PROF. HASSAN-UD-DIN (Late) AND SHAHINA A. GHAZANFAR
National Herbarium, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad.
Usually evergreen perennial trees and shrubs, rarely herbs or climbers; glandular punctate. Leaves simple or compound, sometimes reduced to spines, alternate or opposite, exstipulate. Inflorescence solitary, axillary or terminal cymes, panicles, rarely simple racemes. Flowers bisexual or sometimes staminate. Sepals (3-) 4-5, free or basally united. Petals (3-) 4-5, imbricate. Stamens equal or twice the number of petals or more, filaments free or mono- or poly-adelphous. Ovary 4-5-locular, superior; styles free or united, as many as the carpels. Fruit a capsule, berry, drupe or schizocarp. Placentation axile. Seeds oblong or reniform.
A large family comprising 150 genera and c. 1200 species (wild and cultivated) distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions of SE. Asia, Mediterranean countries, N. America, Australia and S. Africa.
The members of the family are strongly aromatic, containing essential oils. Many genera show hardy and xerophytic characters.
Represented in Pakistan by 11 genera and 27 species, many of which have been naturalized here, being cultivated and hybridized for edible, medicinal and ornamental purposes.
Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under P.L. 480 and to Mr. C. Townsend, Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew & Mr. I.C. Hedge, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh for their helpful suggestions.