Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, annual; stems unbranched or branched. Leaves pinnate, fascicled or almost whorled at top of stem, sometimes sensitive; petioles swollen at base; leaflets opposite, terminal pair mostly different from rest. Flowers terminal, in usually peduncled, bracteate, pseudo-umbels. Sepals 5, lanceolate, acuminate. Petals 5. Stamens 10; filaments free, 5 outer smaller. Styles 5; stigmas terminal, crenate to bifid; ovules 3 - 6 per locule alternating in 2 rows. Capsules ovoid or oblong, splitting loculicidally to base into 5 spreading valves; seeds with explosive aril.

Pantropical, ca 70 species, 12 in India.


1a. Stems usually branched 2
b. Stems usually unbranched 8
2a. Leaflets more than 30 pairs 9. Biophytum polyphyllum
b. Leaflets less than 30 pairs 3
3a. Leaflets 4 - 15 pairs 4
b. Leaflets 15 - 30 pairs 6
4a. Stems long and slender, prostrate, copiously dichotomously branched from a rootstock 10. Biophytum proliferum
b. Stems not as above 5
5a. Bracts 5 - 8 mm long 4. Biophytum longibracteatum
b. Bracts much less than 5 mm 2. Biophytum insignis
6a. Plants often umbellately branched; branches not arching from woody rootstock 7
b. Planls not umbellately branched; branches long and arching from woody rootstock 3. Biophytum intermedium
7a. Leaf-scars prominent, persistent; leaflets densely strigose below; peduncles shorter than leaves 1. Biophytum congestiflorum
b. Leaf-scars not prominent; leaflets faintly hairy and glaucous below; peduncles longer than leaves 7. Biophytum nudum
8a. Bracts very conspicuous, 5 - 8 mm long 4. Biophytum longibracteatum
b. Bracts not very conspicuous, much less than 5 mm long 9
9a. Seeds with two longitudinal ridges with transverse rows of tubercles in between 8. Biophytum petersianum
b. Seeds spirally, obliquely or transversely ridged and or tuberculate 10
10a. Leaflets conspicuously nerved beneath 6. Biophytum nervifolium
b. Leaflets not conspicuously nerved beneath 11
11a. Sepals almost as long as petals 12
b. Sepals about half as long as petals 11. Biophytum reinwardtii
12a. Sepals longer than pedicels 12. Biophytum sensitivum
b. Sepals shorter than pedicels 5. Biophytum longipedunculatum

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