All Floras      Advanced Search
FNA Vol. 10 Login | eFloras Home | Help
FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 10 | Haloragaceae

3. PROSERPINACA Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 88. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 38. 1754.

Mermaid-weed, proserpinie [Ancient name used by Pliny for a Polygonum taxon; derivation uncertain; probably for Proserpina, Roman goddess of spring, or Latin proserpo, creep, alluding to habit]

Mitchell S. Alix
Robin W. Scribailo

Herbs, monoecious, aquatic or semiaquatic [terrestrial]; with taproot or fibrous and, often, adventitious nodal roots. Rhizomes present. Stems creeping to erect [decumbent to ascending], terete, unbranched proximally, often branched distally, glabrous or ± punctate, often with scattered, black, ascidiate trichomes. Turions absent. Leaves submersed or emersed, alternate, homomorphic, dimorphic, or heteromorphic; sessile or petiolate; blade entire or lobed to pinnatifid or pectinate, margins entire or serrate; with trichomes in axils of leaves and scattered on surfaces. Inflorescences usually racemes or cymes, rarely dichasia, in axils of unreduced, emersed leaves; bracteoles paired, alternate, opposite subtending emersed leaf, secondary and tertiary bracteoles sometimes present; flowers bisexual. Flowers 3(or 4)-merous; petals caducous, rudimentary, sometimes absent; stamens 3, in 1 antisepalous whorl; ovary 3(or 4)-locular. Fruit a nutlet, tan to brown, ovoid, obturbinate, or pyramidal, transversely 3-angled, with acute angles or shallowly 3-lobed, faces concave, flat, or curvilinear, without ridges, surfaces smooth, rugose, papillate, or tuberculate. x = 7.

Species ca. 2 (2 in the flora): North America, Mexico, West Indies, Bermuda, Central America, South America.

SELECTED REFERENCES Catling, P. M. 1998. A synopsis of the genus Proserpinaca in the southeastern United States. Castanea 63: 404–414. Fassett, N. C. 1953c. Proserpinaca. Comun. Inst. Trop. Invest. Ci. Univ. El Salvador 2: 139–162.

1 Leaves homomorphic, pectinate, elliptic to ovate in outline   1 Proserpinaca pectinata
+ Leaves dimorphic to heteromorphic, submersed leaves pectinate, ovate, elliptic, obovate, or trullate in outline, emersed leaves pinnatifid to shallowly lobed to minutely serrate, lanceolate, narrowly elliptic, oblanceolate, spatulate, or obovate in outline   2 Proserpinaca palustris

Lower Taxa


 |  eFlora Home |  People Search  |  Help  |  ActKey  |  Hu Cards  |  Glossary  |