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1 Leaves elliptic to oblanceolate, mostly < 15 cm long, the apices acute to obtuse; twigs puberulent; spine-covered husk of fruit splitting into 2 sections, enclosing 1 nut; nut circular in cross-section, 7-19 mm in diameter; pistillate dichasia of 1 flower; leaves with stellate trichomes, with few bulbous-based trichomes when young, puberulent, pilose, tomentulose, or tomentose in age (usually rather densely so).
..2 Longest spines of the fruit husk usually > 10 mm long; young twigs glabrous; petiole 8-10 (-15) mm long; [plants of n. AL and westward]
..2 Longest spines of the fruit husk usually < 10 mm long; young twigs puberulent; petiole 3-7 (-10) mm long; [plants widespread in our area]
1 Leaves elliptic, oblanceolate or lanceolate, 8-30 cm long, the apices acuminate, sometimes only shortly so; spine-covered husk of fruit splitting into 4 sections, enclosing 1-3 (-5) nuts; nut flattened on at least one side, 18-30 mm in diameter; pistillate dichasia of 3 flowers; leaves with or without stellate trichomes; twigs puberulent or glabrous.
......4 Leaf margins ciliate; young twigs glaucous; burs with 1 nut
......4 Leaf margins not ciliate; young twigs glabrous (but not glaucous); burs with (2-) 3 (-5) nuts
........5 Leaf undersurface covered with yellowish brown to yellowish gray scalelike glands (as well as tomentose)
........5 Leaf undersurface with few or no scalelike glands