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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 11 | Polygalaceae

3. Polygala Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 701. 1753.

远志属 yuan zhi shu

Polygala arillata

Credit: Harvard University Herbaria

Annual or perennial herbs, or shrubs or small trees, rarely small, woody climbers. Leaves simple, alternate, rarely opposite or whorled, petiolate; leaf blade papery or subleathery, margin entire, glabrous or pilose. Racemes terminal, axillary, or extra-axillary. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic; bracts 1-3, persistent or caducous; bracteoles present. Sepals 5, unequal, persistent or caducous, in 2 ranks; outer 3 small; inner 2 petaloid, large. Petals 3, connate in lower 1/2, white, yellow, or purple-red, keel boat-shaped, cucullate, or helmet-shaped enclosing stamens and style, apex with often highly divided appendage. Stamens 8; filaments united at least at base, forming trough-shaped sheath ("staminal sheath"), open on upper side, adnate with petals, variously united or free above; anthers basifixed, with or without stalk, 1- or 2-celled, dehiscent from terminal pore or slit. Disk present or absent. Ovary 2-loculed, compressed; ovule 1 per locule, anatropous, pendulous; style 1, erect or curved; stigmas 1 or 2. Fruit capsular, compressed, often winged. Seeds 2, usually black, ovoid, rounded or shortly cuneate, pubescent or glabrous, strophiolate at hiliferous end, strophiole cap-shaped, cucullate, margin entire or variously lobed, other end sometimes with appendage.

About 500 species: widespread worldwide; 44 species (21 endemic) in China.

