellet, spreading, 3 to 8 mm long. Calyx teeth linear-lanceolate, more or less conspicuous, persistent; petals white; anthers purple or tinged with purple; styles 0.5 to 1.0 mm long, longer than the stylopodium, strongly recurved in fruit and often declined along the stylopodium. Fruit ovoid to suborbicular, 1 to 1.5 mm long, ca. 1 mm broad, dorsal ribs broad and rounded, lateral ribs inconspicuous to obvious, corky band around fruit sometimes prominent, sometimes only slightly thickened. Usually in moist, sandy soil of prairies, ditches, marshy areas, shores, etc. E. 1/2 TX, Timber Belt, Coastal Prairie, Blackland Prairie; MO and KS, S. to LA and TX. Apr.-July(Oct.).

4.P. x texenseAPIACEAE PTILIMNIUM texense Coult. & Rose Texas Mock Bishop's-weed. Plants 3 to 8 dm tall. Leaves stocky/bushy, blades 3 to 4 cm long, pinnately decompound; petioles 2 to 3 cm long, hyaline-bordered. Involucre conspicuous, entire or 3-cleft; primary rays 15 to 20, 1 to 3.5 cm long; flowers white. Styles 0.5 to 1 mm long, strongly recurved in fruit. Fruit orbicular, with an inconspicuous corky band. Plants probably of hybrid origin, found in acid bogs and marshes of E. TX, the center of distribution in Robertson Co. July-Aug.

The above description is by Easterly (1957) who listed it as a "proposed species." The original mention was by Coulter and Rose (1900). It is unclear whether this taxon has ever been formally described and provided with a Latin diagnosis. Kartesz (1998) lists it as P. x texense, while Hatch, et al. (1990) listed it as P. texense.

Correll and Johnston (1970) described this plant as having the fruit characters of P. nuttallii and the vegetative characters of P. capillaceum, while Mathias and Constance (1951) referred the taxon to P. costatum, implying similarity there as well. There seems not to have been and further research into this taxon.

The TAMU and TAES collections include specimens which seem to fit the descriptions of this taxon. The plants are tall, often as tall as P. costatum and superficially similar to it. They are often from rounded, swollen bases. The leaves have the bunchy look of P. costatum leaves, but the ultimate divisions are not verticillate, being usually only 3 at each of the lowest nodes of the rachis (as in P. capillaceum). The divisions are elongate-filiform, much longer than those of either P. costatum or P. capillaceum and usually tangled, as in P. nuttallii. The involucral bracts are much longer than those of P. costatum, usually at least some of them 3-cleft as in P. capillaceum, but not as short. The fruits are nearly identical to those of P. nuttallii, with elongate styles strongly recurved in fruit. It is likely that these plants from Robertson, Trinity, and Brazos Cos. (collected Mar.-Oct.) belong to the taxon known as P. x texense--whatever its status. As Easterly (1957) suggested, this group needs more detailed study.


35 species of the N. temperate zone; we have the 1 species found in TX.

This genus does not include the chervil used as a seasoning; that is Anthriscus cereifolium.

1. C. tainturieri Hook. Taprooted annual; stem usually branched near the base, erect to spreading, 1.5 to 9 dm tall, densely retrorsely-hispid to glabrate below, sparsely hispid to hispidulous above. Leaves ternate-pinnately decompound, oblong to ovate in overall outline, 1.5 to 12 cm long, 1.5 to 10 cm broad, ultimate divisions linear to ovate, 1 to 10 mm long, 0.5 to 2 mm broad, more or less running together, obtuse to acute, glabrous to somewhat hispid; petioles sheathing, 3 to 10 cm long, hispid, margin ciliate and somewhat scarious. Peduncles usually obsolete, the compound (or simple) umbels usually borne in the axils of somewhat reduced upper leaves or else terminal; involucre generally none; primary rays 1 to 5, usually about 3, 1.5 to 7.5 cm long; involucel bractlets conspicuous, entire, ovate, rounded to acute, ciliate-margined, usually longer than the pedicels, at least in flower, spreading to reflexed in fruit; pedicels 3 to 20 per umbellet, unequal, spreading, 0.5 to 10 mm long, slenderly clavate. Calyx teeth obsolete; petals white; styles short; carpophore bifid part way to the base. Fruit narrowly oblong, tapered or beaked apically, rounded to tapered basally, 4 to 8 mm long, 1.5 to 2 mm long, slightly flattened laterally, ribs narrower than to wider than the intervals between, oil tube solitary in the intervals and 2 on the commissure, dark, seed face grooved, each rib with strengthening cells.

