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Key D: Dicotyledon (Forbs) Families or Genera


Flower ‘daisy-like’ (central ‘eye’ and ray of flat ‘petals’)a2
1Flower not ‘daisy-like’3
2Plant with succulent stems and leaves Pigface Family (Aizoaceae)b
2Plant without succulent stems and leaves4 Daisy Family (Asteraceae)d
3Flowers in a compound head made up of many small individual flowers subtended (supported at the base) by a whorl or whorls of overlapping bracts Daisy Family (Asteraceae)d
3Flowers not as above 4
4Flower with obvious white or coloured petals or petal-like segments (even if minute and tubular) 5
4Flower without obvious petals 32
5Flower 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) Pea Family (Fabaceae)f
5Flower not as above 6
6Flowers clustered in a cylindrical spike 7
6Flowers not clustered in a cylindrical spike9
7Flower spike slender, more or less drooping; flowers pink, pale pink or white; leaves flat, not fleshy (mainly inland) Knotweeds (Persicaria)
Dock Family (Polygonaceae)
7Flower spike broad and erect; flowers creamy white, white or pale yellow; leaves somewhat fleshy or succulent (mainly near coastal) 8
8Flowers pale yellow or white in a dense, tall spike; leaves and stems bright yellow-greenSalt Lawrencia (Lawrencia spicata)
Mallow family (Malvaceae)
8Flowers creamy white in a dense, short spike; leaves thick, semi-succulent and spoon-shaped Coast Stackhousia
Stackhousia spathulata)

