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Monoecious or dioecious, shrubs or herbs, without stinging hairs. Leaves alternate, sessile or subsessile, distichous; stipules 2; leaf blades simple, usually oblique, often 3-veined, cystoliths linear or fusiform. Inflorescences mostly many-flowered or rarely 1-3-flowered discoid capitula, capitula usually 2-valved, each valve with several glomerules of several flowers and subtended by a few bracteoles. Flowers minute, unisexual. Male flowers: perianth lobes 4 or 5, elliptic, stamens as many as perianth lobes; filaments inflexed in bud; rudimentary pistil small or absent. Female flowers: perianth lobes 4 or 5, free or connate at base; staminodes 3-5, linear; ovary superior, ellipsoid, 1-celled; style absent; stigma penicillate. Fruit an ovoid or fusiform achene, slightly flattened, longitudinally 6-10-ribbed, rarely smooth or tuberculate, enclosed by the tepals. Seeds usually exalbuminous.

Key to the species

Serial Key Reference
1a. Male receptacle sessile or very shorty peduncled 2
1b. Male receptacle usually on long peduncled 8
2a. Leaf base almost equal E. ellipticum
2b. Leaf base very unequal 3
3a. Leaf apex acuminate or caudate 4
3b. Leaf apex rounded or cuspidate E. parvum
4a. Subshrub 5
4b. Herb 6
5a. Leaf blade margin entire or undulate E. integrifolium
5b. Leaf blade margin crenate, denticulate, dentate, or serrate E. platyphyllum
6a. Leaf becomes greenish when dry E. sessile
6b. Leaf becomes brown when dry 7
7a. Leaf margins deeply subpinnatifidly crenate or serrate, nerve beneath glabrous; receptacle 6-8 mm diameter E. subincisum
7b. Leaf margins serrate, nerve beneath strigosely; receptacle 12-25 mm diameter E. rupestre
8a. Bracts of male receptacle rounded, or broadly ovate, none produced into a spur beyond the receptacle 9
8b. Bracts of male receptacle very unequal, 2 or more of the outer spurred or acuminate and produced beyond the others, none produced into a spur beyond the receptacle E. procridioides
9a. Stem quite glabrous 10
9b. Stem tomentose above E. papillosum
10a. Female receptacle sessile E. dissectum
10b. Female receptacle long peduncled E. clarkei