Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition

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Keyed in multiple places:

Key G2: woody plants with alternate, simple, palmately lobed leaves

1 Lianas.
..2 Lianas climbing by adventitious roots
..2 Lianas climbing by twining or by tendrils.
....3 Lianas climbing by twining
....3 Lianas climbing by tendrils.
......4 Tendrils branched, leaf-opposed; leaves mostly 5-7-lobed, the margins also serrate or dentate
......4 Tendrils simple (though paired in Smilax in SMILACACEAE), axillary; leaves 3-lobed, the margins entire, serrulate, or prickly.
........5 Leaves longer than wide, entire or prickly-margined; stems armed with prickles; flowers 6-merous, greenish, in umbels borne in leaf axils; tendrils stipular, 2 per leaf axil, adnate to the petiole basally
........5 Leaves wider than long, entire or serrulate; stems not armed; flowers 5-merous, blue-purple or yellow, solitary or in small fascicles in leaf axils; tendrils 1 per leaf axil
1 Trees or shrubs. {add: Vernicia in EUPHORBIACEAE, Firmiana in MALVACEAE, Kalopanax in ARALIACEAE, Ficus in MORACEAE}
..........6 Trees.
............ 7 Leaves > 3 dm long and wide; tree monopodial, with a single, unbranched stem (rarely with a few branches).
............ ..8 Leaf lobes > 15, not sublobed; venation of each lobe parallel; fruit a drupe, with 1 seed; [Monocots]
............ ..8 Leaf lobes < 13, most of these sublobed; venation of each lobe pinnate; fruit either a many-seeded berry or a single-seeded nutlet; [Eudicots].
............ ....9 Petiole attachment marginal; leaf lobes mostly sublobed; fruit a large berry, with many seeds
............ ....9 Petiole attacment peltate; leaf lobes not sublobed; fruit an nutlet, single-seeded
............ 7 Leaves < 3 dm long and wide; tree branching; [Eudicots].
............ ......10 Leaves bilobed (deeply notched at the apex, each lobe, separated by the midvein, asymmetrical; [peninsular FL and s. TX]
............ ......10 Leaves 3-5 (-7) lobed; [collectively widspread].
............ ........11 Leaf blades (3-) 5 (-7) lobed, to 15 cm wide and long, each lobe finely serrate-crenate (>3 teeth per cm of margin) and rarely with a small sub-lobe; multiple fruit spherical and spiky, consisting of multiple bird-beak-like loculicidal capsules; buds axillary
............ ........11 Leaves 3 (-5)-lobed, to 35 cm wide and long, each lobe coarsely toothed or sublobed, the teeth or sublobes (at most 1-2 per cm of margin) attenuate-acuminate; multiple fruit spherical and merely rough on the surface, consisting of multiple achenes with tawny bristles; buds infrapetiolar (completely hidden in the swollen petiole base)
..........6 Shrubs.
............ ..........12 Leaf lobe margins entire (or undulate to sublobed at the tip)
............ ..........12 Leaf lobe margins serrate.
............ ............ 13 Leaves glabrous
............ ............ 13 Leaves pubescent (slightly or strongly).
............ ............ ..14 Pubescence of simple hairs; plants armed or not with nodal spines
............ ............ ....15 Leaves 10-30 cm long and wide; fruit a berry; inflorescence of solitary to a few flowers, or a raceme
............ ............ ....15 Leaves 2-10 cm long and wide; fruit an aggregate of drupelets; inflorescence a cyme
............ ............ ..14 Pubescence of stellate hairs; plants unarmed.
............ ............ ......16 Leaves > 30 cm wide
............ ............ ......16 Leaves < 15 cm wide