1 Sepals persistent after flowering; keel with apical appendage highly filiform-fimbriate   (2)
+ Sepals caducous after flowering, rarely one outer sepal persistent; keel with apical appendage flabelliform and lobed or laciniate (flowers unknown in P. oligosperma)   (20)
2 (1) Filaments united, forming an open staminal sheath split in upper 1/2-2/3, with 2 separate single filaments in middle, and on either side of these, a united group of 3 filaments each carrying 3 sessile anthers at tip   (3)
+ Filaments united throughout their length forming an open staminal sheath, or united in lower 1/3-2/3 forming an open staminal sheath with upper 1/3-2/3 free or grouped into 2 lobes   (5)
3 (2) Annual herbs, usually shorter than 15 cm tall; racemes axillary or extra-axillary, shorter than leaves; flowers white, rarely purple-red, lateral petals deltoid-rhombic, margin sometimes undulate; capsule ca. 2 mm in diam., minutely winged.   30 P. polifolia
+ Perennial herbs, erect, more than 15 cm tall; racemes terminal or pseudoterminal, rarely axillary, longer than leaves; flowers purple-red, lateral petals oblong or elliptic, margin not undulate; capsule ca. 4 mm in diam., obviously winged   (4)
4 (3) Petals 2; stamens 6-8; capsule margin ciliate; strophiole 3-lobed; leaf blade 3-4 mm wide.   31 P. monopetala
+ Petals 3; stamens 8; capsule margin not ciliate; strophiole 2-lobed; leaf blade 0.5-1(-3) mm wide.   32 P. tenuifolia
5 (2) Filaments united for entire length, forming an open staminal sheath   (6)
+ Filaments united in lower 1/2-2/3, forming an open staminal sheath, upper 1/3-1/2 free   (9)
6 (5) Racemes terminal; lateral petals much longer than carina; style apex penicillate; capsule oblong; seeds densely sericeous.   26 P. hybrida
+ Racemes axillary, extra-axillary, or opposite to leaf; lateral petals equaling or shorter than carina; style apex not penicillate; capsule orbicular or obcordate; seeds pubescent   (7)
7 (6) Leaf blade subleathery or thickly papery, lateral veins 3-5 pairs, raised on both surfaces; racemes opposite to leaves; capsule orbicular, emarginate, ca. 6 mm in diam., broadly winged, not ciliate.   29 P. japonica
+ Leaf blade papery, lateral veins obscure on both surfaces; racemes extra-axillary; capsule obcordate or suborbicular, ca. 4 mm in diam., narrowly winged and ciliate   (8)
8 (7) Leaf blade lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, both surfaces green.   27 P. lhunzeensis
+ Leaf blade broadly ovate to orbicular, abaxially purple-red, adaxially dark green.   28 P. wenxianensis
9 (5) Plants densely hairy with at least some long spreading hairs   (10)
+ Plants hairy, hairs curved pubescent, not long, or plant glabrescent   (11)
10 (9) Perennial herbs; leaves alternate, elliptic or obovate-elliptic, apex obtuse or retuse; racemes 1.2-2 cm; petals free, apical appendages not stalked.   33 P. crotalarioides
+ Annual herbs; leaves subopposite, broadly ovate to oblong-elliptic, apex obtuse, mucronate; racemes 0.5-1 cm; petals basally connate, apical appendages stalked.   34 P. subopposita
11 (9) Apex of style extended, obliquely cup-shaped or horseshoe-shaped, stigma 1   (12)
+ Apex of style not cup-shaped or horseshoe-shaped, stigmas 2   (14)
12 (11) Style obliquely cup-shaped, with a terminal tuft of hairs at apex; stem indumentum glandular; leaves in upper branches alternate, lower ones subopposite or pseudowhorled.   35 P. paniculata
+ Style horseshoe-shaped, not hairy; stem indumentum not glandular; leaves alternate   (13)
13 (12) Slender herbs, prostrate; leaf blade membranous, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 10-20 × 2.5-3 mm, both surfaces glabrous; flowers 3.5-4.5 mm; capsule obovoid-ellipsoidal, ca. 2.5 mm in diam..   36 P. triflora
+ More robust herbs, erect; leaf blade papery, obovate or elliptic to lanceolate, 2.6-10 × 1-1.5 cm, sparsely pubescent; flowers ca. 4.5 mm; capsule orbicular, ca. 2 mm in diam..   37 P. chinensis
14 (11) Annual herbs   (15)
+ Perennial herbs   (16)
