Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

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Keyed in multiple places:

Key to Asteraceae, Key D: herbaceous composites with leaves alternate or basal,
liguliflorous heads (composed of ligulate florets), and sap usually milky

1 Cypselas (at least of the inner florets of the head) beaked.
..2 Heads solitary and terminal at the end of a stem unbranched to its base.
....3 Leaves basal and cauline, grasslike (untoothed and unlobed); stem leafy
....3 Leaves basal only, variously toothed to pinnately lobed; stem scapiform (leafless).
......4 Pappus of bristles
......4 Pappus either of outer scales and inner bristles or entirely of aristate scales.
........5 Pappus of outer scales and inner plumose bristles; leaves oblanceolate to oblong; plants annual or perennial
........5 Pappus of aristate scales; leaves linear to narrowly lanceolate; plants annual
..2 Heads several per stem, in various corymbiform, umbelliform, spiciform, or paniculiform arrays (rarely solitary and terminal in the smallest and most depauperate individuals in a population.
..........6 Achenes distinctly flattened
..........6 Achenes terete or prismatic.
............ 7 Pappus of plumose bristles, at least the inner series; plant an annual or biennial.
............ ..8 Receptacles lacking paleae
............ ..8 Receptacles with paleae
............ 7 Pappus of simple capillary bristles; plant an annual, biennial, or perennial.
............ ....9 Beak of the cypsela with a ring of soft white reflexed hairs at the summit (just below the pappus)
............ ....9 Beak of the cypsela lacking a ring of hairs as described.
............ ......10 Pappus of 80-150 barbellulate bristles; plant an annual or biennial
............ ......10 Pappus either of 40-50 (or more) smooth bristles or of 20-30 barbellulate bristles; plant a perennial
............ ........11 Pappus of 40-50 (or more) smooth bristles
............ ........11 Pappus of 20-30 barbellulate bristles
1 Cypselas beakless.
............ ..........12 Leaves basally disposed (stem leaves few or none, if present generally smaller in size than the basal leaves, which are persistent into flowering and fruiting); corollas yellow, orange, or red.
............ ............ 13 Pappus absent or of both scales and barbellulate bristles
............ ............ 13 Pappus of bristles only (these barbellulate or plumose).
............ ............ ..14 Pappus of plumose bristles (these somewhat flattened at their bases)
............ ............ ..14 Pappus of barbellulate bristles.
............ ............ ....15 Leaves with entire margins; plants perennials, either from long to short rhizomes or from a short caudex with fibrous roots
............ ............ ....15 Leaves coarsely toothed or pinnately lobed; plants annuals, from a taproot.
............ ............ ......16 Involucre 5-12 mm high; achenes usually > 2.5 mm long; pappus bristles distinct, 3-7 mm long
............ ............ ......16 Involucre 3-5 mm high; achenes 1.5-2.5 mm long; pappus bristles basally connate, 2.5-3.5 mm long
............ ..........12 Leaves basal and cauline (plant often beginning with a basal rosette, but by flowering bearing well-developed stem leaves about as large as the basal leaves, the basal rosette often withering prior to flowering and fruiting); corollas yellow, orange, red, blue, pink, white, or lavender.
............ ............ ........17 Pappus absent or of scales.
............ ............ ..........18 Corollas pale blue (rarely pink or white)
............ ............ ..........18 Corollas yellow (rarely orange).
............ ............ ............ 19 Phyllaries enfolding the outer cypselas
............ ............ ............ 19 Phyllaries not enfolding the outer cypselas.
............ ............ ............ ..20 Stem winged and spiny; leaves spiny-margined; receptacle with paleae
............ ............ ............ ..20 Stem not winged or spiny; leaves not spiny-margined; receptable lacking paleae.
............ ............ ............ ....21 Cypselas 1.2-2.8 mm long; heads borne single at the ends of scapiform stems that are unbranched (rarely few-branched near the base); plants to 7 dm tall
............ ............ ............ ....21 Cypselas 3-5 mm long; heads borne in corymbiform or thyrsiform arrays; plants to 15 dm tall
............ ............ ........17 Pappus of numerous smooth, barbellate, or plumose bristles.
............ ............ ............ ......22 Cypselas more or less strongly flattened.
............ ............ ............ ........23 Pappus of 30-45+ bristles, these at least partly plumose
............ ............ ............ ........23 Pappus of simple capillary bristles only
............ ............ ............ ......22 Cypselas terete or prismatic, slightly or not at all flattened.
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Corollas pink, purple, lavender, white, or creamy-yellow.
............ ............ ............ ............ 25 Leaves linear, entire, < 3 mm wide, or reduced to scales; cypselas 11-14 mm long; [of the Coastal Plain of GA and se. AL south to s. FL]
............ ............ ............ ............ 25 Leaves broader, of various shapes, usually hastate, irregularly lobed, and/or serrate; cypselas 3.5-10 mm long; [collectively widespread in our area, south to n. FL]
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Corollas bright yellow, orange, or red.
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Plants taprooted annuals and biennials (rarely perennials); pappus bristles white and soft in texture
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Plants fibrous-rooted perennials; pappus bristles white, light to medium tan, or sordid, stiff.
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Cypselas (2-) 2.5-7 mm long; pappus of (30-) 40-80 white, tan, or sordid bristles, in 1-2+ series; plants cespitose; corollas yellow
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Cypselas 1-2.5 mm long; pappus of 25-40+ white to sordid bristles, in 1 series; plants stoloniferous (cespitose in a few species); corollas yellow or orange

