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Key C - Shrub and Sub-shrub Families and Genera


Multi-stemmed erect plant from 0.5-1.5 m tall but often shorter; leaves small (less than 4 cm long and 2 mm wide) with veins arising from a basal point (palmate), often minutely tri-lobed at the tip or with a wavy margin and with star-like hairs or scales; flowers 5-lobed, tiny (2-7 mm long), variously coloured white, yellow, red or purple; anthers numerous, their bases fused into a tube Lawrencias (Lawrencia)
Mallow Family (Malvaceae)
1Plant not entirely as above2
2Flowers with obvious petals (even if minute) or petal-like segments 3
2Flowers without obvious petals19
3Petals pale coloured (white, cream, pale pink, pale blue or green) 4
3Petals brightly coloured (yellow, purple, red or deep pink) 15
4Flowers of ‘butterfly’ type (one large and broad ‘standard’ petal, two narrow lateral petals and one petal folded into the shape of a boat’s keel) Bokhara Clover (Melilotus albus)
Pea family (Fabaceae)
4Flowers not as above 5
5lower petals fused into a tube (even if it has long lobes) 6
5Flower petals free for all or most of their length 11
6Flower tube long, narrow and orange, petal lobes white, broad and twisted like a ‘windmill-fan’Sea Boxes (Alyxia)
Sea-box Family (Apocynaceae)
6Flowers not as above7
7Tiny flowers in a composite head subtended by whorls of narrow bracts; flower-heads clustered at the ends of branches; leaves (particularly underside) and stems with woolly hairs Coast Everlastings (Ozothamnus)
Daisy Family (Asteraceae)
7Plants not as above8
8Flowers with 4 petals Correas (Correa)
Rue Family (Rutaceae)
8Flowers with 5 petals (or very occasionally four on individuals) 9
9Flowers with purple spots in the throat of the tubeBoobiallas (Myporum)
Boobialla Family (Myporaceae)
9Flowers without purple spotting10
10Flowers softly and densely hairy inside the throat of the tube; berries whiteBeard-heaths (Leucopogon)
Heath Family (Epacridaceae)
10Flowers hairless or very sparsely hairy inside the throat of the tube; berries pink to red Crimson Berries (Leptecophylla)
Heath Family (Epacridaceae)
11Flowers small with five greenish to pale yellowish petals; plants either many-stemmed wiry shrubs with small, early falling leaves or sprawling and scrambling creepers with tough circular to oval shaped leavesLignums (Muehlenbeckia)
Dock Family (Polygonaceae)
11Plants not entirely as above12
12Plants scrambling over other vegetation; four greenish to creamy-white ‘petals’ (actually not true petals but sepals); fruit is an achene with a long plumose feather-like hair, when clustered together form a ball of ‘down’Clematises (Clematis)
Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)
12Plants not as above13
13Flowers ‘daisy-like’ with a ‘ray’ of conspicuous petals Daisy-bushes (Olearia)
Daisy Family (Asteraceae)
13Flowers not ‘daisy-like'14
14Flower petals narrow with hooded tips; plants usually large scrambling shrubs with spiny branch endsDillon Bush (Nitraria billardierei)
Twinleaf Family (Zygophyllaceae)
14Flower petals broad and un-hooded; plants usually small compact bushes, never spiny Sea-heaths (Frankenia)
Sea-heath Family (Frankeniaceae)
15Flowers purple and white; fruit a flattened heart-shaped to circular capsule with a transparent wing Milkworts (Polygala)
Dock Family (Polygonaceae)
15Flowers and fruits not as above 16
16Yellow and red flowers of ‘butterfly’ type (one large and broad ‘standard’ petal, two narrow lateral petals and one petal folded into the shape of a boat’s keel)Eutaxia (Eutaxia)
Pea Family (Fabaceae)
16Yellow flowers but not shaped as above 17
17Flowers tiny and tubular in compound globular heads at the ends of a net-work of criss-crossing branches; plant covered in short, white matted hairs; leaves tiny and lying flat against branches Cushion Bush (Leucophyta)
Daisy Family (Asteraceae)
17Flowers and plants not as above 18
18Flowers ‘daisy-like’ flowers with a ‘ray’ of conspicuous petals Groundsels (Senecio)
Daisy Family (Asteraceae)
18Flowers with 4 petals (not ‘daisy-like’) Twinleafs (Zygophyllum)
Twinleaf Family (Zygophyllaceae)
19Plants with normal flat leaves 20
19Plants without leaves or leaves short, cylindrical and succulent23
20Leaves have rusty-coloured hairs on the underside in contrast to the green upperside Dogwoods (Pomaderris)
Pomaderris Family (Rhamnaceae)
20Leaves are similarly-coloured above and below or paler beneath 21
21Fruits are globular or ovoid capsules, 1 cm dia. below three reddish-green flower parts (branched styles); leaves hairless or slightly pubescent Bitterbush (Adriana)
Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae)
21Fruits are berries or nuts; leaves often mealy (powdery covering) on one or both surfaces 22
22Female flowers and ultimately fruits enclosed by a pair of thickened, often spongy or corky bracteoles (small bracts) Saltbushes (Atriplex)
Saltbush Family (Chenopodiaceae)
22Female flowers without bracteoles; fruits are crimson to red berriesBerry Saltbushes (Rhagodia)
Saltbush Family (Chenopodiaceae)
23Leaves present 24
23Leaves absent or reduced to lobes indistinguishable from stems28
24Fruiting segments consist of 5 free or fused flat wings forming a disk 25
24Fruiting segments not winged 26
25Leaves rounded and succulent Bluebushes (Maireana)
Saltbush Family (Chenopodiaceae)
25Leaves spine-tipped Buckbushes (Salsola)
Saltbush Family (Chenopodiaceae)
26Fruits are yellow, orange or red berries Saltbushes (Enchylaena)
Saltbush Family (Chenopodiaceae)
26Fruits are not obvious berries 27
27Non-woody fruits surrounded by five succulent perianth lobes, subtended by a pair of bracteolesSeablites (Suaeda)
Saltbush Family (Chenopodiaceae)
27Woody fruits surrounded by three thinly succulent perianth lobes, without any subtending bracteoles (Threlkeldia), Saltbush family (Chenopodiaceae)
28Flowers in groups of three between pairs of fused fleshy bracts with one stamen (male part) and two stigmas (females parts) each; plants often woody at the base Samphires (Tecticornia)
Saltbush Family (Chenopodiaceae)
28Flowers in groups of five or more between pairs of fused fleshy bracts with two stamens and two stigmas each; plants rarely woody at the base, though they can appear shrub-like Beadworts (Sarcocornia)
Saltbush Family (Chenopodiaceae)

If the plant you are examining does not appear in this key, try Key B for Trees, as some species may be reduced to shrub size under environmental stress e.g. coastal wind pruning.

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