Key G3: lianas with alternate, simple, and unlobed leaves

1 Leaves serrate.
..2 Leaf venation palmate, the leaf often lobed or at least pentagonal in shape (as well as serrate); plants climbing by leaf-opposed tendrils
..2 Leaf venation pinnate, the leaf neither lobed nor pentagonal; plants climbing by other mechanisms (see below).
....3 Plants climbing by axillary tendrils; [FL]
....3 Plants climbing by adventitious roots, by twining, or by growing through bark layers of Taxodium ascendens or Chamaecyparis thyoides; [collectively widespread in our region].
......4 Plants climbing by adventitious roots; leaf base cordate or subcordate, and also slightly to strongly oblique
......4 Plants climbing by twining, or by growing through bark layers of Taxodium ascendens or Chamaecyparis thyoides; leaf base cuneate, rounded, or cordate.
........5 Leaves strongly cordate at the base, 7-15 cm wide
........5 Leaves cuneate, rounded, or subcordate at the base, 0.3-8 cm wide.
..........6 Leaf blades mostly 2-6 cm long, 0.3-2 cm wide; plants climbing by growing through bark layers of Taxodium ascendens or Chamaecyparis thyoides
..........6 Leaf blades mostly 6-13 cm long, 3-8 cm wide; plants climbing by twining
1 Leaves entire.
............ 7 Stems with well-developed prickles; tendrils paired, stipular (diverging from the leaf petiole above its base); [Monocots]
............ 7 Stems lacking prickles; tendrils either absent or (if present) not stipular and paired; [Eudicots or Basal Angiosperms].
............ ..8 Plant climbing by dense, reddish adventitious roots
............ ..8 Plant climbing by twining or by tendrils.
............ ....9 Plant climbing by tendrils
............ ....9 Plant climbing by twining.
............ ......10 Leaves elliptic or ovate, obviously longer than broad, most leaves > 1.4× as long as wide; leaf blade base narrowly cuneate, broadly cuneate, rounded, or subcordate.
............ ........11 Leaves 3-8 cm long, rounded to broadly cuneate at the base and rounded or obtuse at the apex; lateral leaf veins straight, parallel, not forking; inflorescence a terminal thyrse or panicle
............ ........11 Leaves 6-15 cm long, cuneate at the base and acuminate at the apex; lateral leaf veins forking at or beyond the middle; inflorescence a solitary, axillary flower
............ ......10 Leaves orbicular to very widely ovate, most leaves < 1.4× as long as wide; leaf blade base deeply cordate, subcordate, rounded, or broadly cuneate
............ ..........12 Leaf venation pinnate, but “pseudopalmate”, with 3 primary veins from the marginal point of attachment of the petiole, the 2 lateral veins then promptly rebranching (< 1 cm from the leaf base) into 2-3 prominent veins (the remainder of the venation pinnate along the midvein); basalmost pair of primary veins exposed (lacking leaf tissue) on their basal side for > 2 mm; leaf blade base deeply cordate; leaf with no tendency to lobing, the leaf outline convex from the base to the apex (except in the immediate vicinity of the petiole and sometimes immediately near a slightly acuminate apex
............ ..........12 Leaf venation palmate, with (3-) 5-9 primary veins from the marginal or peltate point of attachment of the petiole, these primary veins then rebranching well above the leaf base; basalmost pair of primary veins completely included within leaf tissue; leaf blade base cordate, subcordate, rounded, or broadly cuneate; leaf with a tendency to lobing, the leaf outline with 1 or more concave areas between the base and the apex (except Cissampelos of s. FL)

