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Keyed in multiple places:

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Key to Polygalaceae

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1 Corolla keel blunt, lacking a terminal crest or beak.
..2 Calyx persistent in fruit
..2 Calyx deciduous in fruit
1 Corolla keel appendaged, with a terminal beak, or lobed or tufted crest.
....3 Corolla keel with a conic or cylindrical beak
....3 Corolla keel with a lobed or tufted crest.
......4 Flowers in terminal spikes, racemes, or corymbs; plants annual or perennial
......4 Flowers axillary; plants perennial

Key N2: herbaceous dicots with mainly basal, simple leaves

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1 Inflorescence an involucrate head subtended by phyllaries, the heads solitary or many and variously arrayed in secondary inflorescences, the ovary inferior, the corolla connate and tubular at least basally, the calyx absent, the stamens 5, the fruit a cypsela
1 Inflorescence, flower, and fruit structure various, but not with the combination of features as above (sometimes the flowers in a head subtended by bracts, e.g. Eryngium in APIACEAE, but then with other features differing, such as stamens 4, or green calyx present, or petals separate, or fruit a schizocarp of mericarps, etc.).
..2 Basal leaves 2-lobed, pinnately lobed, or palmately lobed (not considering cordate, hastate, or auriculate leaf bases as “lobed”).
....3 Basal leaves 2-lobed, hinged between the lobes, each lobe with stiff, marginal, eyelash-like bristles; [Coastal Plain of NC and SC, rarely planted and weakly naturalized elsewhere]
....3 Basal leaves 3-many-lobed, palmately or pinnately; [collectively widespread].
......4 Leaf lobing pinnate.
........5 Gynoecium of separate pistils (each with a single carpel); fruit an aggregate
........5 Gynoecium of a single pistil (with 2, rarely more, carpels); fruit simple.
..........6 Stamens many; sepals 2, petals 4; fresh plants with yellow, orange, or white milky juice
..........6 Stamens 4, 5, or 6; sepals 4 or 5; petals 4 or 5.
............ 7 Petals 4, distinct; stamens 6
............ 7 Petals 5, fused; stamens 2, 4, or 5.
............ ..8 Corolla radially symmetrical; stamens 5
............ ..8 Corolla 2-lipped, bilaterally symmetrical or asymmetrical; stamens 2 or 4.
............ ....9 Corolla lobes not twisted, the flower bilaterally symmestrical; stamens 2
............ ....9 Corolla lobes twisted so as to make the flower asymmetrical; stamens 4
......4 Leaf lobing palmate.
............ ......10 Petiole attachment peltate.
............ ........11 Leaves < 10 cm in diameter
............ ........11 Leaves > 15 cm in diameter
............ ......10 Petiole attachment marginal.
............ ..........12 Ovary inferior.
............ ............ 13 Petals 4; stamens 8; fruit a capsule
............ ............ 13 Petals 5; stamens 5; fruit a schizocarp of 2 mericarps.
............ ............ ..14 Fruit tuberculate; leaves 3-lobed
............ ............ ..14 Fruit smooth; leaves with 5 or more lobes
............ ..........12 Ovary superior, or half-inferior by fusion of a hypanthium a part of the way up the ovary wall.
............ ............ ....15 Gynoecium of separate pistils (each with a single carpel); fruit an aggregate.
............ ............ ......16 Perianth of 5 green sepals and 5 colored petals.
............ ............ ........17 Carpels partly fused, arrayed in a ring of 10-20
............ ............ ........17 Carpels separate, spiral, many
............ ............ ......16 Perianth of a single whorl of 3-12 petaloid sepals (the petals absent or small and rudimentary).
............ ............ ..........18 Leaves 2, the single flower terminal and associated with the upper leaf; fruit an aggregate of berries
............ ............ ..........18 Leaves normally > 2, flowers not as above; fruit an aggregate of achenes, utricles, or follicles
............ ............ ....15 Gynoecium of a single pistil (with 1-5 carpels); fruit simple.
............ ............ ............ 19 Hypanthium present, partially fused or not fused to the pistil; ovary partially inferior to superior
............ ............ ............ 19 Hypanthium absent; ovary superior.
............ ............ ............ ..20 Petals connate at base; leaves sharply toothed
............ ............ ............ ..20 Petals distinct; leaves with rounded lobes or teeth.