Stackhousia Family (Stackhousiaceae)
9Flower yellow or green10
9Flower not yellow or green 14
10Plant with succulent stems and leaves; often climbing and sprawling over other vegetation Sea Spinaches (Tetragonia)
Pigface Family (Aizoaceae)
10Plant without succulent stems and leaves or if at all succulent, then not climbing and sprawling 11
11Flower irregular (petals are not all the same size and shape) Goodenias (Goodenia)
Goodenia Family (Goodeniaceae)
11Flower regular (petals are all the same size and shape and arranged uniformly around a central axis) 12
12Flower with more than 4 petals; fruit a compound head of achenes (single seeded fruits which do not split on drying)Buttercups (Ranunculus)
Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)
12Flower with 4 petals; fruit not a compound head of achenes 13
13Fruit a four-winged dry capsule; leaves flattened and divided into two oblong leaflets Twinleafs (Zygophyllum)
Twinleaf family (Zygophyllaceae)
13Fruit long and pod-like, internally divided lengthways into two compartments by a membrane to which the seeds are attached (siliqua); leaves toothed or lobed Cress Family (Brassicaeae)g
14Flower to 13 mm long, pinkish-purple to white at the end of a long tube; fruit a cylindrical capsule opening into 4-parts from the tip down, exposing the long haired seedsWillow-herbs (Epilobium)
Willow-herb Family (Onagraceae)
14Flower and fruit not as above15
15Flower petals white, extending beyond a purplish or greyish veined, broad, inflated, bladder-like calyxBladder Campion (Silene vulgaris)
Chickweed Family (Caryophyllaceae)
15Flower without a bladder-like calyx16
16Leaves rather thick but not fleshy, often softly hairy, circular or ovoid (egg-shaped) and variously lobed and finely toothed, veined from a basal point (palmate), surface often undulating 17
16Leaves not entirely as above 18
17Often forming densely leafed, small bush-like plants to 50 cm tall; fruit a dry capsule, separating into 5-parts, each with a long-awned seed, the awns separating and curling as they mature (a child’s ‘tick-tock’) Geraniums and Pelagoniums
Geranium, Pelagonium)
Geranium Family (Geraniaceae)
17Perennial plants to 4 m tall; fruit a dry capsule separating into 12-15 awnless parts and resembling tiny pumpkins when green Australian Hollyhock (Malva preissiana)
Mallow Family (Malvaceae)
18Flower irregular (petals are not all the same size and shape or arranged uniformly) 19
18Flower regular (petals are all the same size and shape and arranged uniformly around a central axis) 21
19Flower with broad lobes, purple, mauve or blue (sometimes pink), often with a yellow and white throat Mazus and Monkey-flowers
Mazus, Mimulus)
Speedwell Family (Scrophulariaceae)
19Flower with narrow and pointed or rounded star-like lobes, white, pale-mauve or blue or blue-tinged 20
20Flower fan-like (petals all to one side); leaves spoon-shaped, thick and fleshy to 10 cm long Swamp Weed (Selliera radicans)
Goodenia Family (Goodeniaceae)
20Flower with 3 petals (lobes) on one side and 2 on the other; leaves not thick or fleshy or if so, then not spoon-shaped and less than 4 cm long Lobelias (Lobelia)
Blue-bell Family (Campanulaceae)
21Flower9 pink or pinkish-white with loose hairs on the outer surface; prostrate, creeping plant forming a mat; leaves and stems covered in very short fine hairsGalenia (Galenia)
Pigface Family (Aizoaceae)
21Plant not entirely as above22
22Small semi-succulent, reddish-green plant with erect or trailing stems from 10-20 cm long and minute leaves, 1-3 mm wide and less than 20 mm long; minute flowers 1-2 mm Crassulas (Crassula)
Stonecrop Family (Crassulaceae)
22Plant not as above23
23Flower with 4 petals24
23Flower with 5 petals (sometimes deeply divided) 25
24Flower white, 2-3 mm long, consisting of a tube with 4 deep lobes; leaves shiny, less than 2 cm long, pointed, arranged in whorlsAsperulas (Asperula)
Coprosma Family (Rubiaceae)
24Flowers white, pink or lavender, 1-8 mm long, consisting of free petals; leaves dull, to 7 cm long and usually lobed Cress Family (Brassicaceae)g
25Leaves and stems succulent or fleshy 26
25Leaves and stems not succulent or fleshy 27
26Petals free, alternate with sepals; flowers pink, lilac or white Sand-spurreys (Spergularia)
Chickweed Family (Caryophyllaceae)i
26Petals fused into a tube with lobes at the tip; flowers white or creamy white or occasionally creamy yellow Wilsonias (Wilsonia)
Morning Glory Family (Convolvulaceae)
27Flowers pink, red, orange or blue 28
27Flowers white (or occasionally pink in Creeping Brookweed) 29
28Erect plant to 45 cm tall with small stalkless leaves 1-3 cm long; flowers bright pink and star-like Spiked Centuary (Schenkia spicata)
Gentian Family (Gentianaceae)
28Low growing plant with creeping stems; flowers orange or blue (sometimes red or pink)Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)
Primrose Family (Primulaceae)
29Petals shortly or deeply divided from the tip Chickweeds (Cerastium, Stellaria)
Chickweed Family (Caryophyllaceae)
29Petals undivided 30
30Petals free Creeping Brookweed (Samolus repens)
Primrose Family (Primulaceae)
30Petals fused into a tube with free lobes at the tip 31
31Perennial plant with a strong taproot and prostrate to erect stems; leaves bluish-green, undivided Rosinweed (Cressa australis)
Morning Glory Family (Convolvulaceae)
31Annual or perennial plants with prostrate to sprawling stems; leaves green to yellow-green, much divided Wild Celeries (Apium)
Parsley Family (Apiaceae)
32Flower-head consist of a green, cup-shaped receptacle containing four crescent-shaped glands with short horns and a female flower surrounded by male flowers with their yellow anthers (sand dunes and estuaries) Sea Spurge (Euphorbia paralias)
Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae)
32Flower-head not as above 33
33Flower-head globular, greenish-white; fruiting head globular, 20-25 mm dia. covered in 10 mm reddish-brown spines with a hooked tip; leaves dark shiny green, made up of 7-9 toothed leafletsBidgee-widgee
Acaena novae-zelandiae)