Key M2: monocots with broad leaves

1 Leaves compound.
..2 Plants herbaceous; leaves palmately 3-foliolate or pedately compound
..2 Plants woody; leaves either palmately divided or pinnately compound into > 20 segments
1 Leaves simple.
....3 Leaves opposite or whorled, cauline.
......4 Leaves opposite; flowers bilaterally symmetrical
......4 Leaves whorled; flowers radially or bilaterally symmetrical.
........5 Plant with 2 or more leaf-bearing nodes (all nodes whorled or some alternate).
..........6 Leaves broad, < 2× as long as wide, cordate at the base; flowers unisexual and plants dioecious
..........6 Leaves lanceolate, oblanceolate or narrowly elliptic, > 4× as long as wide, cuneate at the base; flowers bisexual and plants hermaphroditic
........5 Plant with a single leaf-bearing node.
............ 7 Leaves in whorls of 3 leaves
............ 7 Leaves in whorls of 5 or more leaves.
............ ..8 Stem floccose, wiry (and at maturity with a second smaller whorl with usually 3 leaves subtending the flowers); flowers radially symmetrical
............ ..8 Stem glabrous, fleshy, never with a second whorl; flowers bilaterally symmetrical
....3 Leaves alternate, either cauline or basal.
............ ....9 Inflorescence a spadix (a dense spike of hundreds of flowers, the rachis thickened and somewhat fleshy) subtended by a spathe (a green, white, orange, yellowish-green, or maroon bract) (spathe missing in Orontium)
............ ....9 Inflorescence otherwise, a raceme, panicle, cyme, umbel, spike, etc., the flowers arrayed in a more diffuse manner, the central rachis not thickened, the inflorescence subtended or not by green or scarious spathes.
............ ......10 Flowers bilaterally symmetrical or asymmetrical; fertile stamens 1 or 2 (or 5 in MUSACEAE), often with several staminodes present as well; tepals 6.
............ ........11 Leaf venation parallel; leaves various in size and shape, if > 3 dm long, then < 1 dm wide; perianth often differentiated into a lip and 5 petaloid tepals
............ ........11 Leaf venation prominently penni-parallel; leaves large, at least some on a plant with blade > 2 dm long.
............ ..........12 Fertile stamens 5-6; leaf blades 6-30 dm long
............ ..........12 Fertile stamen 1; leaf blades 0.5-7 dm long.
............ ............ 13 Leaves spirally arranged.
............ ............ ..14 Leaves lacking ligules; ovary and fruit with warty excrescences
............ ............ ..14 Leaves with 2 stipule-like ligules; ovary and fruit smooth
............ ............ 13 Leaves 2-ranked.
............ ............ ....15 Leaves jointed and swollen at the summit of the petiole
............ ............ ....15 Leaves neither jointed not swollen at the summit of the petiole
............ ......10 Flowers radially symmetrical (weakly to strongly bilaterally symmetrical in PONTEDERIACEAE); stamens 6 (rarely 3, 4, 5, 9, 12, 15, or 18); tepals usually 6 (rarely 3 or 4), when 6, either undifferentiated (6 or 4 tepals) or differentiated into 3 petals and 3 sepals.
............ ............ ......16 Inflorescence subtended by spathes (well-developed green or scarious bracts).
............ ............ ........17 Perianth not differentiated, consisting of 6 similarly colored and shaped tepals; flowers strongly to slightly bilaterally symmetrical; inflorescence lacking well-developed spathaceous bracts
............ ............ ........17 Perianth differentiated into green sepals and more brightly colored petals; flowers radially symmetrical (or weakly bilaterally symmetrical, as in some Commelina).
............ ............ ..........18 Ovary superior; fruit a capsule; stamens 6; [plants mainly of uplands (Murdannia and sometimes Commelina of wetlands)]
............ ............ ..........18 Ovary inferior; fruit a berry; stamens 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, or 18; [plants of wetlands]
............ ............ ......16 Inflorescence not subtended by spathes, though individual small green bracts sometimes subtending individual flowers.
............ ............ ............ 19 Perianth differentiated into green sepals and white petals; gynoecium of 2 or more pistils, each pistil consisting of 1 carpel and with 1 stigma; fruit an aggregate of achenes or follicles; inflorescence a raceme or panicle with branching in whorls of 3; [wetland plants]
............ ............ ............ 19 Perianth not differentiated into strikingly different whorls (at most, with only subtle variation in the size or shape of the outer and inner whorls of the perianth); gynoecium of 1 pistil, with 2-6 stigmas; fruit simple, a capsule or berry; inflorescence various, terminal or axillary, but if a raceme or panicle, not with branching in whorls of 3; [upland (or very rarely wetland) plants].
............ ............ ............ ..20 Leaves basal or basally disposed.
............ ............ ............ ....21 Leaves 2 (rarely 3 in Convallaria in RUSCACEAE).
............ ............ ............ ......22 Inflorescence a raceme; fruit a berry; tepals united, the perianth urceolate
............ ............ ............ ......22 Inflorescence an umbel or a solitary flower; fruit a capsule; tepals separate or basally fused.
............ ............ ............ ........23 Flowers in an umbel, white; fresh plants with oniony odor
............ ............ ............ ........23 Flowers solitary, white or yellow; fresh plants without strong odor
............ ............ ............ ....21 Leaves 4 or more.
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Inflorescence a terminal umbel; fruit a blue or black berry; tepals white or yellow; flowers bisexual
............ ............ ............ ..........24 Inflorescence a terminal raceme or panicle; fruit a capsule; tepals white, green, yellowish, or pink; flowers either bisexual (Helonias in HELONIADACEAE), or unisexual and primarily on different plants (dioecious) (Chamaelirium in CHIONOGRAPHIDACEAE), or a mix of bisexual and unisexual staminate flowers (Veratrum in MELANTHIACEAE)