Two varieties in TX; both found here and often occurring together.

var. tainturieri Ovaries and fruits glabrous. Prairies, vacant lots, roadsides, flowerbeds, woodlands, etc., often on alluvial soil. Widely distributed in TX, primarily in the E 1/2; VA, IN, MO, and KS, S. to FL, TX, and AZ. Mar.-May. [Includes var. floridanum Coult. & Rose; C. floridanum (Coult. & Rose) Bush; C. reflexum Bush; C. texanum Coult. & Rose].

var. dasycarpum Hook. ex S. Wats. Hairyfruit Chervil. Ovaries and fruits noticeably antrorsely pubescent as seen with a handlens. Primarily in the E 1/2 TX; TX E. to AL and N. to MO. Mar.-May. [C. dasycarpum (Hook ex S. Wats.) Nutt. ex Small; C. procumbens (L.) Crantz var. dasycarpum (S. Wats.) Coult. & Rose].


A monotypic genus of the SE. U.S.

1. T. aethusae Nutt. ex DC. Taprooted annual; stem erect, 2 to 5.5 dm tall, simple below, usually branched above, glabrous and somewhat striate. Leaves pinnately decompound, 8 to 10 cm long, ultimate divisions linear, 2 to 12 mm long, 0.5 to 1.5 mm broad, acute to acuminate, leaves little if at all reduced upwards; petioles 5 to 20 mm long, sheathing. Inflorescences terminal and axillary compound umbels; peduncles 4 to 9.5 cm long; involucre of 1 to several linear (or leaflike) bracts 3 to 15 mm long, usually entire, rarely divided; primary rays 2 to 4, 5 to 15 mm long, unequal to subequal; involucel bractlets like the involucre, 3 to 8 mm long; pedicels 2 to 8 per umbellet, 1 mm or less long, the flowers and fruits thus subsessile. Calyx teeth prominent, to 1 mm long, linear or narrowly triangular, unequal, persistent but fragile; petals white, apically narrowed and inflexed, stylopodium conic, carpophore completely bifid. Fruit oblong-linear, 8 to 10 mm long, truncate to rounded basally, apically blunt except for the stylopodium, slightly flattened laterally, glabrous, primary ribs obsolete but secondary ribs and commissural face corky and obvious, oil tubes small, solitary under the secondary ribs and 2 on the commissure, essentially embedded in the seed and adherent to it, seed face flat to slightly concave. Common in river bottoms and terraces, in moist woods, and sometimes along roadsides. Blackland Prairies, Coastal Prairie, and Timber Belt; TX N. to AR, E. to AL. Apr.-June; collected in fruit as late as July.


Two (perhaps 3) species of temperate regions; 1 naturalized in S. Afr.; 1 species introduced circumboreally; we have the 1 species naturalized in TX.

Species of Conium are fatally poisonous if eaten. This is the only member of the Apiaceae whose toxins are alkaloids (Lampe 1985; Mabberley 1987).

1. C. maculatum L. Poison Hemlock. Biennial herb from a stout white taproot; stem erect, glabrous and often glaucous, 0.5 to 3 m tall, branched, usually spotted or mottled with purple; fresh foliage sometimes also purple-spotted, said to have an unpleasant "mousy" odor when crushed (Lampe 1985). Leaves pinnately decompound, blades broadly ovate in outline, 1.5 to 3 dm long, 5 to 30 cm wide, ultimate divisions bluntly lance-oblong, pinnately incised; petioles as long as to longer than the blades, sheathing, bases expanded and hyaline. Inflorescence a compound cyme of axillary and terminal compound umbels; involucral bracts short, ovate-acuminate, hyaline-margined, much shorter than the rays, reflexed at anthesis; primary rays usually many, 15 to 25 mm long, spreading-ascending, subequal; involucel bractlets similar to involucre but smaller, shorter than the pedicels, and with narrow but visible midribs; pedicels ca. 15 per umbellet, 4 to 6 mm long in fruit, ascending; flowers 2 to 3 mm across. Calyx teeth obsolete; petals white, broadly obovate, with narrow, inflexed apices; styles reflexed, stylopodium depressed-conic, carpophore undivided. Fruit broadly ovoid to subglobose, flattened laterally, 2 to 2.5 mm long, ca. 2 mm broad, glabrous, in mature dry fruit the ribs prominent, obtuse, undulate and crenate, oil tubes many, very small and irregular, seed face narrowly and deeply grooved. Waste places, fencerows, stream banks, low areas, thickets, etc., usually in moist soil in the S. 1/2 TX; native to Eurasia and widely introduced in N. and temperate regions of the W. Hemis. (except Alaska). Not very common in our area and seldom collected in recent years, but definitely known and to be expected. May-Aug.

