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Family Plantaginaceae

Synonyms: Trapellaceae APNI*
Callitrichaceae APNI*

Description: Annual or perennial herbs.

Leaves all in a basal rosette or rarely opposite or alternate on erect branching stems; simple, entire or pinnately lobed, often with ± parallel veins.

Inflorescences spikes or heads or rarely flowers solitary. Flowers small, actinomorphic, bisexual [or unisexual and then plants mostly monoecious], commonly 4-merous. Sepals imbricate, free or ± fused. Corolla tubular, 4-lobed; green or white or purplish. Stamens 4 [or rarely 1 or 2], alternating with the corolla lobes; filaments fused towards the base with corolla; anthers 2-locular, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary superior, of 2 carpels, 1- or 2-locular or up to 4-locular by the growth of false septa; placentation axile or basal or free-central; style simple.

Fruit a circumciss capsule or a hard nut; seeds 1–6.

Distribution and occurrence: World: 101 genera, c. 1900 species, cosmopolitan but mostly in termperate regions. Australia: 26 genera, 148 species, all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Plantaginaceae, Order: Lamiales)

This family has traditionally consisted of only three genera, Bougueria, Littorella, and Plantago. New phylogenetic research has indicated that Plantaginaceae s.s. (s.s. = sensu stricto, in the strict sense) were nested within Scrophulariaceae (but forming a group that did not include the type genus of that family, Scrophularia). Although Veronicaceae (1782) is the oldest family name for this group, Plantaginaceae (1789) is a conserved name under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) and thus has priority over any earlier family name for a family including Plantago.Many cultivars are grown as garden ornamentals, these include species of Digitalis (foxgloves) that have escaped from cultivation and become naturalized. Aborigines used Stemodia in the treatments of various ailments.

Text by B. G. Briggs; updated Louisa Murray, Sep 2012
Taxon concept: APG IV

Taxa not yet included in identification key

 Key to the genera 
1Plant a climber or vine; leaves triangular2
Plant herbs or shrubs; leaves linear to obovate, not triangular3
2Plants glabrous except for the calyx; leaves palmately 5–9-veinedMaurandya
Plants glandular-pubescent or pilose; leaves palmately 3–5-veined
                       Back to 1
3Leaves opposite and sometimes whorled in parts of the plant4
Leaves alternate on fertile parts of the plant or basal
                       Back to 1
4Bracteoles present between the calyx and the bract (minute in Bacopa caroliniana)5
Bracteoles absent
                       Back to 3
5Leaves sessile, margins entire6
Leaves petiolate, serrate
                       Back to 4
6Fertile stamens 2, sometimes with staminodes absent or present; corolla cylindricalGratiola
Fertile stamens 4, staminodes absent or present; corolla 2-lipped or bell-shaped
                       Back to 5
7Sepals unequal; corolla more or less bell-shapedBacopa
Sepals equal; corolla strongly 2-lipped
                       Back to 6
8Stamens 2Veronica
Stamens 4
                       Back to 4
9Corolla 2-lipped; tube swollen into a pouch on the lower side,upper lip 2-lobed, lower lip 3-lobed with a prominent palate at the base closing the mouthMisopates
Corolla nearly regular; tube inconspicuous; densely hairy at throat; lobes 4
                       Back to 8
10Leaves in a basal rosette with a lamina of 3–9 longitudinal veinsPlantago
Leaves mostly alternate (and basal Digitalis - no longitudinal veins); palmate or pinnate
                       Back to 3
11Calyx of 5 equal sepals12
Calyx of 5 unequal sepals
                       Back to 10
12Stems of plant heteromorphic, fertile stems erect and vegetative stems prostrate or procumbentNuttallanthus
Stem of plant one type only, procumbent, prostrate to ascending
                       Back to 11
13Leaves broad palmately veined, margins with 5–11 teethCymbalaria
Leaves broad pinnately veined, margins entire or toothed
                       Back to 12
14Herb, well over 1 metre high 120–150 cm tall; leaves ovateDigitalis
Herb, well under 1 metre high, mostly < 70 cm tall; leaves linear
                       Back to 11

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