............ ............ ............ ....21 Corolla radially symmetrical; petals 8-12; capsule fusiform, narrowed to both ends, > 5× as long as wide
............ ............ ............ ....21 Corolla bilaterally symmetrical; petals 5; capsule ovoid, < 2× as long as wide
..2 Basal leaves not lobed, at most serrate or crenate (and sometimes also cordate, hastate, auriculate, or peltate at the base).
............ ............ ............ ......22 Basal leaves petiolate, the blade with a cordate, hastate, auriculate, or peltate base.
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Inflorescence a terminal and/or axillary raceme, panicle, or cyme of many small flowers; fruit an achene; perianth uniseriate, of 0, 4-5, or 6 tepals.
............ ............ ............ ............ 25 Flowers unisexual; staminate flowers 4-5 tepals, pistillate flowers lacking a perianth
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Inflorescence either a terminal spike, or a 1-7-flowered terminal cyme, or of a solitary axillary or terminal flower; fruit various; perianth biseriate (of differentiated sepals and petals (except uniseriate, of 3 fused sepals in ARISTOLOCHIACEAE).
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Flowers bilaterally symmetrical; inflorescence a terminal spike (with > 20 flowers); petals 4, usually scarious, transparent; sepals 4, green; stamens 4
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Flowers radially symmetrical; inflorescence either of a solitary flower or of a 1-7-flowered terminal cyme; petals 5, 8-12, or 0; sepals 5 (green), 3 (brown), or 5-9 (yellow); stamens 5, 12, or many.
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Gynoecium of separate pistils (each with a single carpel); fruit an aggregate of achenes or follicles; flowers bright yellow, either of 5-9 distinct petaloid sepals, or of 8-12 distinct petals subtended by 3-4 green distinct sepals
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Gynoecium either of a single pistil with 6 carpels or of a single pistil with 4 carpels or of 2 nearly separate carpels; fruit a simple capsule (or deeply 2-lobed); flowers white, brown, or greenish, either of 5 fused or distinct white petals and 5 fused or distinct green sepals, or of 3 fused brown or greenish petaloid sepals.
............ ............ ............ ............ ......28 Flowers brown or green, of 3 fused brown or greenish petaloid sepals (and 0 petals); carpels 6; stamens 12; leaves 4-10 cm wide
............ ............ ............ ............ ......28 Flowers white, of 5 white or whitish petals and 5 green sepals; carpels 2; stamens 5; leaves 1-12 (-15) cm wide
............ ............ ............ ............ ........29 Petals separate; sepals separate; plant glabrous
............ ............ ............ ............ ........29 Petals fused; sepals fused; carpels 2; plant pubescent.
............ ............ ............ ........23 Leaf margins crenate, serrate, or incised.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 31 Gynoecium of separate pistils (each with a single carpel); fruit an aggregate; perianth of 5 green sepals and 5 colored petals.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..32 Carpels 10-20, partly fused, arrayed in a ring; petals white, pink, red, or purplish
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..32 Carpels many, separate, spiral; petals yellow or white.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ....33 Flowers lacking a hypanthium; fruit an aggregate of achenes or aggregate of follicles
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ....33 Flowers with a hypanthium; fruit an aggregate of drupelets or aggregate of achenes
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 31 Gynoecium of a single pistil (with 1-5 carpels); fruit simple.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ......34 Flowers bilaterally symmetrical; inflorescence of a solitary flower; fruit a 3-locular capsule
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ......34 Flowers radially symmetrical; inflorescence an umbel (or composite of umbelliform units, or a terminal panicle.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ........35 Ovary superior; inflorescence a terminal panicle or terminal raceme.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..........36 Inflorescence a terminal raceme; perianth of 4 green sepals and 4 white petals; fruit a silique/silicle; fresh foliage in spring and summer with a strong garlic odor; larger leaves < 10 cm in diameter
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..........36 Inflorescence a terminal panicle; perianth of 6 cream-colored petaloid sepals; fruit a winged achene; fresh foliage lacking a garlic odor; larger leaves typically > 30 cm in diameter
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ........35 Ovary inferior; inflorescence an umbel (or a composite of umbellate units); fruit a schizocarp of mericarps.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 37 Petiole attachment marginal (the blade cleft to the petiole.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..38 Leaf blades longer than wide, sharply V-cleft at the base and otherwise shallowly denticulate
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..38 Leaf blades as broad or broader than long, cleft at the base and also irregularly serrate or crenate around the margin
............ ............ ............ ......22 Basal leaves petiolate or not, with a truncate, rounded, or cuneate leaf base.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ....39 Leaves tubular, with a sutured ventral flange, erect or reclining, adapted as a pitfall for insects (flat, phyllodial leaves sometimes present as well, common in the winter in some species, such as S. oreophila)
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ......40 Stem leaves opposite; perianth 5-merous, at least the corolla bilaterally symmetrical (barely so in VALERIANACEAE), or the parts curved so as to be asymmetrical (Pedicularis in OROBANCHACEAE); stamens 2, 3, or 4.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..........42 Corolla narrowly tubular, the five lobes flaring at nearly 90 degrees and nearly radially symmetrical
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..........42 Corolla distinctly 2-lipped (with prominently large upper and lower corolla lobes) or hooded (the upper lip hood-like), distinctly bilaterally symmetrical, or the lobes twisted so as to make the corolla asymmetrical.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 43 Corolla yellow, the upper lip often slightly to strongly maroon, hooded but the corolla lobes twisted so as to make the flower asymmetrical
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 43 Corolla white, lavender, or blue, 2-lipped and bilaterally symmetrical.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ......40 Stem leaves alternate; perianth radially symmetrical (less commonly bilaterally symmetrical); stamens 5, 6-8, 9, 10 (rarely 4).
