Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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N. P. Balakrishnan

Herbs or undershrubs, annual or perennial, sometimes with articulate stems and branches. Leaves opposite, simple, entire, exstipulate. Inflorescence in terminal and axillary dichasia or scorpioid cymes, sometimes flowers solitary at forks of branches, regular, small, bisexual, or rarely plants polygamo-monoecious. Calyx gamosepalous, hypogynous, persistent, 4 - 6 (-7)-lobed, induplicate-valvate in bud. Petals 4 - 6 (-7), hypogynous, free, clawed at base; claw with an adherent ligular scale, imbricate in bud. Stamens 4 - 6, or more in 2 series, free or shortly connate at base; anthers small, versatile, 2-loculed, dorsifixed. Ovary free, sessile, composed of 3 - 4 carpels, unilocular; style slender; stigmas 3 (2 - 4), linear; ovules many in 2 - 3 parietal placentae, anatropous or amphitropous; funicles slender, long. Fruit a loculicidal capsule, enclosed in persistent calyx, opening by as many valves as there are placentae; seeds oblong or ovoid, with subterminal hilum, linear raphe and crustaceous testa; embryo straight, in the centre of mealy endosperm.

Mediterranean (S. Europe & N. Africa), S.W. Asia, S. Africa, S. United states to S.America, W. and S.E. Australia and New Zealand; 5 genera and ca 75 species, one genus and one species in India.

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