Fatally poisonous to humans and livestock. According to tradition, this is the plant used to kill the philosopher Socrates. All parts of the plant contain the poisonous alkaloids, especially the root and fruits. Symptoms of Conium poisoning are similar to those of nicotine poisoning; severe intoxications result in death due to respiratory failure (Lampe 1985). This plant was formerly used in medicinal preparations (Mabberley, 1987)--one hopes in small doses and with great judiciousness. The similarity of this plant to white-rooted "wild carrots" (Daucus carota) has been the cause of many an unfortunate accident and is a strong argument against eating any wild umbellifer.


About 25 species from W. N. Amer. to Cen. Am. (possibly northern S. Amer.); we have the 1 species found in TX.

1. T. texana Gray (or A. Gray) Texas Tauschia. Acaulescent perennial herb from a taproot; stems 1 to 4 dm tall, decumbent to erect, entirely glabrous. Leaves pinnately compound, blades oblong, 10 to 15 cm long, 2 to 4 cm broad, leaflets ovate in outline, petiolulate, 7 to 15 mm long, 5 mm broad, the larger pinnately lobed or parted, ultimate divisions cuneate, obtuse, minutely apiculate, the whole leaf repeatedly divided so it is not immediately obvious what is a leaf and what is a leaflet; petioles slender, sheathing, 5 to 10 cm long. Inflorescences compound umbels; peduncles scapose, arising directly from the base of the plant, 1 to 4 dm long; involucre absent or of 1 foliaceous bract; primary rays bearing fertile flowers 5 to 8, 5 to 25 mm long, unequal, shorter rays bearing reduced flowers also present; involucel of several linear-lanceolate, connate bractlets about as long as the flowers at anthesis, shorter than the fruit; pedicels in fertile umbels few to several, 1 to 2 mm long. Calyx teeth minute; petals yellow, with narrowed, inflexed apices; styles slender, spreading, stylopodium evidently lacking or represented by a low bump, carpophore bifid to about the middle. Fruit ovoid in outline, flattened laterally, 3 to 4 mm long, 2 to 3 mm broad, ribs filiform, not especially prominent, oil tubes 3 or 4 in the intervals between ribs and 4 on the commissure, seed face deeply sulcate (as seen in fruit cross-section; commissural face is convex). Wet woods, alluvial thickets, etc. of the S. part of the Blackland Prairies and coastal regions; infrequently collected in our area but known at least from Grimes Co.; endemic. Feb.-June. [Museniopsis texana (Gray) Coult. & Rose].


Taprooted annuals, plants usually low, erect or diffuse, well-branched. Herbage often roughened. Leaves ternately or ternate-pinnately decompound, ultimate divisions linear to spatulate; petioles sheathing. Inflorescences pedunculate or sessile axillary or terminal compound umbels; involucre usually none; primary rays few, ascending or spreading-ascending, unequal; involucel of several slender, entire to toothed bractlets; flowers few per umbellet, sessile or with slender, unequal pedicels. Calyx teeth obsolete. Petals white, apices obtuse and not inflexed. Styles short, stylopodium low-conic; carpophore apically 2-cleft. Fruit ovoid-oblong to ovoid, laterally compressed, ribs prominent, rounded or acute, roughly scabrous to glabrous, lateral ribs with or without callous teeth or corky appendages, contiguous and forming a vertical, often corky band around the commissure, oil tubes 1 to 3 in the intervals between ribs and 2 to 4 on the commissure, pericarp made almost entirely of strengthening cells, seed face flat to concave.

3 species of the S. Cen. and SW. U.S.; 2 in TX; 1 known locally.

1. A. butleri (Engelm. ex S. Wats.) Coult. & Rose Butler's Sand-parsley. Plants low, 4 to 5(12) cm tall, branched from the base. Leaf blades oblong, to 2.5 cm long, to 15 mm broad, biternately or ternate-pinnately compound, ultimate divisions linear, obtuse, minutely mucronate, 1 to 8 mm long, 1 to 2 mm broad, glabrous; petioles 5 to 30 mm long, basally sheathing on the lower leaves, entirely sheathing on the upper leaves. Umbels sessile in the leaf axils, irregularly compound; involucre absent; primary rays 2 to 6, unequal, to 20 mm long or obsolete; involucel of few to several foliaceous bractlets shorter than the pedicels; pedicels 1 to 10, unequal, 1 to 6 mm long. Fruit ovoid, 2.5 to 3 mm long, 1 to 1.5 mm broad, glabrous to sparsely rough with tiny teeth; ribs prominent, subacute, oil tubes single in the intervals and 2 on the commissure, seed face flat or nearly so. Mostly in low woods, floodplains, bottomlands, etc.; Blackland and Coastal Prairies and Timber Belt; easily overlooked and not much collected; also AR, OK, and sporadically weedy elsewhere. Mar.-Apr.

