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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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POLYGONACEAE

BUCKWHEAT FAMILY

James C. Hickman

Annual to trees, some dioecious
Stem: nodes often swollen
Leaves simple, basal or cauline, alternate, opposite, or whorled, generally entire; stipules 0 or obvious and fused into a generally scarious sheath around stem
Inflorescence: small cluster, axillary or arrayed in cymes or panicles; involucres sometimes subtending 1–many flowers
Flower generally bisexual, small, ± radial; perianth generally 5–6-lobed, base ± tapered, often jointed to pedicel; stamens 2–9, often in 2 whorls; ovary superior, styles generally 3, generally fused at base
Fruit: achene, generally enclosed by persistent perianth, generally 3-angled, ovoid, and glabrous
Genera in family: 50 genera, 1100 species: worldwide, especially n temp; some cultivated for food (Fagopyrum ; Rheum , rhubarb; Rumex , sorrel) or ornamental (Antigonon , coral-vine; Muehlenbeckia ; Polygonum )
Reference: [Ronse Decraene & Akeroyd 1988 Bot J Linn Soc 98:321–371; Reveal et al. 1989 Phytologia 66(2–4):83–414]
Treatments of the 15 eriogonoid genera are based on the monographic work of James L. Reveal, who is gratefully acknowledged.

MUEHLENBECKIA

Vine-like shrubs, high-climbing or in dense twisted masses if no support is available, monoecious
Stem much-branched, < 10 m, slender, wiry
Leaves cauline, alternate, petioled; stipules fused, closely sheathing stem above nodes, delicate; blade linear to round, ± thick
Inflorescence axillary, open or dense; staminate and pistillate flowers mixed
Staminate flower: perianth lobes 5; stamens 8
Pistillate flower: perianth lobes 5; style < 1 mm, stigmas 3
Fruit enclosed in fleshy perianth, appearing berry-like; achene 3-angled, ovoid
Species in genus: 15 species: s temp
Etymology: (H.G. Muehlenbeck, Alsatian physician, 1798–1845)

Introduced

M. complexa Meisn.

MAIDENHAIR VINE


Stem ± twisted, not twining, dark brown or reddish
Leaf generally < internode; blade sometimes with 2 shallow sinuses near base, leathery
Inflorescence < 1 cm, spike-like
Flower 3–5 mm; perianth greenish, becoming waxy-white in fruit
Fruit 4–5 mm
Ecology: Disturbed urban areas
Elevation: < 500 m.
Bioregional distribution: North Coast, San Francisco Bay Area
Distribution outside California: native to New Zealand
Cult as ornamental.

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