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..........48 Pistils many, each with a single carpel; fruit an aggregate of achenes
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..........48 Pistil 1, with 1-5 carpels; fruit simple (a legume, silique/silicle, capsule, utricle, or schizocarp of 4 nutlets).
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 49 Corolla bilaterally symmetrical (barely so in Limosella in SCROPHULARIACEAE); stamens 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..56 Perianth of green sepals and more brightly colored petals; stamens 5 or 10; carpels 2, 3, 4, or 5.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ....57 Leaves covered with sticky, gland-tipped hairs (often red), as flypaper traps for insects
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ......64 Inflorescence a somewhat to very diffuse panicle, with 3 or more orders of branching, not giving at all the impression that the overall inflorescence is made of racemose units.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ........65 Leaves serrate or crenate; stamens 10; [plants of various habitats, especially rock outcrops and bottomland forests and streambanks, never in tidal marshes]
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ......64 Inflorescence either a single terminal raceme (sometimes spike-like), or of 1 to several terminal and axillary racemes (these sometimes combined into a diffuse panicle, but one whose structure is clearly made up of many racemes).
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..........66 Inflorescence of 1-several terminal and axillary racemes, the plant typically well-branched, especially from the base; stamens 5
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..........66 Inflorescence of a single, terminal raceme, the plant unbranched; stamens 10 (or 5, with 5 staminodes)

Key Q: herbaceous dicots with whorled leaves on the stem {add [Platycodon] CAMPANULACEAE}

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1 Cauline leaves palmately compound.
..2 Cauline leaves essentially sessile, and also palmately cleft to the base, and further lacerately divided into linear or oblanceolate segments
..2 Cauline leaves petiolate, with 3-5, sessile or petiolulate, ovate, elliptic, or obovate leaflets (these serrate and sometimes with additional lobes).
....3 Inflorescence a spherical umbel of many flowers; fruit a drupe with 2-3 seeds; stem leaves 3-5
......4 Leaflets 3 (-5), sessile or subsessile, the petiolules 0-3 mm long; larger leaflets 4-8 cm long, 0.5-2.5 cm wide, averaging about 2.5× as long as wide, the apex obtuse to acute; fruit yellow-green when ripe, longitudinally winged and ribbed in ×-section; petals white (rarely tinged with pink); inflorescence nodding in bud; underground storage organ a spherical tuber
......4 Leaflets (3-) 5, petiolulate, the petiolules (7-) 10-25 mm long; larger leaflets 6-15 cm long, 3.5-7 cm wide, averaging about 1.8× as long as wide, the apex acuminate; fruit bright red when ripe, smoothly elliptical in ×-section; petals light green; inflorescence erect in bud; underground storage organ an +/- elongate root, this vertical or horizontal, and sometimes branched
....3 Inflorescence of single terminal flowers on the 1-several branches; fruit an aggregate of achenes; stem leaves 3
1 Cauline leaves simple.
........5 Inflorescence an involucrate head subtended by phyllaries, heads solitary or many, variously arrayed in secondary inflorescences; fruit a cypsela
........5 Inflorescence various, but not as above; fruit various, not as above (sometimes the flowers tightly grouped, but then with other features differing, such as stamens 4, or green calyx present, or fruit a schizocarp of mericarps, etc.).
