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See list of 6 species in this genus

The basal leaf blades (i.e., those on basal shoots) are formed in the late summer when 
the plants begin to fruit (typically in August), overwinter on the plant, and then senesce when the flowering shoots are produced in the spring and summer. These leaves, which are important for idenfitication, are, unfortunately, absent for part of the growing season when botanical inventories are performed. I have little faith in many of the infraspecific taxa proposed by Hodgdon (1938) as the names appear to represent endpoints in clinal morphological variation (i.e., subtle morphological differences do seem to exist between northern vs. southern or coastal plain vs. inland populations of some Lechea species, 
but morphological gaps are not apparent). References: Hodgdon (1938), Wilbur and Daoud 
(1961), Barringer (2004).

  • 1a. Outer 2 sepals as long as or longer than the inner 3 sepals [Fig. 586]
    • 2a. Pubescence of stem spreading; inner (i.e., wider) sepals with a prominent keel, glabrous except along the keel; seeds lustrous, bright brown to clear yellow, with nearly transparent endosperm, therefore, the embryo clearly visible
    • 2b. Pubescence of stem appressed to ascending; inner sepals with a midrib but without a prominent keel, pubescent [Fig. 586]; seeds dull, varying from light to dark brown, opaque and without a visible embryo or somewhat translucent with a visible, but not conspicuous, embryo in L. tenuifolia
      • 3a. Leaf blades mostly less than 9 times as long as wide, those of the basal shoots broad-elliptic to ovate, 2–4 (–6) mm wide; capsules equaling or slightly exceeding the sepals, the summit of the fruit visible
      • 3b. Leaf blades mostly more than 10 times as long as wide, those of the basal shoots narrow-linear to linear, up to 0.5–1 (–1.5) mm wide; capsules usually slightly shorter than and enclosed by the sepals
  • 1b. Outer 2 sepals up to 60% as long as the inner 3 sepals [Fig. 585]
    • 4a. Leaf blades pubescent across the abaxial surface, those of the basal shoots thick, dull, 1.5–3.5 mm wide; seeds light brown to brown, the endosperm somewhat translucent and the embryo visible
    • 4b. Leaf blades usually pubescent abaxially on the midrib margins only, sometimes nearly glabrous, those of the basal shoots thinner, bright green, 0.7–2 (–2.5) mm wide; seeds light brown to dark brown, opaque, the embryo not visible
      • 5a. Seeds 1–3 (–4) per capsule, compressed-ovoid, brown to dark brown, without an investing membrane; fruiting calyx obovoid, acutely tapering at the base; stem leaf blades with a hardened, yellow to brown, conical apiculus at the apex
      • 5b. Seeds 4–6 per capsule, with 3 faces, the outer face convex (i.e., the seeds shaped like sections of an orange), light brown to brown, irregularly covered by a thin, gray membrane that imparts a reticulate surface to seed; fruiting calyx subglobose, rounded at the base; stem leaf blades merely acute at the apex, without an apiculus

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 Show photos of:   Each photo represents one species in this genus.