15 (14) Stems slender, narrowly winged or ridged; lower leaves ovate, dense, upper leaves lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, sparse, less than 0.5 cm wide; racemes terminal.   38 P. longifolia
+ Stems relatively stout, terete; leaves lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, evenly alternate, more than 0.5 cm wide; racemes in forks of branches.   39 P. persicariifolia
16 (14) Leaf blade shiny, lateral veins conspicuous, raised on both surfaces   (17)
+ Leaf blade not shiny, lateral veins inconspicuous   (18)
17 (16) Stems caespitose, branched or not; leaf blade linear-lanceolate or elliptic-lanceolate, 3-5 mm wide [in Nepal, leaves to 8 mm wide]; racemes terminal or axillary; bracts linear, persistent at flowering; inner sepals ovate-oblong to elliptic-oblong.   43 P. elegans
+ Stems simple or multibranched; leaf blade lanceolate or elliptic-lanceolate to ovate, 5-10 mm wide; racemes opposite to leaves or axillary; bracts ovate-lanceolate, caducous; inner sepals obovate-oblong.   44 P. bomiensis
18 (16) Stems, branchlets, and inflorescences erect-pubescent; apex of inner sepals acute; capsule narrowly winged.   42 P. sibirica
+ Stems, branchlets, and inflorescences crisped pubescent; apex of inner sepals mucronate to acuminate; capsule broadly winged   (19)
19 (18) Racemes terminal, 3-6 cm, 7-18-flowered; flowers 7-9 mm; inner sepals obliquely ovate, apex rounded.   40 P. hongkongensis
+ Racemes opposite to leaves, 1.5-2 cm, 3-8-flowered; flowers ca. 6 mm; inner sepals obovate, apex acuminate, falcate.   41 P. lijiangensis
20 (1) Racemes terminal, pseudoterminal, or opposite to leaf, sometimes a panicle; apical appendage laciniate; unwinged part of capsule usually with obvious concentric ribs; seeds globose, strophiole hooded or helmet-shaped   (21)
+ Racemes axillary or terminal, appendage lamellate; unwinged part of capsule without obvious concentric ribs; seeds ovoid or hirsute-villous, not strophiolate, or pubescent and strophiolate   (27)
21 (20) Scandent shrubs; flowers in terminal panicles.   1 P. tricholopha
+ Erect shrubs; flowers in terminal, pseudoterminal, or leaf-opposed racemes   (22)
22 (21) Both surfaces of leaf blade glabrous; capsule with 1 maturing seed.   2 P. oligosperma
+ Both surfaces of leaf blade pubescent, at least on veins; capsule with 2 seeds   (23)
23 (22) Branchlets, petioles, and inflorescence axes glabrous or sparsely pubescent   (24)
+ Branchlets, petioles, and inflorescence axes densely pubescent   (25)
24 (23) Leaf blade elliptic, (5-)10-16 × 4.5-6.5 cm, lateral veins 7 or 8 pairs and reticulate veins slightly raised on both surfaces; racemes axillary; capsule reniform, depressed at both ends.   6 P. didyma
+ Leaf blade obovate to elliptic, (10-)15-19 × 5.5-7 cm, lateral veins 6 or 7 pairs, raised only abaxially, reticulate veins flat; racemes terminal or opposite to leaves; capsule reniform-orbicular, base rounded, depressed only at apex.   7 P. globulifera
25 (23) Racemes leaf-opposed; inner sepals oblong to ovate, at right angle to petals, apical appendage stalkless; capsule winged.   3 P. arillata
+ Racemes terminal; inner sepals obliquely ovate, not at right angle to petals, apical appendage stalked; capsule not winged   (26)
26 (25) Leaf blade lanceolate to elliptic-lanceolate, smaller than 20 × 7 cm; lateral petals oblong, apex nearly truncate, inside glabrous at base; capsule obcordate to orbicular, 1-1.4 cm in diam..   4 P. fallax
+ Leaf blade ovate, larger than 25 × 8 cm; lateral petals broadly elliptic, apex rounded, inside barbate at base; capsule broadly ovoid, ca. 1 cm in diam..   5 P. barbellata
27 (20) Annual herbs (rarely small shrubs), with corymbose branches from middle of stems; one outer sepal persistent after flowering (P. tatarinowii with completely caducous outer sepals)   (28)
+ Shrubs or subshrubs; usually all outer sepals caducous after flowering   (34)
28 (27) Flowers red or purple-red, keel without conspicuous apical appendage; capsule pubescent; seeds strophiolate, without appendage or tubercle.   19 P. tatarinowii
+ Flowers yellow, keel with apical appendage; capsule glabrous; seeds normally with strophiole, appendage, and tubercle   (29)
