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Key to Polygonum

1 Flowers in terminal or long-peduncled axillary racemes; branches adnate to stems, therefore appearing to arise internodally; plants suffrutescent bushy herbs
1 Flowers in small clusters or very reduced racemes of 1-5 flowers, borne in the axils of normally sized or reduced leaves; branches not adnate to the stem, and thus arising at nodes; plants erect or sprawling herbs.
..2 Stems with 4 obscure ribs or angles (or lacking apparent ribs); leaf venation parallel, with inconspicuous secondary veins, longitudinally plicate; anthers pink-purple
..2 Stems with 8-16 distinct ribs; leaf venation pinnate, the secondary veins apparent; anthers whitish yellow; [section Polygonum].
....3 Perianth bottle-shaped, constricted above the achene.
......4 Fruiting perianth divided about 1/3 of its length; stem leaves (1-) avg. 1.6 (-3)× as long as branch leaves
......4 Fruiting perianth divided about ¾ of its length; stem leaves (1.5-) avg. 2.5 (-4)× as long as branch leaves
....3 Perianth more open, not constricted above the achene.
........5 Inflorescences spikelike, the cymules borne in the axils of bracts shorter than the cymules
........5 Inflorescences axillary, the cymules borne in the axils of leaves longer than the cymules (though often shorter than primary leaves of the stem).
..........6 Ocreae pruinose; mature tepals notably white or pink, loosely spreading; achenes smooth, glossy; [of maritime situations]
..........6 Ocreae not pruinose; mature tepals yellow-green, white, pink, or reddish, appressed to the achene; achenes either smooth and glossy or textured and dull; [mainly of inland and disturbed situations]; [P. aviculare complex].
............ 7 Outer 3 tepals cucullate, in fruiting condition distinctly surpassing the inner 2 sepals and concealing them.
............ ..8 Plants prostrate; leaves 2.5-5.6 (-10)× as long as wide
............ ..8 Plants ascending to erect; leaves 4-12× as long as wide.
............ ....9 Plants bluish green when fresh, turning dark brown to black when dried; leaves rounded or obtuse at the apex; pedicels 1-2 mm long; stem leaves 1-2.5 (-3.5)× as long as the branch leaves
............ ....9 Plants yellowish green when fresh, not darkening when dried; leaves acute to acuminate at the apex; pedicels 2.5-6 mm long; stem leaves 2.1-3.5 (-4.2)× as long as the branch leaves
............ 7 Outer 3 tepals flat, equaling or shorter than the inner 2 sepals.
............ ......10 Perianth tube 40-57% of the perianth length.
............ ........11 Tepals green, margins pink or red (rarely white), with branched veins; plants prostrate to ascending, with 3-15 stems; leaf blades 2.8-5.7 (-6.5)× as long as wide
............ ........11 Tepals green or reddish brown, margins white, with unbranched veins; plants usually ascending, with 1-7 stems; leaf blades (3.40) 4.2-9.2× as long as wide
............ ......10 Perianth tube 15-40% of the perianth length.
............ ..........12 Leaf blades 2-4.5× as long as wide; perianth (2.3-) 2.8-4.7 (-5) mm long; achenes (of the early season) (2.1-) 2.7-3.7 mm long
............ ..........12 Leaf blades (3.4-) 4.2-9.2× as long as wide; perianth 1.9-3.4 mm long; achenes (of the early season) 1.2-1.8 mm long