APIACEAE OXYPOLIS19. OXYPOLIS Raf. Hog-fennel, Cowbane

Herbs from fascicles of tuberous roots. Stems erect. Herbage glabrous. Leaves once odd-pinnately compound (as in ours), ternately compound, or reduced to hollow, septate phyllodia; leaflets (if present) linear to very much broader, entire to serrate or incised, usually sessile and distinct, quite discernable as leaflets; petioles sheathing. Inflorescences terminal and axillary, pedunculate compound umbels; involucre of a few narrow bracts or absent; primary rays few to many, usually spreading-ascending; involucel similar to the involucre or none; pedicels ascending to spreading. Calyx teeth minute or prominent. Petals white to purple or maroon, with narrowed, inflexed apices. Styles slender, spreading, stylopodium conic; carpophore completely bifid. Fruit strongly compressed dorsiventrally (parallel to the commissure), oblong-obovoid, glabrous, dorsal ribs (on the flat "faces") filiform, lateral ribs (at the edges of the fruit) at maturity with broad thin wings and basal nerves so that the fruit faces appear 5-nerved, oil tubes large, single in the intervals between ribs and 2 to 6 on the commissure, seed face flat, strengthening cells present under the dorsal ribs and nerves of the lateral ribs.

7 species of N. Amer., 1 species extending to Cuba; 2 in TX; 1 in our area.

1. O. rigidior (L.) Raf. Cowbane, Water-dropwort. Plants from slender tuberous roots; stems 6 to 15 dm tall, slender to rather coarse, somewhat striate. Leaves oval to triangular or lanceolate in outline, blades 10 to 30 cm long, 10 to 25 cm broad, once odd-pinnately compound, leaflets 5 to 11, sessile, quite variable in shape, linear to lanceolate, 7 to 15 cm long, 5 to 45 mm broad, entire to irregularly and remotely toothed to rather regularly and saliently toothed, rarely 3-lobed apically; petioles 5 to 10 cm long. Inflorescences to 15 cm broad in fruit (smaller in flower); peduncles 6 to 30 cm long; involucre of a few linear, attenuate, entire bracts 1 to 2 cm long; primary rays 15 to 45, spreading, 3 to 12 cm long, subequal; involucel of a few linear-filiform bractlets 3 to 5 mm long; pedicels 15 to 45 per umbellet, 5 to 15 mm long, unequal in fruit. Calyx teeth small but conspicuous (with a lens) in flower; petals white, orbicular. Fruit oval to oblong, 4 to 7 mm long, 2.5 to 4 mm broad, ribs and wings as described for the genus but these features obvious only on mature fruit. Bogs, ditches, creekbanks, wet woods, swamps, wet roadsides, etc.; not common but definitely present in our area; Timber Belt and Blackland and Coastal Prairies; NY and NJ to MN, S. to SC, FL panhandle, and TX. Aug.-Oct. [O. turgida Small].

Despite the faintly ominous names, apparently not poisonous--or at least not to humans. (Not listed in the AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants [Lampe 1985]).


Annuals from clusters of fibrous roots, low and diffuse to erect. Stems slender. Leaves entire and septate or once odd-pinnate with elongate leaflets; petioles sheathing. Inflorescence region dichotomously branched, bearing axillary and terminal compound umbels; peduncles well-developed or some inflorescences sessile; involucre of a few, narrow, entire bracts or else absent; primary rays few, spreading-ascending, unequal; involucel of several entire, narrow bractlets shorter than the pedicels; pedicels few per umbellet, spreading. Calyx teeth ovate-lanceolate, visible, not necessarily large, shorter than to longer than the conic stylopodium. Petals white, apices not inflexed. Styles very short, divergent; carpophore briefly bifid apically. Fruit ovoid-oblong to orbicular, basally and apically rounded, slightly compressed dorsiventrally, glabrous, dorsal ribs filiform, lateral ribs expanded and corky, oil tubes single in the intervals between ribs and 2 on the commissure, seed face plane.