Key O: herbaceous dicots with alternate, compound leaves on the stem

1 Leaves either 3-foliolate or palmately 4-11-foliolate (all the leaflets attached at a common point, or the leaflets slightly pedate in Helleborus in RANUNCULACEAE).
..2 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
..2 Inflorescence, flower, and fruit structure various, but not with the combination of features as above. {add under 2b [Cynosciadium] APIACEAE; [Cannabis] CANNABACEAE}
....3 Leaflets obviously and sharply serrate; pistils 5-many; fruit an aggregate of achenes, drupelets, or follicles.
......4 Leaflets 7-11, slightly pedate in their arrangement, evergreen
......4 Leaflets 3-5, palmate, deciduous
....3 Leaflets entire, finely denticulate, or very obscurely toothed (or irregularly serrate or lobed in Cardamine in BRASSICACEAE); pistil 1; fruit simple, a legume, capsule, silique, or berry.
........5 Corolla bilaterally symmetrical; petals 5; fruit a legume; carpel 1
........5 Corolla radially symmetrical; petals 4 or 5; fruit either an elongate capsule or a berry; carpels 1, 2, or 5.
..........6 Leaflets radially arranged at the summit of the petiole, not differentiated in size or placement into a terminal leaflet and 2 lateral leaflets; leaflets prominently notched at the apex; petals 5, yellow; inflorescence axillary, cymose or umbelliform; carpels 5
..........6 Leaflets differentiated in size and placement into a terminal leaflet and 2 or more lateral leaflets; leaflets not regularly notched at the apex (a few may be slightly retuse); petals 4, white, pink, or yellow; inflorescence terminal and racemose; carpels 1 or 2.
............ 7 Carpels 2; fruit a red berry; petals connate, purplish-blue
............ 7 Carpel 1; fruit a capsule; petals separate, white, pink, or yellow.
............ ..8 Stem leaves 1-3, alternate [or whorled or opposite]; leaflets 3, irregularly serrate, lacerate, or additionally divided or lobed; fruit a silique; carpels 2
............ ..8 Stem leaves >3, alternate; leaflets (1-) 3-7, each entire or obscurely toothed; fruit a capsule; carpel 1
1 Leaves either 1-pinnately compound (all leaflets attached to a central rachis) or more complexly compound (with several orders of branching, some leaflets at least attached to second-order branches from the rachis).
............ ....9 Inflorescence an involucrate head subtended by phyllaries, heads solitary or many, variously arrayed in secondary inflorescences; fruit a cypsela; ovary inferior
............ ....9 Inflorescence various, but not as above; fruit various, not as above; ovary superior.
............ ......10 Leaves 1-pinnately compound (all leaflets attached to a central rachis).
............ ........11 Flowers bilaterally symmetrical, papilionaceous; fruit a legume; leaves even-pinnately or odd-pinnately compound, the terminal leaflet sometimes replaced by a tendril; leaflets entire or at most minutely denticulate
............ ........11 Flowers radially symmetrical (or barely bilaterally symmetrical in Erodium in GERANIACEAE); fruit a capsule, capsular but of 5 mericarps, or an aggregate of achenes, nutlets, or follicles (in some cases the # of pistils from many down to 2 or even 1); leaves odd-pinnately compound, never with tendrils; leaflets serrate (or entire to shallowly lobed in Polemonium in POLEMONIACEAE, Cardamine in BRASSICACEAE, and Floerkea in LIMNANTHACEAE).
............ ..........12 Pistils many (only 1-2 in Agrimonia, Poteridium, Poterium, and Sanguisorba); fruit an aggregate of achenes, nutlets, or follicles; hypanthium present; stamens 5-many (only 4 in Poteridium and Sanguisorba)
............ ..........12 Pistil 1 (or deeply 2-3-lobed in Floerkea in LIMNANTHACEAE); fruit a silique, capsule, schizocarp of 2-3 mericarps, or a capsular schizocarp of 5 mericarps (Erodium in GERANIACEAE); hypanthium absent; stamens 3-6.
............ ............ 13 Petals 3
............ ............ 13 Petals 4-5.
............ ............ ..14 Petals 4, distinct; stamens 6; inflorescence a terminal raceme; fruit a silique/silicle
............ ............ ..14 Petals 5, fused (distinct in Erodium in GERANIACEAE); stamens 5; inflorescence axillary or terminal, cymose, consisting of subcapitate, umbel-like, or helicoid cymes; fruit either a capsule, or a capsular schizocarp of 5 mericarps (Erodium in GERANIACEAE).
