Description: Herbs and shrubs.
Leaves alternate, simple; stipules usually present.
Inflorescence a raceme or cyme or flowers solitary. Flowers zygomorphic, usually strongly so, mostly bisexual. Sepals 5, imbricate, persistent. Petals 5, imbricate, free, the lowest often largest and spurred. Stamens 5, hypogynous, alternate with petals; filaments very short; anthers free or fused around ovary, the connective usually produced into an appendage. Ovary superior, 1-locular, usually with 3 parietal placentas; style simple, stigma terminal.
Fruit a capsule or berry; seeds 2–many.
Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 22 genera, 900 species, chiefly tropical & temperate regions. Australia: 3 genera, c. 26 species, all States.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Violaceae, Order: Malpighiales)
Viola species are used in horticulture, perfumery and confectionery; some species from other genera have uses in medicine.
Text by T. A. James
| ||Key to the genera|| |
|1||Shrubs 1–4 m high; branchlets usually spinescent; flowers slightly zygomorphic; fruit a berry||Melicytus|
|Herbs or rarely shrubs to 1.5 m high; spines absent; flowers strongly zygomorphic; fruit a capsule||2|
|2||Lowest petal scarcely longer than the others; herbs with mostly short stems, often stoloniferous; leaves usually long-petiolate||Viola|
|Lowest petal much longer than the others; erect-stemmed perennial herbs or shrubs, never stoloniferous; leaves more or less sessile|
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