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Family Primulaceae

Synonyms: Maesaceae APNI*
Theophrastaceae APNI*
Myrsinaceae 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.

Photo S. Goodwin

Photo J. Plaza

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 58 genera, c. 2590 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: c. 10 genera, over 35 species, all States.

External links:
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 
1Plants herbaceous2
Plants woody4
2Ovary half-inferior; radical leaves often present, cauline leaves alternate; staminodes presentSamolus
Ovary superior; radical leaves present or lacking, cauline leaves opposite or in whorls or absent; staminodes lacking
                       Back to 1
3Flowers 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 caulinePrimula
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
                       Back to 2
4Forest trees, shrubs or climbers; fruit an indehiscent drupe, more or less globose, not viviparous5
Mangroves; fruit a dehiscent capsule, elongated, viviparous
                       Back to 1
5Scandent shrub or woody climber; petals freeEmbelia
Trees or erect shrubs; petals fused below
                       Back to 4
6Inflorescence paniculate, terminal or in upper axils; leaves with numerous, relatively large yellow to orange translucent dots7
Flowers in more or less sessile umbellate clusters, axillary; leaves without or with relatively small red or orange dots
                       Back to 5
7Petioles neither winged nor decurrent on stem; anthers basifixed; fruit blackArdisia
Petioles slightly winged, decurrent on stem; anthers dorsifixed; fruit red
                       Back to 6

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