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Small perennial herbs, prostrate to ascending, often rooting at the nodes, mainly branched at the base. Leaves opposite, or in 4, rarely in 2 rows, rarely subverticillate, simple, entire to dentate. Flowers polygamous, rarely monoecious, 4-merous, in axillary congested clusters of 1-11 flowers, consisting out of 1 ♂ and 2-10 ♀ and/or 1 ☿ and 2-10 ♀, rarely with either 1-3 ♂ or 1-7 ♀ flowers. Fruit nut-like, pericap hard, enlarging to fruit-size long before the seed is set.


Africa present, Asia-Tropical: Jawa (Jawa present); Sumatera (Sumatera present), Ceylon present, Madagascar present, Réunion present, S. Africa present, S. India present, S. Madagascar present, South America present
Four spp., 1 in S. Africa, 1 in S. Madagascar and Reunion, 1 in Africa, Madagascar and eastern South America, and 1 in S. India, Ceylon, Sumatra and Java. .


The genus has been subdivided into 3 subgenera by RAYNAL. I refrain from any subdivision as the differential characters used for this purpose occur also in Myriophyllum and also in Haloragis in which they have not been attributed such high classificatory value. I certainly agree with RAYNAL in a rigid reduction of species proposed by SCHINDLER.
The Indo-Malesian species differs from the others in possessing 8 stamens, and in the central flower being very long-pedicelled and normally ♂.


Miq. 1855 – In: Fl. Ind. Bat. p 631
KAN. 1882: p. 377. – In: Mart. Fl. Bras. t. 68
SCHINDL. 1905 – In: Pfl. R. p 61
HASSK. 1844: Cat. Hort. Bog. p 86
A. RAYNAL 1965 – In: Webbia. p 683