............ ............ ............ ............ 25 Inflorescences bracteate, with bracts subtending individual pedicels and (if they are present) branches of the inflorescence; tepals white, greenish-white, or cream
............ ............ ............ ............ 25 Inflorescence ebracteate, lacking bracts subtending pedicels; flowers bisexual (Helonias) or predominantly unisexual and on different plants (dioecious) (Chamaelirium); tepals pink (Helonias) or white to cream (Chamaelirium).
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Flowers white to cream; plants dioecious (individual plants either male or female, with all male flowers or all female flowers)
............ ............ ............ ............ ..26 Flowers pink; plants hermaphroditic (individual flowers bisexual)
............ ............ ............ ..20 Leaves cauline.
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Leaves both cordate/subcordate (rarely merely rounded at the base) and obviously petiolate.
............ ............ ............ ............ ......28 Inflorescence an axillary many-flowered umbel; fruit a berry; axillary tendrils often present (absent in some species)
............ ............ ............ ............ ......28 Inflorescence an axillary solitary flower, a few-flowered cyme, or a panicle; fruit a capsule (winged in Dioscorea, unwinged in Croomia); axillary tendrils never present (plant not climbing, or climbing by twining).
............ ............ ............ ............ ........29 Tepals 6; stamens 6; flowers unisexual (and generally on separate plants, therefore dioecious); inflorescence of a solitary flowers or a panicle; ovary inferior; [widespread in our area]
............ ............ ............ ............ ........29 Tepals 4 (-5); stamens 4 (-5); flowers bisexual; ovary superior; [AL and adjacent GA, FL, and perhaps LA]
............ ............ ............ ............ ....27 Leaves not both cordate/subcordate and petiolate (some with cordate clasping or perfoliate leaf bases). {add [Smilax] SMILACACEAE below}
............ ............ ............ ............ ..........30 Leaves alternate and in whorls at some nodes; flowers orange; tepals > 5 cm long; inflorescence a terminal umbel or single flower
............ ............ ............ ............ ..........30 Leaves strictly alternate; flowers yellow, white, pink, greenish, or maroon; tepals < 5 cm long; inflorescence either a terminal cluster, raceme, panicle or umbel, or an axillary raceme, cluster or solitary flower.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 31 Inflorescence a terminal umbel; flowers slightly zygomorphic, reddish, the tepals 3.5-4.5 cm long
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 31 Inflorescence either a terminal cluster, raceme, or panicle, or an axillary raceme, cluster or solitary flower; flowers actinomorphic, variously colored (most white or yellow), the tepals < 3.5 cm long (except Uvularia grandiflora).
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..32 Leaves arrayed spirally around an erect, unbranched stem; fruit a septicidal capsule; flowers a mixture of bisexual and unisexual (staminate) on a plant; perianth greenish white
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ....33 Leaves basally disposed; leaves not at all to slightly plicate, 1-14 cm wide; tepals glabrous, 4-9 mm long, 1-3 mm wide (3-5 mm wide in M. hybridum), with either conspicuous (M. hybridum) or diffuse
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ....33 Leaves cauline; leaves strongly plicate, 6-15 cm wide; tepals pubescent, 8-13 mm long, 3-5 mm wide, with a conspicuous pair of glands near the base of the tepal blade (these sometimes more or less fused); filaments free from the tepals
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..32 Leaves arrayed distichously (2 ranked) along an arching, unbranched or dichotomously (Y-forking) branched stem; fruit a berry or loculicidal capsule; flowers all bisexual; perianth white, pink, or yellow.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ......34 Stems of fertile individuals simple (never branched); inflorescence a terminal raceme or panicle (Maianthemum) or axillary racemes or clusters of 1-9 flowers (Polygonatum); fruit a berry.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ........35 Inflorescence terminal, a raceme or panicle; tepals separate; leaves with 3 main parallel veins, acute to acuminate at the apex; foliage green, not glaucous
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ........35 Inflorescence of 1-several axillary flowers; tepals fused; leaves with > 7 main parallel veins, obtuse to acute at the apex; foliage blue-green, glaucous
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ......34 Stems of fertile individuals branched (always at least bifurcate); inflorescence either of 1 (-2) flower(s) borne in a leaf axil (Uvularia, Streptopus), or of (1) 2 (-3) flowers borne terminally opposite the last leaf; fruit a berry or capsule.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..........36 Leaves perfoliate; fruit a capsule
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..........36 Leaves sessile (though sometimes slightly to strongly clasping); fruit a berry or capsule.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 37 Stem brown, wiry, puberulent; distalmost 2 leaves on each branch approximate to one another (sometimes subopposite) and with noticeably oblique bases; flowers and fruits terminal on the branches
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ 37 Stem green, not wiry, glabrous; distalmost 2 leaves on each branch no closer together than other leaves, with symmetrical bases; flowers (and fruits) either terminal on the branches or solitary and axillary to most leaves.
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..38 Flowers and fruits in single terminal clusters (sometimes appearing axillary, but still only one cluster per branch of the stem); tepals pale to rich yellow
............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ............ ..38 Flowers and fruits 1 (-2) in the axils of many leaves; tepals white to pink