Rose Family (Rosaceae)
33Flowers, fruits and leaves not as above 34
34Plants with a basal rosette of leaves and strong taproots 35
34Plants without an obvious basal rosette of leaves; roots various 36
35Flowers often arranged in whorls on loose spikes or panicles and consisting of 6 perianth segments, the inner 3 often enlarging and thickening in fruit and having marginal teeth; leaves both in a basal rosette and along the stemsDocks (Rumex)
Dock Family (Polygonaceae)
35Flowers in a dense cylindrical spike; sepals and petals membranous, the latter forming a small tube with 4 lobes; leaves confined to a basal rosette (typical Flat Weeds) Plantains (Plantago)
Plantain Family (Plantaginaceae)
36Prostrate, scrambling or mat-forming plant, rooting at the stem nodes; flower-heads are white or brownish-white, near-globular clusters 4-8 mm dia. in the leaf axils; perianth segments are 2-3 mm long, pointed and stiff papery Lesser Joyweed
Alternanthera denticulata)

Redroot Family (Amaranthaceae)
36Plants not entirely as above37
37Leaves absent or reduced to lobes indistinguishable from stems Beadworts (Sarcocornia)
Saltbush Family Chenopodiaceae)
37Leaves present 38
38Leaves flat, fleshy or non-fleshy and rhombic, triangular, ovate or hastate (pointed tip with two pointed lobes at the base) 39
38Leaves short, often cylindrical and succulent40
39Female flowers and ultimately fruits enclosed by a pair of thickened, often spongy or corky bracteoles (small bracts) Saltbushes (Atriplex)
Saltbush Family Chenopodiaceae)
39Female flowers without spongy or corky bracteoles Saltbushes (Chenopodium)
Saltbush Family Chenopodiaceae)
40Non-woody fruits surrounded by five succulent perianth lobes, subtended by a pair of bracteoles (small bracts)Seablites (Suaeda)
Saltbush Family Chenopodiaceae)
40Woody fruits surrounded by five dry perianth lobes, without any subtending bracteoles Bonefruits (Osteocarpum)
Saltbush Family Chenopodiaceae)

If plants are young, they may not have yet developed their woody or tough character and as such, you may need to check Key C for Shrubs and Sub-shrubs.
aFlower petals of the Daisy Family are actually individual flowers, whereas those in the Pigface Family are not true petals but sterile stamens or staminoides.
bSee Key to Pigfaces for further determination of species in this group.
cOne exception with semi-succulent leaves is Hardhead Daisy (Brachyscome lineariloba) from the Mallee but it usually has less than 10 ‘petals’, whereas flowers in the Pigface family have many more.
dThe Daisy Family has many representatives in Salinity Indicator Plants, but a key to the separation of genera or species is complicated and rather specialist. However, one group (Tribe: Lactuceae) consists of plants with typical ‘daisy-like’ yellow flowers, a basal rosette of leaves and a milky juice (latex) exuded from broken stems and a Key for Yellow Daisy Flat Weeds has been developed.
eThe Groundsels are in a genus (Senecio) of the Daisy Family in which there are species with (e.g. Variable Groundsel) and without (e.g. Annual Fireweed) typical ‘daisy-like’ ray petals. As a genus, their flower-heads are distinguished from other genera by being subtended by one main and very even whorl of bracts (although an outer or whorl or partial whorl of much smaller and more loosely arranged bracts is often present), rather than a series of overlapping whorls. Leaves are often (but not always) toothed or lobed.
fSee Key to Common Annual Clovers to determine species in the genus Trifolium.
gAlthough the Cress Family is rather large (Mustards, Rockets and Cresses), only a handful of species are likely to be encountered in coastal or wetland environments as most are weeds of cultivation or waste-land. The species included in Salinity Indicator Plants include those in the genera Brassica (Mediterranean Turnip), Cakile (Sea Rocket), Diplotaxis (Sand Rocket) and Hymenolobus (Oval Purse). All the species in the Family are distinguished by their four petals (most often yellow or white) and two-compartmentalised capsules.
hThe ‘petals’ of Galenia are not true petals but perianth segments.
iSee Key to Spergularia species for further detail.

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