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Key to families | Table of families and genera

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Mihai Costea, except as noted

Annual to subshrub; monoecious and/or dioecious; occasionally spiny; hairs simple (branched). Leaf: blade simple, alternate or opposite, margins entire or serrate; veins pinnate; stipules 0. Inflorescence: axillary or terminal; 3-flowered cymes in dense spikes, heads or panicles; bracts 0 or 1–5, persistent; bractlets 0–2. Flower: bisexual or unisexual, small, green (± white), yellow or purple; perianth parts 0 or (1)3–5, free or fused basally, scarious or hardened, persistent; stamens 1–5, opposite perianth parts, free or basally fused as a tube, generally unequal, occasionally alternate with appendages on stamen tubes (pseudostaminodes), anthers 2- or 4-chambered; ovary superior, chamber 1; ovule 1 (2–many); style (0)1–3, stigmas 1–3(5). Fruit: utricle; generally with persistent perianth or bracts. Seed: 1 [2+], small, lenticular to spheric, smooth or dotted to striate or tubercled.
± 75 genera, 900 species: cosmopolitan, especially disturbed, arid, saline or alkaline soils; some cultivated for food, ornamental; many naturalized, ruderal or agricultural weeds. [Müller & Borsch 2005 Ann Missouri Bot Gard 92:66–102] Amaranthaceae including Chenopodiaceae by some. Polycnemoideae, represented in California by Nitrophila, formerly considered subfamily of Chenopodiaceae, but needs further research. Guilleminea densa (Willd.) Moq. var. aggregata Uline & W.L. Bray is a waif. Froelichia gracilis (Hook.) Moq. is an historical waif. —Scientific Editors: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Unabridged references: [Kadereit et al. 2003 Int J Plant Sci 164:959–986; Robertson 1981 J Arnold Arbor 62:267–313]

Key to Amaranthaceae

[Annual] perennial herb, aquatic to terrestrial. Stem: prostrate or ascending; hairs simple. Leaf: opposite, subsessile to short-petioled, blade margins entire to serrate. Inflorescence: axillary or axillary and terminal, sessile or peduncled, many-flowered cylindric spikes or spheric heads; bracts and bractlets persistent, scarious. Flower: bisexual; perianth parts 5, free, ± equal or not, scarious, persistent, white, glabrous or woolly; stamens 3–5, fused at base into short tube or cup, anthers 2-chambered; pseudostaminodes 5, alternate with stamens; ovary obovoid to ± spheric; style short, ± 0.2 mm; stigma spheric (2-lobed), ovule 1, pendent. Fruit: indehiscent; fruit wall membranous. Seed: 1, lenticular or ovoid-oblong, ± red brown, smooth, shiny.
± 170 species: generally tropical America. (Latin: alternating pseudostaminodes and stamens) Alternanthera sessilis (L.) DC. occasionally a greenhouse weed <Noxious weed>; Alternanthera ficoidea (L.) P. Beauv. var. bettzickiana (Regel) Backer widely cultivated, California reports unconfirmed.

Key to Alternanthera

A. caracasana Kunth
Terrestrial. Stem: prostrate, mat-forming, 10–50 cm, woolly, ± glabrous in age. Leaf: petiole 2–10 mm; blade 5–25 mm, 3–15 mm wide, rhombic-ovate to obovate, tip rounded, short-pointed, sparsely woolly, ± glabrous in age. Inflorescence: 5–8 mm, 4–6 mm wide, ovoid, white to straw-colored; bracts 3–3.5 mm, ovate to lanceolate, keeled, midrib hairy, acuminate to awned. Flower: perianth parts unequal, spine-tipped, outer 3.5–5 mm, ± lanceolate, not keeled, 3-veined abaxially, inner 2.5 mm, ± linear, keeled, generally 1-veined; stamens 5, filaments 0.2–0.4 mm, pseudostaminodes < stamens, triangular or awl-like, entire to dentate. Fruit: ± 1.5 mm, ovoid-spheric, brown, tip ± truncate. Seed: 1–1.5 mm, ovate-spheric.
Generally disturbed areas; < 150 m. South Coast; to southeastern United States, central Mexico, also Africa; native to Central America, South America. Aug–Oct [Online Interchange]
Unabridged synonyms: [Alternanthera peploides (Roem. & Schult.) Urb.; Alternanthera pungens Kunth, misappl.; Alternanthera repens (L.) Kuntze, misappl.]

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Alternanthera, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Alternanthera caracasana Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.