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Family: Boraginaceae

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

Common Names:

  • FORGET-ME-NOT - English, United States of America
  • BORAGE FAMILY - English, United States of America

Morphological Description

Family Recognition in the Field: Herbs with alternate, coarse, rough-hairy leaves and round stems; flowers usually in scorpioid cymes (= 1-sided, uncurling inflorescences), with sympetalous, radially symmetrical corollas and 5 stamens; fruits of 4 mericarps.

Diagnosis: Ours pubescent, bristly-hispid, or glabrous annual or perennial herbs; leaves alternate, simple, entire, usually sessile; flowers terminal or axillary, solitary, in small cymes, or uncurling, 1- sided, spike-like or raceme-like inflorescences (= scorpioid cymes); sepals 5, barely united at base; corollas 5-toothed or -lobed, rotate, tubular, funnelform, or salverform; stamens 5, attached near base of corolla or higher in tube; pistil 2-carpellate; ovary superior, usually 4-lobed; style and stigma 1; fruit usually breaking into 4 one-seeded achene-like mericarps (“nutlets”), sometimes reduced to fewer by abortion.


Notes: A large (2,300 species in 130 genera) family of mainly temperate and subtropical herbs to shrubs, trees, and vines including a number of ornamentals such as Heliotropium (HELIOTROPE), Mertensia (VIRGINIA BLUEBELLS) and Myosotis (FORGET-ME-NOT); some, including Borago officinalis L. (BORAGE) and Symphytum officinale L. (COMFREY), have been used for flavorings or medicinally; most members of the family are characterized by a 1-sided inflorescence that uncoils as it matures; alkaloids are often present. The Boraginaceae are related to and sometimes lumped with the tropical family Ehretiaceae (Judd et al. 1994). There are also affinities with the Hydrophyllaceae and Verbenaceae. Ehretia anacua (Ter.n & Berland.) I.M. Johnst., (genus: for Georg Dionysius Ehret, 1708–1770, illustrator; sp: anacua or anacahuite , Mexican names for the plants), SUGARBERRY, KNOCKAWAY, ANAGUA, a tree to 15 m tall with orange or dark yellow drupes ca. 5–8 mm in diam., was cited by Hatch et al. (1990) for vegetational area 4 (Fig. 2). While planted further n, it is apparently native only as far n as Travis Co. just s of nc TX (Correll & Johnston 1970). This genus of 50 species of tropical and warm areas is treated in the Boraginaceae by some authorities and in the Ehretiaceae by others. (Asteridae)