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Family: Lythraceae

Kingdom: Plantae Rank: Family Parent: Myrtales Status: Valid

Common Names:

  • CRAPE-MYRTLE - English, United States of America
  • LOOSESTRIFE FAMILY - English, United States of America

Morphological Description

Family Recognition in the Field: Herbs (or 1 introduced species a shrub or small tree) with simple entire leaves and often 4-angled stems; flowers with a hypanthium; petals usually 4 or 6, often crumpled like crepe paper, particularly in bud; stamens free, inserted inside the hypanthium below the petals, often unequal in length; fruit a capsule.

Diagnosis: Annual or perennial herbs,shrubs,or small trees; leaves opposite or alternate, sessile or subsessile,simple,entire;flowers terminal or axillary, solitary or in cymes, spike-like racemes,or panicles;flowers perigynous;hypanthium cup-shaped or tubular,calyx lobes 4-6;petals 4-6,attached near summit of hypanthium,lavender or pink to red or white,clawed;stamens 6 to many; pistil 2- to 6-celled; ovary superior,free in the hypanthium; fruit a capsule.


Notes: A medium-sized (600 species in 27 genera) family of mostly herbs with some shrubs and trees found mainly in the tropics, but with some temperate species; alkaloids are often present. A number of taxa provide dyes (e.g., Lawsonia-HENNA), while others are ornamentals including Cuphea (CIGAR-FLOWER), Lythrum (LOOSESTRIFE), and Lagerstroemia (CRAPE-MYRTLE). (subclass Rosidae).