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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 90. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/11/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/30/2009)


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2. Lechea L. (pinweed)

(Wilbur and Daoud, 1961)

Plants producing spreading, densely leafy, overwintering offshoots toward the end of the growing season, these usually shorter than the flowering stems. Flowering stems ascending to erect, pubescent with simple hairs (stellate hairs absent) or nearly glabrous. Leaves alternate or sometimes partially opposite or whorled (especially on the overwintering offshoots), variously shaped, usually with only a midvein. Inflorescences dense, terminal panicles with leaflike bracts along the branches, sometimes appearing as axillary racemes with clusters of flowers. Flowers all appearing similar in size and morphology, but frequently not appearing to open. Sepals not becoming enlarged as the fruit matures. Outer 2 sepals shorter than to longer than the inner ones, linear to narrowly oblong-elliptic, sharply pointed at the tip. Inner 3 sepals ovate to obovate, often strongly cupping the fruit, rounded to bluntly pointed at the tip, usually with broad, thin, white margins. Petals 3, 0.7–1.2 mm long, shorter than the sepals, withering but persistent at fruiting, oblong-oblanceolate, rounded at the tip, dark red. Stamens (3–)5 to numerous. Style absent, the stigmas 3, plumose with dense, feathery hairs, dark red. Ovules 6 (2 per carpel). Fruits circular in cross-section, glabrous. Seeds 1–6, variable in shape (dependent on number in fruit), globose or ovoid to strongly 3-angled, the surface light brown to dark brown, the outer coat hard and not membranous, usually somewhat shiny. Seventeen to 20 species, North America, Central America, Caribbean Islands.

The flowers of Lechea are seldom observed fully opened, and then apparently only during morning hours in bright sunlight. Because of this, self-pollination has been hypothesized as the predominant reproductive mode. This is supported by the fact that most of the flowers appear to mature into fruits, but Hodgdon (1938) and Wilbur and Daoud (1961) observed apparent interspecific hybrids between various species (none has been recorded thus far from Missouri), so cross-pollination must occur to some extent. The feathery stigmas suggest that wind-pollination may occur in the group.


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1 1. Stems moderately to densely pubescent with conspicuous spreading hairs; leaves of the overwintering offshoots ovate-elliptic, the largest ones 8–15 mm long ... 1. L. MUCRONATA

Lechea mucronata
2 1. Stems glabrous or sparsely to moderately pubescent with inconspicuous, appressed or ascending hairs; leaves of the overwintering offshoots linear to oblong-elliptic, the largest ones 4–6 mm long

3 2. Leaves of the overwintering offshoots lanceolate-elliptic to oblong-elliptic; leaves of the flowering stems narrowly lanceolate to oblanceolate; outer sepals noticeably shorter than the inner ones; fruits narrowly ovoid to narrowly obovoid-ellipsoid, slightly longer than the persistent sepals ... 2. L. RACEMULOSA

Lechea racemulosa
4 2. Leaves of the overwintering offshoots linear; leaves of the flowering stems linear; outer sepals somewhat longer than the inner ones; fruits broadly ovoid to globose, slightly shorter than the persistent sepals ... 3. L. TENUIFOLIA Lechea tenuifolia
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