2 species of S. and Cen. U.S.; both found here; 1 endemic.

The species can be difficult to determine when the plants are in flower, but mature fruits are characteristic.

1. Fruit ovoid-oblong, 2 to 4 mm long, 1 to 2 mm broad; calyx teeth 0.5 mm long or shorter, shorter than and attached well below the stylopodium; plants typically erect or assurgent ...


1. Fruit ovoid to orbicular, 2 to 3 mm long, to 2 mm broad; calyx teeth to 1.5 mm long, about as long as the stylopodium and attached just beneath it; plants typically low and diffuse ......


1.L. pinnatumAPIACEAE LIMNOSCIADIUM pinnatum (DC.) Math. & Const. Arkansas Dogshade. Plants usually erect or assurgent, slender, 1 to 8 dm tall; stems 1 to several from the base. Basal leaves linear-lanceolate, to 20 cm long and 2.5 cm broad, tapered to the base, entire and septate or pinnate, terminal division elongate, and longer than the laterals; petiole 1.5 to 10 cm long; stem leaves pinnate with 2 to 9 leaflets, leaflets linear to linear-lanceolate, 3 to 10 cm long, 1 to 6 mm broad, acute at both ends. Peduncles terminal and axillary, 1 to 8 cm long; involucral bracts several, linear-lanceolate, 2 to 6 mm long, reflexed; primary rays 3 to 12, 5 to 35 mm long, slender; involucel of several linear bractlets 1 to 5 mm long; pedicels 4 to 20 per umbellet, 2 to 8 mm long. Calyx teeth 0.5 mm long or less, attached well below and visibly separated from the base of the stylopodium as seen in fruit, usually not even extending to the base of the stylopodium and always shorter than it. Fruit oblong-oval, 2 to 4 mm long, 1 to 2 mm broad, dorsal ribs not prominent, lateral ribs slightly broader and corky. Wet places: ditches, margins of ponds and creeks, marshes, etc., often in sandy soil. Timber Belt and Coastal and Blackland Prairies; IA, SW. MO, and SE. KS to TX and LA. May-June. [Cynosciadium pinnatum DC.].

2.L. pumilumAPIACEAE LIMNOSCIADIUM pumilum (Engelm. & Gray) Math. & Const. Prairie Dogshade. Plants usually low and diffuse, branched near the base, 5 to 40 cm tall or long. Basal leaves lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, to 8 cm long and 8 mm broad, tapered to the base, apically acute, septate and entire or pinnate, terminal division elongate, longer than the laterals; petioles 2 to 7 cm long, cauline leaves entire or pinnately compound, leaflets 3 to 7, filiform to lanceolate, apically acute, basally tapered. Peduncles 0.5 to 7.5 cm long, or often some umbels sessile; involucre none or of a few minute bracts; primary rays 3 to 8, slender, 1 to 5 cm long; involucel of several linear-lanceolate bractlets 2 to 4 mm long; pedicels several per umbellet, 2 to 4 mm long. Calyx teeth to 1.5 mm long, attached shortly below and not visibly separated from the stylopodium as seen in fruit, usually as long as the stylopodium. Fruit ovoid to orbicular, 2 to 3 mm long, ca. 2 mm broad, dorsal ribs filiform, lateral ribs broader and corky. Wet places: shores, ponds, ditches, wet woods, on sandy or clay soils, sometimes in drier areas. Costal and S. Blackland Prairies and Gulf side of Rio Grande Plains; endemic. Apr.-June. [Cynosciadium pumilum (Engelm. & Gray) Coult. & Rose; C. pinnatum DC. var. pumilum Engelm. & Gray].

APIACEAE ZIZIA21. ZIZIA Koch Golden Alexanders, Zizia

Four species of N. Amer., primarily of the E. U.S. and Canada, but present W. to the Pacific NW; we have the 1 species found in TX.

