7. Lecanthus Weddell, Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot., sér. 4. 1: 187. 1854.
假楼梯草属 jia lou ti cao shu
Chen Jiarui (陈家瑞 Chen Chia-jui); Ib Friis, C. Melanie Wilmot-Dear
Herbs annual or perennial, without stinging hairs. Stems succulent. Leaves opposite, petiolate; stipules deciduous, intrapetiolar, connate, membranous; leaf blade 3-veined, usually symmetric, margin serrate-dentate; cystoliths linear. Inflorescences solitary, axillary, often pedunculate, seated on a receptacle; receptacles at first broadly subcampanulate, soon expanded, of unisexual flowers (plants monoecious or dioecious); male and female inflorescences often separate or sometimes mixed in same receptacle, rarely male ones capitate or cymose without receptacle; involucral bracts in 1 or 2 whorled rows along margin of receptacle. Male flowers often obconic in bud; perianth lobes 4 or 5, slightly unequal, imbricate; stamens 4 or 5; filaments inflexed in bud; rudimentary ovary minute, inconspicuous. Female flowers: perianth lobes (3 or)4(or 5), often unequal, often corniculate below apex; staminodes small, scale-like, inflexed. Ovary straight; style absent; stigma penicillate, deciduous; ovule orthotropous. Achene straight, with crested or U-shaped appendix at apex or along dorsiventral edges, usually verrucose, invested by shorter persistent perianth. Seeds with little endosperm; cotyledons thick, elliptic.
Three species: tropics and subtropics of E Africa and E Asia; three species (one endemic) in China.
Gagnepain described the genus Meniscogyne on the basis of U-shaped stigmas. In fact, the stigmas are penicillate, very soon deciduous, and have an enlarged, crested or U-shaped appendix at the apex. These characters are typical for the genus Lecanthus. Thus, Meniscogyne was treated as a synonym of Lecanthus in FRPS 23(2) in 1995.