............ ............ ....15 Flowers slightly bilaterally symmetrical (2 of the petals of different size than the other 3); fruit a capsular schizocarp of 5 mericarps; carpels 5
............ ............ ....15 Flowers radially symmetrical; fruit either a loculicidal capsule or a berry; carpels 2 or 3.
............ ............ ......16 Fruit a berry; fresh plant rankly fragrant
............ ............ ......16 Fruit a capsule; fresh plant not aromatic.
............ ............ ........17 Capsule 2-valvate; carpels 2; leaflets prominently serrate or with some tooth-like sublobes
............ ............ ........17 Capsule 3-valvate; carpels 3; leaflets with entire margins
............ ......10 Leaves more complexly compound (with 2 or more orders of branching, some leaflets at least attached to second-order branches from the rachis).
............ ............ ..........18 Leaves 2× even-pinnate; flowers in spikes or spherical heads; {XXXX}
............ ............ ..........18 Leaves either 2× odd-pinnate or more complexly 2-4× ternately or ternately-pinnately compound; {YYYY}.
............ ............ ............ 19 Leaf segments linear, less than 2 mm wide.
............ ............ ............ ..20 Inflorescence an umbel; ovary inferior, of 2 fused carpels; fruit a schizocarp of 2 mericarps
............ ............ ............ ..20 Inflorescence either a terminal solitary flower or terminal raceme or panicle; ovary superior, either of 2 fused carpels or of 1-5or many distinct 1-carpellate pistils; fruit either a capsule or an aggregate of follicles or achenes.
............ ............ ............ ....21 Ovary of 2 fused carpels; fruit a capsule (1-seeded and indehiscent in Fumaria)
............ ............ ............ ....21 Ovary of 1-5or many distinct 1-carpellate pistils; fruit an aggregate of follicles or achenes
............ ............ ............ 19 Leaf segments broader, lanceolate, ovate, or elliptic, > 5 mm wide.
............ ............ ............ ......22 Herbaceous vine climbing by axillary tendrils; stamens 8
............ ............ ............ ......22 Erect or sprawling herb; stamens 5-6 or >15.
............ ............ ............ ........23 Leaflets sharply serrate, with usually many teeth on each leaflet side, the total number of “points” per leaflet > 10.
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Inflorescence an umbel; ovary inferior, of 2 fused carpels; fruit a schizocarp of 2 mericarps; inflorescence an umbel
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Inflorescence a panicle or raceme; ovary superior, of 1-8 carpels; fruit an aggregate of follicles, a single follicle, or an indeshiscent berry-like fruit.
............ ............ ............ ............ 25 Flowers bisexual; carpels 1-8; fruit an aggregate of follicles, a single follicle, or an indeshiscent berry-like fruit
............ ............ ............ ............ 25 Flowers unisexual; carpels (in pistillate flowers) of 3 (-5) carpels; fruit an aggregate of follicles
............ ............ ............ ........23 Leaflets entire, or with 1-several, broad, obtuse, rounded, or broadly acute “sublobes”, especially towards the tip of the leaflet, the total number of “points” per leaflet < 10.
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Inflorescence an umbel; ovary inferior, of 2 fused carpels; fruit a schizocarp of 2 mericarps
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Inflorescence a raceme, panicle, or cyme; ovary superior, of either 1-2 fused carpels or of many separate 1-carpellate pistils.
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Perianth bilaterally symmetrical, the corolla of 4 fused petals; plant a scandent vine or erect or sprawling herb
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Perianth radially symmetrical, of 1-5 whorls of separate perianth parts; plant an erect herb.
............ ............ ............ ............ ......28 Perianth of 4-5 whorls of 3 parts each (some of the whorls modified into nectaries); pistil 1, 1-carpellate; fruit a drupelike, blue, naked seed; largest leaflets > 6 cm long, obviously longer than wide
............ ............ ............ ............ ......28 Perianth of 1 whorl; of 4-5 parts; pistils many, each 1-carpellate; fruit an aggregate of achenes or an aggregate of follicles; largest leaflets either < 6 cm long, or if longer than 6 cm, also about as wide as long