29 (28) Racemes 7-14 cm at fruiting; seeds glabrous   (30)
+ Racemes shorter than 5 cm at fruiting; seeds pubescent   (32)
30 (29) Plant branching from upper part of stem, corymbose, branchlets thin; leaf blade ovate-deltoid or ovate; capsule broadly obcordate, ca. 2 mm across; seeds ovoid, tuberculate or punctate, without wings.   25 P. isocarpa
+ Plant branching from lower part of stem, branchlets stout; leaf blade ovate; capsule subglobose or subsquare, apex retuse, winged; seeds with appendage   (31)
31 (30) Stem not fleshy; capsule globose or subsquare, ca. 3 mm across; seeds ellipsoidal, exotesta tuberculate, with a black, shiny appendage.   23 P. lacei
+ Stem fleshy; capsule subglobose, ca. 4 mm across; seeds oblong, smooth, not tuberculate, with a small, white appendage.   24 P. carnosicaulis
32 (29) Small shrubs; keel with boat-shaped apical appendage.   20 P. bawanglingensis
+ Annual herbs; keel with bow-shaped or fan-shaped apical appendage   (33)
33 (32) Bracts subulate; inner sepals elliptic, 3-3.5 mm; seeds ellipsoid, tuberculate, with obvious, black, shiny, oblong appendage.   21 P. umbonata
+ Bracts ovate; inner sepals obovate, ca. 2.5 mm; seeds ovoid, smooth, not tuberculate, without obvious appendage.   22 P. furcata
34 (27) Apical appendage of keel peltate or saccate-cucullate; seeds densely hirsute-villous, strophiole absent   (35)
+ Apical appendage of keel shallowly lobed; seeds pubescent, with winged strophiole   (37)
35 (34) Capsule yellowish with raised resiniferous punctate glands; leaves evenly arranged on branchlets.   8 P. resinosa
+ Capsule neither yellowish nor with resiniferous punctate glands; leaves usually concentrated at apices of branchlets   (36)
36 (35) Flowers 5(-8) mm; apical appendage of keel peltate; capsule oblong-obovate, ca. 8 mm, ca. 4 mm in diam..   9 P. caudata
+ Flowers 12-20 mm; apical appendage of keel 2-cucullate; capsule obovate or cuneate, 10-14 mm, ca. 6 mm in diam..   10 P. wattersii
37 (34) Shrubs; leaf blade linear-lanceolate or elliptic-lanceolate; flowers 2-2.5 cm.   11 P. karensium
+ Erect herbs or subshrubs; leaf blade elliptic, obovate, or variously lanceolate; flowers less than 1.5 cm   (38)
38 (37) Petals white or yellow; outer sepals differing in size; middle outer sepal pocketlike or cucullate   (39)
+ Petals pink or purple-red; outer sepals nearly equal, ovate or elliptic, or middle one small and boat-shaped   (40)
39 (38) Petals white or greenish white; flowers at least 15 mm, middle outer sepal and apical appendage of keel cucullate; stems with dense, raised leaf scars and lenticels; leaf blade slightly fleshy, elliptic-obovate to spatulate, 5-6 mm wide, apex obtuse.   12 P. dunniana
+ Petals yellow; flowers ca. 7 mm; middle outer sepal and apical appendage of keel pocketlike; stems without leaf scars and lenticels; leaf blade membranous, elliptic-lanceolate, ca. 3 cm wide, apex acuminate.   13 P. arcuata
40 (38) Outer sepals unequal, middle one small and boat-shaped   (41)
+ Outer sepals nearly equal, ovate or elliptic   (42)
41 (40) Keel 2-lamellate; boat-shaped outer sepal not winged on midvein; capsule suborbicular, ca. 4.5 mm in diam.; leaf blade lanceolate or elliptic, 3-12 × 1-3.5 cm.   17 P. hainanensis
+ Keel 4-lamellate; boat-shaped outer sepal narrowly winged on midvein; capsule orbicular to subsquare, ca. 5 mm in diam.; leaf blade obovate or narrowly elliptic, 4.5-9 × 2.5-4.5 cm.   18 P. saxicola
42 (40) Flowers ca. 4 mm, keel with papillate apical appendage; inner sepals obovate to orbicular.   14 P. wuzhishanensis
+ Flowers 6-9 mm, keel with lamellate apical appendage; inner sepals elliptic or elliptic-ovate   (43)
43 (42) Keel lamellate, with 3-lobed apical appendage; petals connate in lower 3/4; leaf blade ovate-, obovate-, or elliptic-lanceolate, 3.5-8 × 1.5-2.5 cm, abaxially dark purple, base oblique.   15 P. latouchei
+ Keel 2-lamellate, with 2-lobed apical appendage; petals connate in lower 1/2; leaf blade elliptic, 1.5-4 × 0.6-1.5 cm, abaxially greenish and purplish, base rounded, not oblique.   16 P. koi

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