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MODIOLA, Moench.

Involucellum 3-phyllum persistens. Stamina 10-20. Stigmata terminalis introrsum subcapita. Fructus polycoccus; carpellis reniformibus, dorso cuspidatis, apice 2-valvibus, ab axi secendentibus, intus processu septiformi transverse divisis, locellis monospermis. Radicula centripeto-infera. - Herbæ humifusæ.

MODIOLA, Moench. Meth. p. 620. Adr. Juss. in St. Hil. Fl. Bras. 1. p 210. t. 43. Torr. & Gray, Fl. N. Am. 1. p. 228.
MALVÆ Sect. MODIOLA, DC. Prodr. 1. p. 435

CALYX involucellate with three foliaceaous and persistent bracts, five-parted, persistent; the segments valvate in æstivation, PETALS 5, obovate, convolute in æstivation, their claws united with the base of the stamineal column. STAMENS 10 to 20, monadelphous nearly to the summit in an urceolate column; the short FILAMENTS in a single series, when only ten in number united in pairs so as to form five forked phalanges; when more numerous with separate filaments interposed: ANTHERS reniform, or somewhat didymous and at first two-celled. OVARIES 14 to 20, united in a ring around a central receptacle, each divided in the middle by a kind of transverse partition, the chambers each one-ovuled: STYLES united below, subclavate: STIGMAS terminal but introrse, oblong-capitate. OVULES 2 in each carpel, amphitropous, peritropous, the micropyle of both inferior.

FRUIT a depressed ring of rather coriaceous carpels, which at maturity separate from each other and from the dilated central receptacle; each strongly reniform, cuspidate on the back, two-valved at the top, two-seeded, the seeds separated by the valve-like process which forms a transverse partition, or, the upper seed sometimes abortive. SEEDS reniform. EMBYRO in fleshy albumen, arcuate: COTYLEDONS foliaceous, cordate, plaited together and infolded: RADICLE centripetal-inferior, or in the lower seed, from the strong incurvature of the base of the carpel, more or less ascending.

HERBS, usually procumbent and spreading or creeping, hirsute with simple hairs, with alternate palmately-lobed and incisely-toothed leaves, somewhat adnate stipules, and small purplish [1] flowers on solitary and simple axillary peduncles, which are articulated near the apex.

ETYMOLOGY. From modiolus, a little measure, alluding to the shape of the fruit. [2]

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION. A genus of a few [3] humble weeds belonging to the warmer parts of Eastern America, from Virginia to Buenos Ayres.

NOTE. The union of the short filaments in phalanges, as described and figured in A. St. Hilaire's Flora Brasiliensis, is barely observable in M. Caroliniana (M. multifida, Moench). The radicle is inferior in both seeds.

[1] The flowers are more commonly described as red or orange-red.
[2] Elsewhere the generic name is referred to modiolus in the sense of the hub of a wheel, which I find a more plausible allusion to the shape of the fruit.
[3] The genus as currently understood is monotypic; all other described species are sunk in M. caroliniana or transferred to Modiolastrum (or perhaps other genera).

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