1. Z. aurea (L.) W. D. J. Koch Golden Alexanders, Golden Meadow Parsnip. Perennial from a fascicle of fleshy or tuberous roots (or occasionally one long rootstock); stem erect, usually branched, 3 to 10 dm tall; herbage glabrous. Basal leaves with blades ovate to orbicular in outline, 6 to 10 cm long, to 12 cm broad, biternate or the middle leaflet pinnatifid, leaflets well-defined, ovate-lanceolate, 2 to 5 cm long, 1 to 3 cm broad, acute, margin sharply serrate; petioles 10 to 15 cm long, sheathing, expanded and somewhat hyaline-margined basally; stem leaves similar to the basal, ternate or irregularly compound, the leaflets more lanceolate and sometimes confluent; petioles sometimes reduced upwards. Inflorescences terminal and lateral compound umbels; peduncles 5 to 15 cm long; involucre none; primary rays 10 to 15, spreading-ascending, 1 to 3.5 cm long, unequal; involucel of a few inconspicuous bractlets, 1 to 3 mm long, shorter than or equalling the pedicels, linear, commonly with expanded bases whose white scarious or hyaline margins are ciliate or fimbriate; pedicels several to many, spreading, unequal, 2 to 3 mm long, the central flower of each umbellet sessile. Calyx teeth prominent but not large; petals yellow, apically narrowed and inflexed; stylopodium none, styles in flower equalling or longer than the ovary, slender, spreading, carpophore bifid to about the middle. Fruit oblong-ovoid, 2 to 4 mm long, 1.5 to 2 mm broad, flattened laterally, ribs filiform, oil tubes single in the intervals between the ribs and 2 on the commissure, seed face slightly concave. Mostly in sandy woods and in floodplains; also around ponds, shores, marshes, etc. E. 1/3 TX; ME and Que. W. to Sask., S. to FL and TX. (Mar.)Apr.-Aug.


Herbaceous perennials from stout, sometimes woody fusiform taproots. Stems erect, branched. Herbage puberulent. Leaves bipinnately or ternate-pinnately compound, leaflets crenate to incised or lobed, basally cuneate; petioles sheathing. Inflorescences terminal and axillary compound umbels, exceeding the leaves; involucre none; rays few to many, spreading-ascending, puberulent; involucel of several linear to filiform, entire, puberulent bractlets shorter than the pedicels; pedicels spreading-ascending. Calyx teeth ovate, acute to acuminate. Petals yellow, apically narrowed and inflexed. Stylopodium none; carpophore bifid to the base. Fruit oblong to obovate or orbicular, greatly flattened dorsiventrally (parallel to the commissure), glabrous, dorsal ribs obsolete to filiform, lateral ribs with broad, thin, corky wings, oil tubes indistinct or distinct, 1 to several in the intervals between ribs and 2 to several on the commissure, some also scattered within the pericarp, seed face flat.

2 species of S. Cen. and Cen. U.S.; both represented in our part of the state.

Stands of these plants in flower are quite impressive and possibly worthy of cultivation in the prairie garden or perennial border. The dry infructescences are interesting in arrangements.

NOTE: The two species are, according to monographers of the genus (Mathias and Constance 1951), essentially impossible to tell apart unless mature fruit (with mericarps separating) are present. For determining the proportions of fruit body and wings as mentioned in the key below, it is useful to make a cross-section with a sharp blade and examine it under strong magnification.

1. Lateral wings narrower and thicker than the body of the fruit; oil tubes indistinct, several in the intervals and on the commissure; fruit 5 to 11 mm long, 4 to 7 mm broad .......................


1. Lateral wings broader and thinner than the body of the fruit; oil tubes distinct, solitary in the intervals and 2 on the commissure; fruit 9 to 11 mm long, 6 to 7 mm broad ...2.P.texana

1.P. nuttalliiAPIACEAE POLYTAENIA nuttallii DC. Prairie Parsley. Stems 4 to 10 dm tall, sometimes spotted, puberulent, especially in the inflorescence. Leaves oblong to ovate in outline, to 18 cm long and 15 cm broad, bipinnate or ternate-pinnate, leaflets distinct or the terminal ones confluent, ovate to oblong, 2 to 4 cm long, 1 to 2.5 cm broad, sessile and rounded or cuneate basally, apically obtuse; petioles 4 to 13 cm long; upper cauline leaves ternate, leaflets like those below; petioles with conspicuously expanded, flattened sheaths. Peduncles 2 to 10 cm long; primary rays 10 to 20, 1 to 4(6) cm long, subequal to unequal; involucel bractlets 2 to 5 mm long, puberulent; pedicels 3 to 5 mm long. Fruit typically oblong to elliptic at full maturity (be careful--the wings often develop from the top down, making the fruit look obovate until full maturity), 5 to 11 mm long, 4 to 7 mm broad, dorsal ribs filiform but often obscure, lateral ribs with corky wings not as broad as the body of the fruit but thicker as seen in cross-section, oil tubes indistinct (visible but their edges not clear), several in the intervals between the dorsal ribs and several on the commissure. Usually in sandy soils of roadsides, railroad beds, etc. Timber Belt and Blackland Prairies; MI, WI, and NE, E. to KY, LA, MS, and W. to NM. Mar.-June; determinable material with fruit usually from June. [Pleiotaenia nuttallii (DC.) Coult. & Rose.].

