Synonyms: Maesaceae APNI*
Description: Herbs, shrubs, trees or occasionally climbers; perennial or sometimes annual, sometimes stoloniferous.
Leaves in a basal rosette and/or cauline, opposite, alternate or whorled, sometimes 2-ranked, simple, mostly entire (occasionally lobed), often leathery, often glandular-punctate (dots/streaks coloured or ± translucent); stipules absent.
Inflorescences terminal, axillary or ramiflorous, raceme-like, paniculate or in ± sessile umbellate clusters or flowers solitary and axillary. Flowers usually actinomorphic, 4- or 5-merous, mostly bisexual, sometimes bracteate, sometimes bracteolate, sometimes hetrostylous. Calyx often deeply lobed, usually fused at base, persistent, often glandular. Corolla often deeply lobed, often fused at base, sometimes free, often not persistent, occasionally absent. Stamens opposite to and as many as the corolla lobes or petals, dehiscence introrse by longitudinal slits or by apical pores. Gynoecium of 3–5 carpels united to form a 1-locular, superior ovary or rarely half-inferior (Samolus), sometimes with vestigal partitions at base; style simple; ovules 1-numerous.
Fruit a drupe, capsule or berry; seeds 1-many.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 58 genera, c. 2590 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: c. 10 genera, over 35 species, all States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Primulaceae, Order: Ericales)
Text by based on R.O. Makinson, Primulaceae, and G.J. Harden, Myrsinaceae, Flora of New South Wales Vol. 1 (1990). Revised April 2017, P.G. Kodela.
Taxon concept: Australian Plant Census (accessed April 2017)
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|2||Ovary half-inferior; radical leaves often present, cauline leaves alternate; staminodes present||Samolus|
|Ovary superior; radical leaves present or lacking, cauline leaves opposite or in whorls or absent; staminodes lacking|
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|3||Flowers umbellate (the inflorescence scapose [leaves absent from flowering stem] and ending in an umbel) or in capitate heads, sometimes solitary or few by reduction; leaves usually in basal rosettes but sometimes cauline||Primula|
|Flowers solitary and axillary or in terminal or upper axillary racemes or panicles; leaves opposite, alternate or occasionally in whorls, sometimes radical leaves present and young plants with rosette form|
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|4||Forest trees, shrubs or climbers; fruit an indehiscent drupe, more or less globose, not viviparous||5|
|Mangroves; fruit a dehiscent capsule, elongated, viviparous|
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|5||Scandent shrub or woody climber; petals free||Embelia|
|Trees or erect shrubs; petals fused below|
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|6||Inflorescence paniculate, terminal or in upper axils; leaves with numerous, relatively large yellow to orange translucent dots||7|
|Flowers in more or less sessile umbellate clusters, axillary; leaves without or with relatively small red or orange dots|
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|7||Petioles neither winged nor decurrent on stem; anthers basifixed; fruit black||Ardisia|
|Petioles slightly winged, decurrent on stem; anthers dorsifixed; fruit red|
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