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Published In: Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, des plantes 8: 177. 1804. (Hist. Nat. Pl.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
Contributor Text: M. QAISER & S. M. H. JAFRI
Contributor Institution: Herbarium Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi.
General/Distribution: The family has c. 37 genera and nearly 600 species, chiefly distributed in tropical and subtropical regions; represented in Pakistan by 6 genera and 14 species.
Comment/Acknowledgements: Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under P.L. 480. Thanks are also due to Mr. B.L. Burtt and Mr. I.C. Hedge, of the Royal Bot. Gard. Edinburgh, for helpful suggestions.


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Sprawling to erect, mostly perennial and succulent herbs, with nodose or jointed stems, often brittle and with fibrous roots. Leaves alternate, rarely falsely whorled, often sheathing at base and entire. Inflorescence mostly condensed cymes, often subtended by involucral bracts or cymbiform spathes, lateral or axillary, rarely solitary or apparently fascicled. Flowers usually hermaphrodite, sometimes polygamous or cleistogamous, 3-merous, regular to irregular, mostly white, blue or pinkish. Perianth 2-seriate; outer 3 sepaloid, free, green to whitish, sometimes membranous, often persistent; inner 3 petaloid, one often larger than the other two, free, united below, ephemeral, decaying or deciduous, mostly ovate. Stamens 6, in 2 whorls, sometimes 2-4 reduced to staminodes, free, epipetalous or adnate to petal bases; filaments often bearded; anthers dithecous, often dissimilar, with broad or narrow connectives, dehiscing longitudinally, rarely by basal pores. Pistil 3-carpellary, syncarpous, 2-3-locular, with 1-several, orthotropous ovules in axile placentas; style simple, terminal with capitate or 3-fid stigmas. Fruit a capsule, sometimes enclosed by fleshy sepals, dehiscent to indehiscent; seeds usually angular, arillate, often muricate, ridged or reticulate with a punctiform or linear scar, usually with copious mealy endosperm and minute embryo beneath an embryotega (disc-like structure).

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1.Stamens 6, all perfect
2.Petals free. Stem short and thick crowded with long, sublanceolate leaves
2.Petals connate or forming a tube below. Stem often elongated and thin, usually with distant small leaves
3.Plants not brittle, green. Cymes often subtended by biseriate or irregularly congested bracteoles, axillary or terminal
3.Plants brittle, often variegated, purplish or green. Cymes terminal, with or without a distinct pair of bracts present below
4.Petals forming a conspicuous tube below. Leaves usually with variegated lines on upper surface
4.Petals shortly connate or cohering at base. Leaves without variegated lines
1.Stamens 3 perfect; staminodes 1-3
5.Inflorescence usually lax, panicled; bracts not spathaceous. Petals equal. Stamen filaments bearded
5.Inflorescence short, condensed, ± enclosed within spathaceous bract. Petals unequal. Stamen filaments glabrous
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