2.P. texanaAPIACEAE POLYTAENIA texana (Coult. & Rose) Math. & Const. Texas Parsley. Stems 5 to 8 dm tall, sometimes spotted, puberulent (but perhaps not as conspicuously so as P. nuttallii). Leaves ovate-oblong in outline, 8 to 13 cm long, 8 to 10 cm wide, ternate-pinnate, leaflets distinct or confluent, broadly ovate to oblong, 2 to 4 cm long, 1 to 2.5 cm broad, sessile and cuneate basally, apically obtuse; petioles 8 to 10 cm long; upper cauline leaves ternate, divisions broadly cuneate; petioles sheathing. Peduncles 1 to 5(7) cm long; primary rays 10 to 15, subequal, 1 to 2.5 cm long; involucel bractlets 2 to 5 mm long; pedicels 2 to 6 mm long. Fruit typically broadly obovate at full maturity, 9 to 11 mm long, 6 to 7 mm broad, dorsal ribs filiform and usually distinct, lateral ribs with broad corky wings broader than the body but thinner as seen in cross section, oil tubes distinct, solitary in the intervals of the dorsal ribs and 2 on the commissure (often quite distinct against the paler commissural face). Said to be abundant in the Coastal and Blackland Prairie and Ed. Plat.; probable elsewhere as well, as much Texas material has been pigeon-holed under P. nuttallii in the absence of mature fruit; reported also from OK. May-July, the most confidently-identifiable material from Jun. onwards. [Polytaenia nuttallii DC. var. texana Coult. & Rose; Pleiotaenia nuttallii (DC.) Coult. & Rose var. texana Coult. & Rose; Phanerotaenia texana St. John.].

APIACEAE AMMI23. AMMI L. Bishop's-weed, Ammi

Taprooted annual, biennial, or perennial herb. Stem slender, erect, often branched. Leaves pinnately or ternate-pinnately compound or decompound, ultimate divisions filiform to lanceolate or lance-ovate; petioles sheathing. Inflorescences lateral and terminal compound (rarely simple) umbels, pedunculate or some sessile; involucral bracts many, entire or divided; rays many, spreading-ascending; involucel of many entire bractlets; pedicels spreading. Calyx teeth minute. Petals white, apically narrowed and inflexed. Stylopodium depressed-conic, styles slender, more than twice as long as the stylopodium; carpophore entire or completely divided. Fruit oblong to ovoid, laterally compressed, glabrous, ribs acute, oil tubes single in the intervals and 2 on the commissure, seed face flat.

6 species, primarily of the Mediterranean; also W. Asia and Macronesia; 2 species introduced in TX; 1 here (the other as yet known only from the Trans Pecos).

1. A. majus L. Bishop's-weed, Greater Ammi. Annual; stems usually branched, 2 to 8 dm tall. Basal leaves oblong in outline, 6 to 20 cm long, 5 to 14 cm broad, ternate or once pinnate, leaflets distinct, lanceolate to lance-ovate or oblanceolate, apically obtuse to acute, basally cuneate and somewhat recurved on the rachis, to ca. 4 cm long, 5 to 20 mm broad, margin setulose and serrate, teeth small and even; petioles 3 to 13 cm long, cauline leaves bipinnate, ultimate divisions linear to lanceolate, uppermost leaves much smaller than the lower and with narrower divisions, serrate to slightly laciniate. Inflorescence scabrous; peduncles 8 to 14 cm long; involucral bracts usually longer than the rays, commonly divided, with ultimate divisions linear to filiform; rays to as many as 50 or 60, very slender, 2 to 7 cm long, spreading to ascending in flower, spreading in fruit; involucel bractlets several to many, linear-acuminate, scarious-margined, spreading to reflexed at maturity and slightly longer than the pedicels; pedicels many, unequal, 1 to 10 mm long, spreading-ascending, filiform. Carpophore wholly divided. Fruit oblong, 1.5 to 2 mm long, 1 mm broad or less. Sporadically introduced from Asia in the S. 1/2 TX; widely introduced in the W. Hemis. Mar.-June.

Sometimes cultivated as a cut flower (Mabberley 1987), the seed commonly available.


