Common Name: BUCKWHEAT FAMILY
Habit: Annual to shrub [tree]. Stem: nodes swollen or not. Leaf: simple, basal or cauline, generally alternate; ocreae present or 0, generally scarious, persistent or not. Inflorescence: flower clusters in axillary to terminal cyme-, panicle-, raceme-, spike-, umbel- or head-like arrangements, entire inflorescence or main inflorescence branches generally subtended by bracts ("inflorescence bracts"); peduncles present or 0; flower clusters in Eriogoneae-Eriogonoideae subtended by involucre of >= 1 free or +- fused, sometimes awn-tipped bracts ("involucre bracts") or, in Polygonoideae and rarely in Eriogonoideae, not (if bracts completely fused, involucre "tubular"); pedicels in Eriogoneae each often subtended by 2 free, transparent, linear bractlets or in Polygonoideae all subtended by 2+ fused, membranous, wide bractlets. Flower: generally bisexual, small, 1--200 per node; perianth parts 2--6, generally in 2 whorls, free or basally fused, generally petal-like, often +- concave adaxially, often darker at midvein, often turning +- red or +- brown in age; stamens 3 or 6--9 in 2 whorls; ovary superior, 1-chambered, ovule 1, styles 1--3. Fruit: achenes, included in or exserted from perianth, generally 3-angled, ovoid or elliptic, generally glabrous.
Genera In Family: 48 genera, +- 1200 species: worldwide, especially northern temperate; some cultivated for food (Coccoloba, sea-grape; Fagopyrum, Rheum, Rumex) or ornamental (Antigonon, lovechain; Coccoloba; Muehlenbeckia; Persicaria; Polygonum), a few timbered (Coccoloba; Triplaris). Several (Emex; Fallopia; Persicaria; Polygonum; Rumex) are weeds. Note: Treatment of genera in Eriogonoideae based on monographic work of James L. Reveal. Involucre number throughout is number (1--many) per ultimate grouping, at tips of ultimate branches; flower number is per flower cluster or involucre, unless otherwise stated. Fagopyrum esculentum Moench not naturalized, considered an historical waif (or garden weed +- presently), therefore not treated.
eFlora Treatment Author: Mihai Costea, except as noted
Common Name: KNOTWEED
Habit: Annual, perennial herb to shrub. Stem: prostrate to erect, 8--16-ribbed or 4--5-angled with ribs 0 or obscure; glabrous or papillate-scabrous. Leaf: cauline, alternate, petioled or not; ocrea generally jointed to leaf, generally cylindric proximally, generally translucent distally, white or silvery, 2-lobed, glabrous, disintegrating to fibers or completely; blade linear, lanceolate, elliptic, ovate, or subround, entire. Inflorescence: axillary, terminal, generally spike-like; peduncle 0; pedicels present or 0, included in to exserted from bractlets; flowers 1--7(10). Flower: bisexual, base not stalk-like; perianth not enlarging, bell- to urn-shaped, glabrous, white or green-white to pink; perianth parts 5, fused 3--60%, petal- or sepal-like, similar [or not], outer +- keeled or not, < to > inner, midveins generally a different shade or color than rest of perianth; stamens 3--8 (some staminodes or not), filaments or at least innermost free, wider at base, fused to perianth tube or not, anthers elliptic to oblong, white-yellow or generally pink to purple (orange-pink); styles (2)3, generally spreading, free or fused basally, stigmas 2--3, head-like. Fruit: included or exserted, wings 0, angles (2)3, 1 face much narrower than other (1)2 or not; tip beak-like, yellow-green, brown, or black. Seed: embryo curved.
Species In Genus: +- 65 species: +- worldwide; sect. Duravia restricted to western North America. Etymology: (Greek: poly, many, gony, knee joint, or gone, seed, of uncertain meaning) Note: Many species of sect. Polygonum with 2 kinds of fruit, differing in germination and morphology (summer fruit brown, ovate, tubercled to smooth; late-season fruit olive-green, lanceolate, smooth, 2--5 × > summer), but of little taxonomic importance. Mature, early-season plants with leaves, flowers, fruits needed for identification. Flowers "closed" or "1/2-open" should be determined on herbarium specimens. Other taxa in TJM (1993) moved to Aconogonon, Bistorta, Fallopia, Persicaria.
Common Name: POLYGALA KNOTWEED
Habit: Annual. Stem: erect, (2)6--20(25) cm, +- wiry, glabrous, green, +- angled, branches generally widely spreading (0). Leaf: basal leaves early-deciduous, distal abruptly reduced to bracts; ocreae 4--8 mm, glabrous, proximally cylindric, distally cut; petiole 0; blade 10--40 mm, 1--2.5 mm wide, narrowly linear, margin rolled under, smooth, tip acute or mucronate. Inflorescence: axillary, terminal, spike-like, +- spheric to cylindric; pedicels included, erect, 0--2 mm; flowers 1--3, in most axils or crowded distally. Flower: generally closed; perianth 1.5--3 mm, white to red, tube 19--40% of length, lobes overlapped, lance-oblong, +- keeled, tip acute to acuminate, midvein thickened, branches 2, proximal, or generally 0; stamens 3--8. Fruit: included, 1.3--2.5 mm, ovate to lanceolate, light-yellow or light- or green- to dark-brown, shiny or dull, smooth or net-like with longitudinal ridges.
Note: Highly variable; intermediates occur between all subspecies except Polygonum polygaloides subsp. polygaloides, of northwestern United States (except California), Alberta.
Unabridged Note: Alternatively, Polygonum polygaloides could be recognized in narrow sense, without infraspecific taxa, and the 3 subspecies in California could be treated as subspecies of a separate Polygonum kelloggii (earliest available name).