Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

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Key to Ligustrum

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1 Leaves (3-) 4-13 (-15) cm long.
..2 Leaves mostly (3-) 4-8 (-9) cm long, with the primary lateral leaf veins in 3-5 pairs; leaf apex acute to abruptly acuminate; abaxial midvein covered by epidermis; flowers short-pedicellate on pedicels 0.5-2 mm; corolla tube hardly exserted from calyx, ca. equal lobe length
..2 Leaves (4.5-) 6-13 (-15) cm, with the primary lateral veins in (5-) 6-8 pairs; leaf apex usually long-acuminate; abaxial midvein not covered by epidermis; flowers subsessile on pedicels 0-0.5 mm; corolla tube distinctly exserted from calyx, ca. 2× longer than lobes
1 Leaves 1.5–6 (-6.5) cm long.
....3 Branchlets glabrous and usually glossy
....3 Branchlets minutely hirtellous, hirsute-hirtellous, or hirsutulous, dull.
......4 Leaf blades hirsutulous abaxially, rarely only along the nerves, sparsely hirsute-strigose adaxially, sometimes mostly near the margins, primary lateral veins (5-) 6-8 pairs, apices sharply acute (to slightly acuminate, or rarely obtuse)
......4 Leaf blades glabrous on both surfaces or sometimes sparsely hairy along the abaxial midvein, primary lateral veins (2-) 3-6 pairs, apices obtuse to acute (in L. vulgare) or obtuse to rounded.
........5 Leaf blades narrowly oblong-elliptic to oblanceolate-elliptic, oblanceolate or narrowly obovate, usually broadest slightly above the middle; inflorescence usually narrowly cylindric, flowers sessile to subsessile in verticil-like clusters
........5 Leaf blades variously shaped; inflorescence broadly cylindric to pyramidal, flowers sessile to pedicellate in broadly cylindric to pyramidal panicles of cymes.
..........6 Corolla tube 1.5-3× longer than the lobes.
............7 Leaf blades usually sparsely villous abaxially; calyx and pedicels sparsely to densely hirtellous (rarely nearly glabrous); corolla tube 2-3× as long as the lobes
............7 Leaf blades usually glabrous abaxially; calyx and pedicels glabrous to very sparsely hirtellous; corolla tube 1.5-2× as long as the lobes
..........6 Corolla tube < 1.2× as long as the lobes.
..............8 Leaves ovate-elliptic to oblong-ovate, elliptic-lanceolate, or suborbicular, primary lateral veins (3-) 4-5 pairs, apex obtuse to rounded or retuse, abaxial midvein usually sparsely hirsutulous to puberulent; inflorescence diffuse and open panicles terminal and on essentially leafless, lateral branches interspersed with leafy ones; branchlets hirtellous to loosely substrigose with straight hairs of uneven length; corolla tube slightly shorter than lobes, often barely exserted from the calyx tube; pedicels glabrous
..............8 Leaves elliptic-lanceolate to elliptic-ovate, primary lateral veins 4-6 pairs, apex obtuse to acute, abaxial midvein usually glabrous or with a few scattered hairs; inflorescence mostly a compact, terminal panicle; branchlets evenly and minutely hirtellous to hirsutulous with relatively even-length hairs; corolla tube equal the lobes or slightly shorter, distinctly exserted from the calyx tube; pedicels hirtellous