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Ecballium A. Rich.


Description from Flora of China

Elaterium Miller.

Herbs, creeping. Roots perennial. Stem and branches setose. Tendrils absent. Leaf blade cordate. Plants monoecious or dioecious. Male inflorescence a raceme; calyx tube shortly campanulate; segments 5, linear-lanceolate; corolla yellow, broadly campanulate or almost rotate; segments ovate-oblong, apex acute; stamens 3, linear; filaments short, free; anthers: one 1-celled, two 2-celled; anther cells reflexed; connective broad, not produced; pistillode absent. Female flowers solitary; calyx and corolla as in male flowers; staminodes 3, ligulate; ovary oblong, hispid; ovules numerous, horizontal; style short; stigmas 3, 2-lobed. Fruit oblong, hispid, scabrous, watery inside, when mature separating from peduncle and contracting at base, dispersing seeds by elastic contraction (squirting seeds). Seeds numerous, brown or nearly black, oblong, compressed, narrowly marginate.

One species: Mediterranean region to SW Asia (east to Iran); introduced elsewhere, including China.

(Authors: Lu Anmin (路安民 Lu An-ming); Charles Jeffrey)


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