YASIN J. NASIR
National Herbarium, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad.
Herbs with simple, alternate, opposite or whorled leaves. Stem often succulent and swollen at the nodes. Flowers irregular, bisexual, often showy. Sepals 3(-5), the lowermost large and spurred. Petals 3-5, the anterior (posterior in mature flowers) larger, the lateral ones fused in pairs, lowermost often 2-lobed. Stamens 5; anthers adnate, forming a hood around the ovary. Ovary 5-locular, syncarpous. Capsule fleshy, with an explosive dehiscence for seed ejection.
Allied to the Geraniaceae from which it differs in the irregular flowers, the spurred lower sepal and the anthers connate to form a hood or a ring around the ovary.
A family of 2 genera and over 900 species. Distributed in Europe, N. America, Africa and Asia. Represented in Pakistan by 1 genus and 12 species.
Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under PL-480. Thanks are also due to Dr. Grey-Wilson of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Mr. I.C. Hedge, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh for going through the manuscript.