Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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J. L. Ellis and N. P. Balakrishnan

Herbs, annual or perennial, erect or ascending, decumbent, or straggling, sometimes scandent, glabrous, often glaucous, containing watery sap; roots often tuberous. Leaves usually alternate, radical or upper ones sometimes opposite or subopposite, exstipulate; radical leaves in rosettes, rarely simple or pinnate, 1 - 3 pinnatisect or 1 - 3 ternatisect; cauline leaves much divided or dissected. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, hypogynous, generally pedicellate and bracteate, usually in terminal leaf-opposed racemes or spikes or in dichasial cymes (Hypecoum) or corymbs (Dicentra). Sepals 2, free, small, scarious, scale-like, caducous. Petals 4, erect, imbricate, biseriate, coherent in dimorphic pairs; outer pair larger, convex or apically cucullate, one or both saccate or spurred at base, often crested outside; inner pair smaller, narrower, crested outside, sometimes apically connate and hooded over stigma; petal-spur enclosing a nectarife-rous gland. Stamens 4, free and opposite to petal or 6, diadelphous, connate in 2 bundles (phalanges) opposite to outer petals with filaments connate almost from base to top; anthers small, linear, bilocular or dimorphic with central anther of each bundle 2-loculed and two lateral ones 1-loculed, covering stigma. Ovary superior, 1-loculed with 2 carpels; ovules 1-many on 2 parietal placentae, bitegmic, crassinucellar, anatropous or campylotropous; style 1, slender; stigmas 2, apical, capitate or flattened with 2,4 or 8 stigmatic surfaces. Fruits usually capsular, 2-valved, often with transverse septa (replum), ellipsoid or linear, valvately dehiscing or breaking into 1-seeded indehiscent segments or a 1-seeded indehiscent nutlet. Seeds 1-many, sometimes with arillate raphe, attached to style, reniform, orbicular, black or grey, shiny; embryo small, linear, straight or curved; cotyledons twice as wide as radicle; endosperm copious.

Temperate, alpine and warm regions of northern hemisphere and highlands of S. Africa and Asia; ca 16 genera and 450 species, 4 genera and 65 species in India.

Literature. JAFRI, S. M. H. (1974) Fumariaceae. In: Nasir, E. & S.I. Ali (cd.) Fl. W. Pakistan 73: 1 - 43. RYDBERG, M. (1960) A morphological study of the Fumariaceae and the taxonomic significance of the characters examined. Act. Hort. Berg. 19: 121 - 248, tt. 1 - 12. WENDELBO, P. (1974) Fumariaceae. In: K.H. Rechinger (ed.) Flora Iranica 110; 1 - 32, tt. 1 - 22.

Notes. Hypecoum is included in Fumariaceac following the delimitation of the families as adopted by Cronquist (1981).


1a. Petals not spurred or gibbous; stamens 4, free; fruit breaking into 1-seeded indehiscent segments 4. Hypecoum
b. Petals one or both outer ones gibbous or spurred at base; stamens 6, united in two bundles of 3 each; fruit a dehiscent capsule not breaking into 1-seeded segments or a 1-seeded indehiscent nutlet 2
2a. Herbs climbing extensively; leaves often tendrillar; outer petals both gibbous at base 2. Dicentra
b. Herbs bushy, diffuse, scrambling, erect or prostrate; leaves never tendrillar, one of outer pair of petals spurred at base 3
3a. Herbs bushy or scrambling, usually a weedy annual; leaves 2 - 4 pinnatisect; fruits 1-seeded nutlets 3. Fumaria
b. Herbs erect or diffuse, mostly perennials, rarely weeds; leaves usually 2 - 3 (-4) ternate; fruits few to many-seeded capsules 1. Corydalis

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