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Key to Ruscaceae

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1 Plant with an upright or arching stem with alternate cauline leaves.
..2 Shrub; "leaves" (actually cladophylls) coriaceous, evergreen, glossy; [exotic, rarely naturalized]; [tribe Rusceae]
..2 Herb; leaves herbaceous, deciduous, dull or slightly glossy; [native]; [tribe Polygonatae].
....3 Inflorescence terminal, a raceme or panicle; tepals separate leaves with 3 main parallel veins, acute to acuminate at the apex; leaves acute to acuminate at the apex; foliage green, not glaucous
....3 Inflorescence of 1-several axillary flowers; tepals fused; leaves with > 7 main parallel veins, obtuse to acute at the apex; foliage blue-green, glaucous
1 Plant tufted, the leaves essentially basal (although the sheathing bases form a 'false' stem in Convallaria).
......4 Leaves 2-3, narrowly elliptic, often variegated with light and dark green; tepals fused, white, greenish, or purplish.
........5 Leaves deciduous, narrowly elliptic, the blades < 30 cm long; flowers in a raceme; the tepals not fleshy; [tribe Convallarieae]
........5 Leaves evergreen, linear-lanceolate, the blades > 40 cm long; flower either solitary, axillary, the tepals fleshy, or flowers in a raceme, the tepals not fleshy.
..........6 Leaves broadly lanceolate, ca. 6× as long as broad; flower solitary, axillary, the tepals fleshy; [tribe Convallarieae]
..........6 Leaves narrowly lanceolate or oblanceolate, ca. 12× as long as broad; flowers in a raceme, the tepals not fleshy; [tribe Dracaeneae]
......4 Leaves many, linear, not variegated with light and dark green; tepals separate (or fused basally), white or violet.
............ 7 Fruit dehiscent, dry and capsular; inflorescence a panicle or raceme, to 15 dm tall; [natives, of longleaf pine woodlands of SC, GA, and FL]; [tribe Nolineae]
............ 7 Fruit indehiscent, quickly exposing berry-like seeds with a fleshy seed coat; inflorescence spikelike, to 4 dm tall; [aliens, naturalized from horticultural plantings]; [tribe Ophiopogoneae].
............ ..8 Flowers erect, the pedicel strict; ovary superior
............ ..8 Flowers nodding, the pedicel recurved; ovary inferior or half-inferior

Key E: angiosperm shrubs and subshrubs with basally-disposed leaves

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1 Leaves giant, either pinnately compound and > 15 dm long, or palmately divided into numerous segments and > 6 dm wide; [Monocots]
1 Leaves small to giant, simple or 3-foliolate; leaves < 9 dm long and < 2 dm wide (except Agave, with leaves < 20 dm long and < 2.5 dm wide); [Eudicots or Monocots].
..2 Leaves linear-lanceolate, flat or channeled or V-shaped in ×-section, > 3 dm long; flowers 3-merous; rosette shrubs; [Monocots].
....3 Leaves 1-25 cm wide; capsules 25-80 mm long
....3 Leaves 0.4-1 cm wide; capsules 4-8 mm long
..2 Leaves either broader in shape or distinctly fleshy and essentially terete in ×-section, < 2 dm long; flowers 5-merous; rosette subshrubs; [Eudicots].
......4 Leaves trifoliolate
......4 Leaves simple.
........5 Leaves toothed; flowers white (to pale pink)
........5 Leaves entire; flowers bright pink.
..........6 Leaves linear, terete in ×-section
..........6 Leaves elliptic, flat in ×-section
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