Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Cruciferae, nom. alt.

Herbs or rarely shrubs with pungent watery juice, terrestrial or aquatic, glabrous or with simple or variously branched unicellular trichomes or rarely with multicellular, glandular trichomes. Leaves alternate or sometimes confined to a basal rosette, exstipulate, simple or very rarely pinnate or palmate, rarely reduced to scales. Inflorescence terminal or axillary, racemose, corymbose or paniculate, rarely flowers solitary, usually ebracteate. Flowers bisexual, hypogynous, mostly actinomorphic, rarely zygomorphic. Sepals 4, usually free, in decussate pairs, erect or spreading, usually caducous, the laterals often saccate at base. Petals 4, decussate, cruciform, alternating with the sepals, usually clawed, entire or rarely lobed, rarely absent. Stamens 6, sometimes 2, 4 or rarely more than 6, tetradynamous in 2 rows or 2-dynamous, rarely all of equal length; filaments filiform, sometimes winged or appendaged at base, free or the median pair connate; anthers mostly sagittate, 2 (-1)-loculed, longitudinally dehiscent. Nectar glands receptacular, subtending or surrounding the bases of some or all filaments. Ovary superior, bicarpellate, syncarpous, 2-locular by a false septum connecting the 2-parietal placentae; style distinct, persistent or obsolete; stigma entire or 2-lobed, capitate or discoid; ovules 1-many, anatropous or campylotropous. Fruit a dry bivalvately dehiscent siliqua, schizocarp or indehiscent and becoming lomentaceous or achene-like or samaroid, usually beakless or rarely with seedless or 1-few-seeded beak; replum persistent; septum complete or incomplete, usually membranaceous. Seeds uniseriate or biseriate, usually wingless, often mucilaginous when wet; endosperm absent; embryo large, usually strongly curved or folded; germination epigeal.

Throughout the world, primarily in temperate regions; ca 340 genera and 3350 species, 64 genera and 207 species in India.

Literature. AL-SHEHBAZ, ISHAN A. (1984) The tribes of Cruciferae (Brassicaceae) in South-eastern United States. J. Arn. Arb. 65: 343 - 374. JAFRI, S.M.H.(1973) Brassicaceae. In: Nasir & Ali, fl. W. Pakistan 55: 1 - 308. JONSELL, B.(1988) Cruciferae. In: Fl. Males. I, 10: 541 - 560, ff. 1 - 5. SARKAR, A. K. & J. N. MITRA (1969) The order Rhoedales in Eastern India, I. Cruciferae. Bull. Bot. Soc. Bengal 23: 93 - 107. SCHULZ, O. E. (1919) Cruciferae-Brassiceae. Pars prima. In: Engler, A. Pflanzenreich 70 (IV - 105): 1 - 290. SCHULZ, O. E. (1923) Cruciferae-Brassiceae. Parssccunda. In: Engler, A., l. c. 84: 1 - 100. SCHULZ, O.E. (1927) Beitrage zur Kenntnis der Cruciferen des nordwestlichen Himalayan Gebriges. Notizbl. 9: l057 - 1095. SCHULZ, O. E. (1936) Brassicaceae in Engler & Prantl, Nat. Pfianzenfam., ed. 2t 17b: 227 - 658.


1a. Fruits beaked, beak one or few-seeded; sometimes transversely jointed; cotyledons conduplicate Tribe 3. brassiceae
b. Fruits not beaked or rarely with a seedless stylar beak; never jointed; cotyledons accumbent or incumbent 2
2a. Fruits compressed at right angles to the septum; replum much narrower than the width of fruit Tribe 7. lepidieae
b. Fruits terete, angular, inflated or compressed parallel to septum; replum equalling the width of fruit 3
3a. Fruits indehiscent, nut-like; valves generally thick or spongy Tribe 5. euclidieae
b. Fruits dehiscent or transversely breaking into seed-bearing segments; valves generally thin and not spongy 4
4a. Fruits usually less than 3 times longer than broad (except a few Draba and Farsetia spp.) 5
b. Fruits usually more than 8 times longer than broad (sometimes short in Rorippa) 6
5a. Septal cells with parallel walls Tribe 4. drabeae
b. Septal cells with polygonal walls Tribe 1. alysseae
6a. Calyx closed at anthesis, sepals erect; multicellular glandular trichomes commonly present; fruits tardily dehiscent or sometimes breaking transversely 7
b. Calyx open at anthesis, sepals spreading or ascending; multicellular glands always absent; fruits readily dehiscent 8
7a. Cotyledons usually accumbent Tribe 8. matthioleae
b. Cotyledons usually incumbent Tribe 6. hesperideae
8a. Cotyledons mostly accumbent Tribe 2. arabideae
b. Cotyledons mostly incumbent Tribe 9. sisymbrieae

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