..........6 Fruit a 3-lobed, 3-locular capsule; inflorescence a cyathium, consisting of a single pistillate flower (reduced to a single 3-carpellate pistil) and 2 or more staminate flowers (each reduced to 1 stamen), borne in a cup-like involucre, the involucre bearing pointed or rounded glands, these sometimes brightly colored and petaloid, mimicking an individual flower (the cyathia then secondarily arranged in terminal cymes, or solitary and axillary, etc.); fresh plants with milky juice
..........6 Fruit various, not as above; inflorescence not a cyathium (and staminate or bisexual flowers almost always with > 1 stamen); fresh plants lacking milky juice.
............ 7 Leaves succulent, the terminal whorls closely juxtaposed; pistils 4-5; fruit an aggregate of follicles
............ 7 Leaves herbaceous, thin in texture, whorls separated; pistil 1, of 2-5 fused carpels; fruit a capsule, achene, or drupe.
............ ..8 Larger whorled leaves on a plant < 10 mm wide [some taxa keyed here and under the second lead].
............ ....9 Inflorescence a cymule, either axillary, or axillary and terminal; ovary inferior.
............ ......10 Leaves markedly variable in shape or size in each whorl; fruit a capsule; petals 5
............ ......10 Leaves similar in size and shape in each whorl; fruit dry or fleshy, indehiscent; petals (3-) 4
............ ....9 Inflorescence a terminal raceme, panicle, spike, cyme, corymb, or umbel; ovary superior.
............ ........11 Corolla bilaterally symmetrical, the petals connate; carpels 2; stamens 4, 6, or 8.
............ ..........12 Stamens 4; corolla blue or almost white
............ ..........12 Stamens 6 or 8; corolla pink or yellow
............ ........11 Corolla radially symmetrical, the petals separate; carpels 2, 3, or 5; stamens 5, 10, or many.
............ ............ 13 Inflorescence an axillary umbel; leaves narrowly linear and more than 10× as long as wide, > 20 mm long and < 2 mm wide; whorls of 3-6 leaves
............ ............ 13 Inflorescence a terminal cyme, raceme, panicle, or umbel; leaves as above, or broader in shape, narrower, or shorter; whorls of 3-16 leaves.
............ ............ ..14 Inflorescence a terminal cyme or umbel; corolla white; carpels 5.
............ ............ ....15 Leaves narrowly linear, 12-16 in each whorl; stamens 5
............ ............ ....15 Leaves ovate or obovate, 3 (-4) in each whorl
............ ............ ..14 Inflorescence a terminal raceme or panicle; corolla reddish, maroon, or yellow.
............ ............ ......16 Corolla reddish or maroon
............ ..8 Larger whorled leaves on a plant > 10 mm wide.
............ ............ ........17 Inflorescence a spike; perianth absent; fruit a drupe
............ ............ ........17 Inflorescence various, but not a spike; perianth present; fruit various, but not a drupe.
............ ............ ..........18 Inflorescence of terminal involucrate clusters; perianth of 6 tepals; fruit an achene; stamens 9; [plants of very dry habitats]
............ ............ ..........18 Inflorescence various, but not as above; perianth of 2 whorls (the calyx often obsolete in Galium in RUBIACEAE), 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, or 7-merous; stamens 2-7; [plants of dry-mesic to very wet habitats].
............ ............ ............ 19 Fruit dry or fleshy, indehiscent; petals (3-) 4; ovary inferior
............ ............ ............ 19 Fruit a capsule or follicle, dehiscent; petals 4-7; ovary superior.
............ ............ ............ ..20 Inflorescence an umbel; fresh plants with milky juice
............ ............ ............ ..20 Inflorescence not an umbel; fresh plants with clear juice.
............ ............ ............ ....21 Corolla pink-purple, 6-merous, the petals separate and borne on the edge of a hypanthium; stamens 8, 10, or 12; [plants of wetlands]
............ ............ ............ ....21 Corolla white, yellow, or greenish, 4-, 5-, or 7-merous, the petals fused at least basally into a tube (falling as a unit), not on a hypanthium; stamens 2, 4, 5, or 7; [plants of mesic habitats].
............ ............ ............ ......22 Stamens 4, 5, or 7; corolla radially symmetrical.
............ ............ ............ ........23 Petals yellowish-white, with prominent green streaks; biennial or monocarpic plant, 10-30 dm tall when fertile; leaves 15-35 cm long
............ ............ ............ ........23 Petals white or yellow; perennial plants, 1-15 dm tall; leaves 1-15 cm long.
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Leaves punctate; stem without swollen nodes
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Leaves not punctate; stem with swollen nodes
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