Herbs with jointed stems, alternate, entire leaves furnished with stipules. Flowers in spikes, perfect, naked, having neither corolla nor calyx. Stamens definite. Ovaries 3 to 5, more or less united. Seeds ascending. Embryo enclosed in a sac (amnios), outside of hard, mealy albumen. Fig. 261.
Genera 4, species 7. natives of China and North America, growing in marshes and pools. Properties Unimportant.
SAURU'RUS, L. Lizard-tail. (Gr. , a lizard, a tail; alluding to the form of the inflorescence.) Inflorescence an ament or spike of 1-flowered scales; stamens 6, 7, 8 or more; anthers adnate to the filaments; ovaries 4; berries 4, 1-seeded.- - St. angular. Lvs. cordate, acuminate, petiolate.
S. cernuus Willd. - Common in marshes, U. S. and Can. St. 1 1/2 to 2f high, weak, furrowed. Lvs. 4 to 6' long and half as wide, smooth and glaucous, with prominent veins beneath and on petioles 1 to 2' long. Spikes slender, drooping at summit, longer than the leaf. Scales tubular, cleft above, white. Fls. very small and numerous, sessile, consisting only of the long stamens, and the ovaries with their recurved stigmas. Jl, Aug.