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Family Dipsacaceae

Description: Mostly perennial or annual herbs, [or rarely shrubs].

Leaves opposite or whorled, simple, margins entire, toothed to pinnatifid; stipules absent.

Inflorescences cymose heads. Flowers zygomorphic, bisexual or functionally female, with involucral bracts at the base of the head, and each flower with an epicalyx and subtended by a receptacle bract, usually 4- or 5-merous. Epicalyx usually present. Calyx cupular, often cut into segments. Corolla funnel-shaped, 4- or 5-lobed, or 2-lipped. Stamens 2–4, epipetalous, alternating with the petals; anthers 2-locular, dehising by longitudinal slits. Ovary inferior with a single pendent ovule; stigma simple or 2-lobed.

Fruit dry, indehiscent.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 11 genera, 350 species, cosmopolitan, especially Eurasia, Africa. Australia: 2 genera, 4 species, all States except Qld & N.T.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Dipsacaceae, Order: Dipsacales)
Wikipedia

Text by L. Retter
Taxon concept:

 Key to the genera 
1Plants thistle-like, spiny; involucral bracts spinyDipsacus
Plants not spiny: involucral bracts leafyScabiosa

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