16. Polygonum plebejum R. Br., Prodr. 420. 1810; Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 5: 27. 1886; Danser in Bull. Jard. Bot. Buit. ser. 3 (8): 140. 1927; Steward in Contr. Gray Herb. 88: 24. 1930; Hara, Fl. East. Himal. 75. 1966; in Hara et al., Enum. Fl. Pl. Nepal 3: 187. 1982 p.p., R.R.Stewart, l.c. 208; Grierson & D.G. Long, Fl. Bhutan 1:170. 1983; Boulos, Fl. Egypt 1: 28. 1999.
Polygonum herniarioides Spreng. Syst. Veg. 2: 256. 1825.
Prostrate, densely branched, annual herb. Stem lineolate, branched from base, branches numerous. Leaves 1.0-3.0 x 0.1-0.4 cm, linear, elliptic, entire, sessile, veins obscure. Ochrea 1-2 mm long, membranous, ovate, tubular, lacerate - fimbriate. Inflorescence axillary, 3-4-flowered. Flowers sunken between ochrea or hardly exserted, 1-2 mm across, sessile to subsessile. Ochreolae small, lacerate - fimbriate. Tepals 5, 1.5-3 x 0.5-1.0 mm, oblanceolate - lanceolate, unequal, outer tepals slightly longer and acute, inner too obtuse. Stamens 5, filaments long with broaden base, equal. Ovary small, trigonous with three styles and capitate stigmas. Nuts 1.0-1.75 mm long, circular to ovate, shining, black, glabrous.
Type: Described from Australia.
A widely distributed, pluri-regional element, grows from plains to 1800 m; highly variable, particularly in leaf size, shape of ochrea, ochrea, sessile or pedicellate flowers, equal or unequal petals. Sometimes number of infraspecific categories are recognized on the basis of these characters but one form integrades with the other so imperceptibly that it is almost impossible to draw a line. It is also closely related to P. effusum. For further detail see discussion under P. effusum; Distribution: Afghanistan(?), Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Tropical East Africa, Madagascar Bhutan extending to Australia through Indonesia and Malaysia.