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Family Boraginaceae

Synonyms: Codonaceae APNI*
Cordiaceae APNI*
Ehretiaceae APNI*
Heliotropiaceae APNI*
Hydrophyllaceae APNI*
Lennoaceae APNI*
Namaceae APNI*
Wellstediaceae APNI*

Description: Annual, biennial or perennial herbs, shrubs or trees; all parts usually with stiff, tubercle-based hairs.

Leaves usually alternate with a basal rosette present in some annual or biennial species, sometimes opposite, simple or pinnately or palmately compound, margin entire to dissected; stipules absent.

Inflorescence terminal or axillary, paniculate (Ehretia) or monochasial cymes that unroll as they expand ('scorpioid' cymes, a 1-sided coiled inflorescence), sometimes solitary flowers; bracts usually present. Flowers actinomorphic or sometimes zygomorphic, bisexual, 4–6-merous. Sepals usually 5, free or fused at the base. Corolla tubular to rotate, often campanulate, usually 5-lobed. Stamens epipetalous, as many as the corolla lobes and alternating with them. Ovary superior, 2-locular but becoming 4-locular at maturity, 1-locular or incompletely 2-locular; style simple or branched, terminal or gynobasic, sometimes 2 distinct styles or 1 that is cleft or 2-branched at the apex.

Fruit drupaceous, a capsule, or a schizocarp that splits into four 1-seeded mericarps (nutlets) attached to the enlarged structure formed from the fused receptacle and ovary tissues ('gynobase') leaving a scar on their inner or basal surfaces; mericarps smooth or variously ornamented.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 128 genera, c. 3026 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: c. 20 genera, all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Boraginaceae, Order: unplaced asterid I)

The family includes a number of plants of economic importance, including species of Cordia (timber), Alkanna (dye), the herbs Borage (Borago) and Comfrey (Symphytum), and some species of Echium, Heliotropium and Myosotis as garden ornamentals. Boraginaceae is treated here in the broader sense. Ehretiaceae, Heliotropiaceae and Hydrophyllaceae are sometimes recognised as separate families.

Text by (based on) Peter G. Wilson, Boraginaceae, and S.M. Hastings, Hydrophyllaceae, in Flora of New South Wales Vol. 3 (1992); revised May 2017 (PGK)
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key

 Key to the genera 
1Leaves (of taxon occurring in N.S.W.) pinnately compound or pinnatisect; ovary 1- or 2-locularPhacelia
Leaves not pinnately compound or pinnatisect; ovary 2-locular but becoming 4-locular at maturity2
2Corolla actinomorphic3
Corolla zygomorphic
                       Back to 1
3Tall shrub (more than 2 m high) or treeEhretia
Small shrub (less than 2 m high) or herb
                       Back to 2
4Anthers exserted, appressed to the style; anther appendages present (rarely very short)5
Anthers included (if exserted not appressed to the style); anther appendages absent
                       Back to 3
5Anthers and appendages straight6
Anther appendages twisted
                       Back to 4
6Scabrous or viscid shrub; ovary entireHalgania
Hispid herb; ovary lobed
                       Back to 5
7Ovary 4-lobed; stigma small, capitate or shortly 2-lobed8
Ovary entire; stigma large, more or less conical
                       Back to 4
8Mericarps bearing barbed spines9
Mericarps smooth or wrinkled
                       Back to 7
9Spines numerous, more or less equal in size, occurring on the margins and outer face of the mericarp10
Spines few (8–10), varying in size, restricted to the margins of the mericarps
                       Back to 8
10Mericarps with glochids concentrated into a marginal ring, outer surface of mericarpid with a few scattered or discontinuously distributed glochidsCynoglossum
Mericarps with numerous glochids closely spaced and continuously distributed across out surface
                       Back to 9
11Gynobase conical12
Gynobase flat
                       Back to 8
12Inflorescence bracteate; flowers whitePlagiobothrys
Inflorescence lacking bracts; flowers yellow
                       Back to 11
13Corolla with scales in the throat14
Corolla without scales
                       Back to 11
14Mericarps smooth and shinyMyosotis
Mericarps wrinkled
                       Back to 13
15Mericarps smooth on outer face; flowers yellowNeatostema
Mericarps tuberculate all over; flowers white
                       Back to 13
16Stamens included in corollaAnchusa
At least 2 stamens exserted from corolla
                       Back to 2

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