Pilea tetraphylla (Steud.) Blume
  • Mus. Bot.


Cite taxon page as 'WFO (2020): Pilea tetraphylla (Steud.) Blume. Published on the Internet;http://www.worldfloraonline.org/taxon/wfo-0000472436. Accessed on: 06 Jun 2020'

Morphology

A herb, erect, slender, simple or branched, up to 16 in. high, sometimes from a creeping base, glabrous

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    Annual herb with fleshy pinkish stems, (3–)5–25(–40) cm. tall, unbranched or branched from the lower 1–3 nodes, sometimes reaching flowering with the cotyledons persistent; apparently monoecious.

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    Stems glabrous, eglandular, with minute linear cystoliths in epidermis.

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    Leaves of a pair equal, but usually increasing in size from the lower nodes to the top of the plant, while the length of nodes and petioles decreases, so the uppermost 2 pairs appear to be verticillate and almost sessile; stipules thin, membranous, persistent, ovate to subcircular, up to ± 4 mm. long and 5 mm. wide, with subcordate base and rounded apex; petioles of lower leaves 0.4–2.5 cm. long, of upper, subverticillate leaves 0.2–0.5 cm. long; lamina ovate, in the lower leaves 0.9–3 cm. long, 0.6–2.8 cm. wide, in the upper leaves up to 3.5 cm. long and 3 cm. wide, ovate, rarely elliptic–subcircular, base cuneate to truncate, margin serrate, with (4-)5–12 teeth on each side, apex blunt to acute, rarely acuminate, with a large terminal tooth; basal pair of lateral nerves clearly marked, reaching 3rd–4th tooth from apex, giving off lateral nerves to the lower teeth, other lateral nerves indistinct; upper surface with appressed hairs and fine linear cystoliths, lower surface glabrous or with scattered hairs on the nerves, and with scattered hydatodes.

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    Inflorescences in the axils of the upper leaves (the largest inflorescences corymb-like, forming a cross-shaped figure at the stem-apex, but consisting of 4 inflorescences in the axils of the 4 uppermost leaves), paniculate, with flowers in cymose glomerules; ♂ inflorescences or partial inflorescences apparently rare, restricted to the axils of the upper leaves, where they occur together with purely ♀ inflorescences, with a structure as described above.

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    Fig. 8/A–E, p. 28.

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    Achene broadly ovate, compressed, smooth or ± verrucose, brown, up to 0.8 mm. long.

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    Female flowers: pedicel up to 1 mm. long; perianth (3–)4-merous, with 1 large, longitudinally crested segment and (2–)3 very short ones, visible only as crenation on a short, basal tube; 4 hyaline, staminodal scales present, ± enclosing the ovary.

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    Male flowers in small clusters on axes up to 0.8 cm. long; pedicels 1–2 mm. long; perianth with 2 lobes and 2 stamens.

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    Stems to c. 20 cm. tall, fleshy, pinkish, glabrous; leaves of a pair equal, increasing in size upwards, the four uppermost forming an apparent whorl at the top of the stem by shortening of the uppermost internode.

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    Erect annual herbs, monoecious (or dioecious by abortion).

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    Male inflorescences small and insignificant, in the axils of the leaves below the apical whorl, sometimes absent, sometimes with a few female flowers, or a few male flowers in the apical inflorescence; male flowers almost sessile, 2–4-merous, with stamens in the same number as tepals.

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    Stipules up to 4 mm. long, broadly ovate, membranous, persistent.

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    Petiole 2–25 mm. long.

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    Leaves petiolate, 0.7–2 x 0.4–1.5 cm., ovate, apex acute or short acuminate; base ± broadly cuneate; margin serrate with 5–12 teeth per side, lamina glabrous on both sides.

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    Achene c. 1.5 mm. long, broadly ovoid, compressed, smooth or ± verrucose.

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    Apical inflorescence entirely or almost entirely female; female flowers almost sessile, with one large and 2(3?) smaller tepals, and the same number of staminodes, stigma sessile, penicillate.

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    Ecology

    In montane vegetation.

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