Your gateway to a wide range of natural resources information and associated maps

Victorian Resources Online

Key to Spergularia species

Spergularia is a genus of about 40 species found widely around the world and common to coastal and inland flats that are subject to flooding. The following dichotomous key deals with the species likely to be found in saline environments in Victoria. The key works by selecting one of the two choices given for each pair of descriptions, which lead to either another pair of descriptions or the identification of your species. Note that because of the wide variation in some characters within the same species, there may be exceptions to the rules of the key.

1.Perennial with a thick, woody taproot
1.Annual or biennial with a slender, fleshy taproot
2.Leaves prominently awned (with a tiny bristle at the apex), at least upper leaves hairy; stipules 6-8 mm long; capsules 3.4-5 mm long
2.Leaves acute to mucronate or very shortly awned, leaves usually hairless; stipules 2.5-3.5 mm long; capsules 4.5-9 mm long
3.Petals white and distinctly shorter than sepals at maturity and sepals without dark basal spots; seeds red-brown to dark brown, rather smooth and winged
Spergularia villosa
(Hairy Sand-spurrey)
3.Petals pink and more or less equal to sepals and sepals with dark basal spots; seeds very dark grey to jet black but occasionally yellow-brown to grey-brown, coarsely papillose, unwinged
Spergularia brevifolia
(Short-stem Sand-spurrey)
4.Petals about 4 mm long and noticeably shorter than sepals; seeds black and warty
Spergularia tasmanica
(Tasmanian Sand-spurrey)
4.Petals about 5-6 mm long and slightly longer than sepals; seeds red-brown and more or less smooth
Spergularia media
(Coast Sand-spurrey)
5.Mature seeds very dark brown to black with a metallic lustre
Spergularia diandra
(Lesser Sand-spurrey)
5.Mature seeds pale grey brown to dark or orange brown without a metallic lustre
6.Leaf apex obtuse and never awned; base of sepals with prominent purple-black dots
Spergularia marina
(Lesser Sea-spurrey)
6.Leaf apex mucronate to prominently awned; base of sepals usually without purple-black dots or with pale or obscure dots
7.Leaves strongly clustered, long-awned; stipules silvery; petals uniformly pink; stamens usually 10
Spergularia rubra
(Red Sand-spurrey)
7.Leaves not strongly clustered, mucronate or shortly-awned; stipules not silvery; petals white or pink inside; stamens usually 2-5
Spergularia bocconei
(Boccone’s Sand-spurrey)
Page top