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Herbarium, Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi. and Department of Botany, D. J. Sind Govt. Science College, Karachi.

Verbena officinalis

Credit: Shaukat

Herbs, shrubs and trees, rarely woody climbers; branches and twigs tetragonal, not prominently nodose or articulated. Leaves opposite, decussate, rarely whorled or alternate, exstipulate, simple, rarely compound. Inflorescence definite and centrifugal or indefinite and centripetal, spicate, racemiform or panicled to umbellate or a head, very rarely solitary and axillary. Flowers usually zygomorphic, bisexual, hypogynous. Calyx gamosepalous, mostly tubular or campanulate, (2-) 4 (-7)-lobed or toothed to subentire, persistent, sometimes enlarging and concealing the fruit. Corolla gamopetalous, often with as many lobes as the calyx and somewhat bilabiate, with unequal lobes above and tubular below. Stamens mostly 4 and didynamous, inserted on the corolla tube and alternating with the lobes; staminodes often present; anthers dithecous, mostly dehiscing longitudinally. Gynoecium 2 (4-5)-carpellary, syncarpous, somewhat 4-lobed and 2-4-loculed, with usually one ovule in each apparent cell on axile placentation; style simple, terminal. Fruits usually schizocarpic or drupaceous with ┬▒ hard endocarp, indehiscent or dehiscent into 1-2(-1O)-celled pyrenes; seeds I-few.

A large family of c. 75 genera and nearly 2500 species, chiefly of tropical and subtropical regions, is represented here by 17 genera and c. 35 species. It includes many ornamental and medicinal plants in addition to teak which is highly prized for its wood.

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under P.L. 480. Our sincere thanks are also due to Dr. H. N. Moldenke (New Jersey, U.S.A.). Mr. B. L. Burtt and Mr. Ian C. Hedge, (Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh) for their helpful suggestions.

1 Leaves digitately compound (rarely 1- foliolate)   Vitex
+ Leaves simple, rarely deeply pinnatisect   (2)
2 (1) Inflorescence indefinite and centripetal, spicate or racemiform, rarely capitate   (3)
+ Inflorescence indefinite and centrifugal, cymes mostly congested, panicled, umbellate, thyrsoid or a head, rarely reduced to a single flower when axillary   (11)
3 (2) Inflorescence spicate or subcapitate, elongating in fruit; flowers sessile or subsessile   (4)
+ Inflorescence racemiform, elongated (rarely reduced when axillary); flowers ┬▒pedicellate   (9)
4 (3) Fruits schizocarpic, dry, with four 1-seeded locules   Verbena
+ Fruits dry or fleshy with two 1-2-seeded pyrenes (or by abortion only 1 )   (5)
5 (4) Perfect stamens 2; staminodes 2, posterior   Stachytarpheta
+ Perfect stamens 4; staminodes absent   (6)
6 (5) Pyrenes 1-loculed, 1-seeded, separating or not   (8)
+ Pyrenes 2-loculed, 2-seeded (rarely 1-loculed and 1- seeded by abortion), not separating   (7)
7 (6) Fruits juicy. Flowers in dense heads or compact spikes; mostly shrubs   Lantana
+ Fruits dry. Flowers in loose spikes or racemes, often much elongated; herbs or undershrubs   Priva
8 (6) Flowers very small, in compact, spicate heads. Herbs trailing and rooting at nodes; hairs mostly medifixed   Phyla
+ Flowers conspicuous, in elongated spikes. Undershrubs, not rooting at nodes; hairs simple   Chascanum
9 (3) Fruiting calyx conspicuously 5-winged; epicalyx present. (Cultivated)   Petrea
+ Fruiting calyx not winged; epicalyx absent   (10)
10 (9) Drupe with 4 pyrenes, each 2-loculed and 2-seeded; calyx rostrate. (Cultivated)   Duranta
+ Drupe with 2 pyrenes, each 2-loculed and 2-seeded (rarely 1-seeded by abortion); calyx not rostrate. Cultivated)   Citharexylum
11 (2) Corolla regular. Stamens 4-6, equal   (12)
+ Corolla irregular. Stamens 4, didynamous   (13)
12 (11) Fruiting calyx not inflated. Drupe usually composed of four or five 1-celled, 1-seeded pyrenes   Callicarpa
+ Fruiting calyx usually conspicuously inflated. Drupe composed of one 4-celled pyrene. (Cultivated)   Tectona
13 (11) Drupe composed of one 4-celled pyrene   (14)
+ Drupe composed of four (or by abortion less) 1-celled pyrenes   (16)
14 (13) Corolla-tube usually short, cylindrical   (15)
+ Corolla-tube large mostly infundibuliform and greatly enlarged above. (Cultivated)   Gmelina
15 (14) Corolla usually 4-lobed, mostly straight. Leaves simple   Premna
+ Corolla usually 5-lobed, often markedly curved. Leaves digitately compound (rarely 1-foliolate)   Vitex
16 (13) fruiting calyx much enlarged (saucer shaped). (Cultivated)   Holmskioldia
+ Fruiting calyx not so enlarged   (17)
17 (16) Inflorescence usually umbellate cymes. Fruiting calyx conspicuously accrescent   Clerodendrum
+ Inflorescence elongate, racemiform. Fruiting calyx not accrescent   Caryopteris

  • List of lower taxa


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