Perennial from a cluster of fleshy-tuberous or thick fibrous roots, these sometimes hollow-chambered. Stem stout to slender, erect, sometimes the base enlarged and with hollow chambers, sometimes purple-spotted. Leaves 1 to 3 times pinnately compound or ternate-pinnate, leaflet margins serrate and/or incised; petioles sheathing. Inflorescences terminal and lateral compound umbels held above the leaves; involucre inconspicuous, of slender bracts or absent; rays many, slender, spreading-ascending; involucel of several narrow bractlets or none; pedicels spreading, slender. Calyx teeth evident. Petals white or greenish, ovate, apices narrowed and inflexed. Styles short, spreading, stylopodium low-conic or depressed; carpophore completely bifid. Fruit ovoid to orbicular or ellipsoid, laterally compressed, constricted at the commissure or not so, ribs obvious, obtuse and somewhat corky, oil tubes single in the intervals and 2 on the commissure, seed face flat to slightly concave, in one species (not ours) mature fruit rarely seen and plants reproducing by axillary bulbils.

About 7 species of the N. temperate region; 1 in TX and present here. A useful reference is Mulligan (1980).

All parts of these plants, especially the roots, are deadly poisonous to humans and livestock. The toxin, cicutoxin, is a 17-carbon alcohol. Symptoms of ingestion range from nausea to convulsions and death; even non-fatal poisonings can result in post-event chronic effects such as mental deficit (Lampe 1985).

1. C. maculata L. Water-hemlock, Beaver-poison, Musquash Root or M. Poison, Spotted Cowbane. Perennial or biennial, plants stout, from a base of chambered, tuberous or fleshy-tuberous roots, the toxin concentrated in an oily, parsnip-scented, yellow sap contained therein and which turns reddish and then brownish on exposure to air; stems hollow, usually with partitions or chambers below, 0.5 to 2 m tall, glabrous, often glaucous, sometimes purple-spotted below. Leaves 2 to 3 times pinnately compound or ternate-pinnate, to ca. 35 cm long, leaflets varying in shape from narrowly lanceolate to lance-oblong, 2 to 12 cm long, 5 to 40 mm broad, with a few remote teeth to sharply and regularly serrate or incised, enclosures of reticulate veins of lower leaflet surface rounded or squarish (rather than oblong as in other species); petioles of larger leaves 10 to 30 cm long. Peduncles 2 to 10 cm long; involucre of 1 to several slender bracts or sometimes none; rays unequal to subequal, 1.5 to 6(8) cm long; involucel bractlets several, linear to lanceolate, acute to acuminate, scarious-margined, entire to denticulate, 2 to 5 mm long, shorter than to equalling the flowers; pedicels 3 to 15 mm long. Fruit oval to orbicular, 2 to 4.5 mm long, seed face plane to concave. Wet places--swamps, marshes, etc. E., N., and Cen. TX; the species as a whole from AK to SE Mex.

According to Mulligan (1980), four varieties distinguishable mostly on the basis of mature fruit--which are seldom present in herbarium sheets. Two of these varieties are found in TX and are possible here.

var. maculata Leaflets of main stem leaves usually less than 5 times longer than wide; styles longer than 1 mm; mature fruits obviously longer than wide, not constricted at the commissure, dorsal ribs more or less equal in surface display, as wide as or wider than the intervening oil tubes, seed not very oily, not or only slightly grooved under the oil tubes E., Cen., and N. TX; Que. and E. 1/2 U.S., scattered elsewhere. [C. curtissii Coult. & Rose; C. maculata L. var. curtissii (Coult. & Rose) Fernald; C. mexicana Coult. & Rose is considered a synonym, though the description of the fruits of the plants listed as C. mexicana by Correll and Johnston (1970) can be considered to apply to var. bolanderi (below.) May-Sept.

var. bolanderi (S. Wats.) G. A. Mulligan Leaflets of main stem leaves usually less than 5 times longer than wide; styles longer than 1 mm; fruit slightly longer than wide, unevenly and abruptly constricted at the commissure, dorsal corky ribs much smaller than the oil tubes, lateral corky ribs larger than the dorsals and about half the size of the oil tubes, seed very oily, deeply grooved beneath the tubes. E. 2/3 TX, from the Panhandle to the Coastal Plain; NC, IN, MN, and NE, S. to GA, TX, CA, and Mex. Fruits of plants described by Correll and Johnston (1970) under C. mexicana match the description for this variety, though C. mexicana is a synonym for var. maculata (above). [C. bolanderi S. Wats.].

A third variety, var. angustifolia Hook. occurs in the Panhandle of TX. Its cauline leaf leaflets are more than 5 times longer than wide; styles usually less than 1 mm long; fruits not constricted at the commissure. Apparent intergrades between this variety and var. maculata occur in portions of their ranges--more study may be needed.