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Published In: Outlines of Botany 854, 1093, 1123. 1835. (Feb 1835) (Outlines Bot.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
Contributor Text: S. M. H. JAFRI
Contributor Institution: Herbarium, Department of Botany, University of Karachi, Karachi
General/Distribution: A large family of about 350 genera and nearly 3000 species, primarily of the temperate regions and cooler climates. Of these only 92 genera and about 250 species are reported from our area, which includes 5 genera and 14 species known from cultivation only. It is well known for its oil producing seeds.
Comment/Acknowledgements: Taxonomy of this family is primarily based on fruit characters, hence the lack of fruits in herbarium specimens sometimes makes correct identification difficult. O.E. Schulz in Engler, Pflanzenreich, Cruciferae-Brassiceae 70 (IV. 105) :1-290 ;1919) and 84 (IV. 105) :1-100 (1923) ; Cruciferae-Sisymbrieae, 86 (IV, 105) : 1-388 (1924) ; Draba et Erophila 89 (IV. 105) : 1-396 (1927) revised monographically parts of the family, and in Engler & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenf., ed. 2, 17 b: 227-658 (1936) revised the entire family. Although this work is the only thorough and comprehensive one for the whole family, a revaluation of tribes and subtribes and above all generic concepts, in certain cases, is much needed. Distinction of beak or biarticulation of fruits sometimes become only theoretical and practically indistinguishable; hairy plants sometimes become glabrous or almost glabrous. Efforts are being made to produce groupings or really workable practical keys for the separation of genera, irrespective of their places in the various tribes (P.H. Davis, Fl. Turkey 1: 249-262, 1965; Rechinger f., Fl. Iranica 57: 3-30, 1968). However, the following account of the family, from West Pakistan, is based broadly on the treatment given by O.E. Schulz in the above mentioned publications.

It is difficult to reach and identify a genus following the key for the tribes, therefore a separate key for all the genera, irrespective of their tribes (adapted and modified from K.H. Rechinger, Fl. Iran. 57: 3-30. 1968) is provided separately. Alternate keys for the genera under their tribes are also provided.

Five Tables are provided to show the fruit characters of almost all the taxa included here under various tribes. This should help in following the generic and specific keys.

Stamen length is given in the proportion of short and long stamens (i.e. length of the 2 outer stamens: length of the 4 inner stamens).

Of the 19 tribes recognized by O.E. Schulz (in Engl. & Prantl, Pflanzen f. ed. 2, 17b: 227-658.1936) only 10 are represented in our area.

Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the United States Department of Agriculture for financing this research under P.L. 480. Thanks are also due to Dr. P.H. Davis, Mr. B.L. Burtt, Mr. I.C. Hedge, Dr. P. Botschantzev, Dr. G. Taylor, Dr. K.H. Rechinger, Dr. R.R. Stewart, Dr. S.I. Ali, Prof. E. Nasir, Dr. Kazmi and Dr. Rafique Ahmed for their every possible help.


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Annual to perennial herbs, rarely woody or shrubby. Leaves alternate or spirally arranged, generally simple and exstipulate, basal often rosulate. Hairs usually simple or branched, sometimes appressed or absent.Inflorescence usually racemose, corymbose. Flowers usually hermaphrodite, hypogynous, actinomorphic, pedicellate and ebracteate. Sepals 4, erect-closed to spreading-open, in two decussate pairs, inner sometimes saccate at the base. Petals 4 (very rarely suppressed), alternating with sepals, free, often with distinct claw, usually yellow, white or lilac, cruciform. Stamens 6 (rarely 4, 2 or even 1 due to suppression, very rarely more than 6), tetradynamous, outer pair short and inner 4 long; filaments some-times winged, toothed or appendaged; anthers dithecous (very rarely monothecous) and fertile. Lateral nectar glands (at the base of the two outer short stamens) almost always present and of various shapes; middle glands present or absent. Ovary bicarpellate, syncarpous, 1-2-celled or with 2-many superimposed cells, 1-many ovuled on two parietal placentas; septum false being formed by the placental outgrowths; style simple, sometimes absent; stigma often capitate, entire to bilobed. Fruit short (silicula) or long (siliqua), dehiscent or indehiscent, usually opening from below by 2 valves which often leave the seeds attached to replum and the false septum, sometimes breaking transversely into 1-few seeded cells, rarely seeds also developing in an indehiscent beak below the style or stigma; valves membranous to coriaceous and thick, plane or inflated, sometimes keeled, winged or appendaged, glabrous or hairy, with 1-many parallel veins (generally rnidvein prominent). Seeds 1-many in 1-2 rows, smooth, granular or reticulated, rarely longitudinally striated, sometimes winged, usually mucilaginous when wet, exalbuminous; radicle accumbent (when it is bent round so as to lie along the edges of the cotyledons i.e. embryo pleurorhizus) or incumbent (when it lies on the face of one cotyledon i.e. embryo notorhizus) ; cotyledons narrowly linear to spathulate, sessile or stalked, rarely plicate or conduplicate (longitudinally folded).

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0 Key to the Tribes
+ Key to the Genera
1 Fruits neither beaked nor biarticulated (rarely with false beak-like apex); cotyledons not so folded (2)
+ Plants glabrous (2)
+ Plants pilose or hairy (47)
+ Fruits ± beaked or biarticulated; cotyledons usually longitudinally folded (conduplicate) Brassiceae
2 (1) Fruits compressed parallel to the septum, broadly septate (3)
+ Fruits less than 3 times as long as broad (siliqua) (3)
+ Fruits 4 times or more as long as broad (siliqua) (25)
+ Fruits generally laterally compressed at right angles to the septum; narrowly septate (except Winklera and Cochlearia) Lepidieae
3 (2) Fruits dehiscent or transversely breaking into parts with seeds; valves generally thin and not spongy (4)
+ Fruits strongly compressed, flat (4)
+ Fruits not or scarcely compressed, ovoid inflated or with crested valves (17)
+ Fruits usually nut-like, indehiscent; valves generally spongy or thick Euclidieae
4 (3) Silicula not jointed, winged or not winged; stigma lobes short, neither conical nor decurrent (5)
+ Radicle accumbent (very rarely incumbent) (5)
+ Radicle incumbent (rarely accumbent) (9)
+ Silicula biarticulated (jointed); lower portion narrow, stalk-like, dehiscent; upper portion much larger, broadly winged indehiscent; stigma lobes conical, decurrent Fortuynia
5 (4) Fruits short, siliculae (sometimes long siliqua-like in Farsetia and Draba) (6)
+ Fruits long, siliquae (sometime short in Rorippa) (8)
+ Silicula compressed parallel to septum (or locule), not winged (6)
+ Silicula compressed at right angles to septum (or locule), usually winged (8)
6 (5) Septum cells with parallel walls (± rectangular) (7)
+ Septum cells with ± polygonal walls
+ Septum complete; siliculae broadly elliptic, oblong, stipitate; seeds winged (7)
+ Septum incomplete or lacking; siliculae elliptic, not stipitate; seeds not winged Graellsia
7 (6) Leaves ovate-cordate, lower long petioled; siliculae large; flowers large; (cultivated) Lunaria
+ Leaves fleshy, lower subsessile or very shortly petioled, oblong-cuneate to elliptic; siliculae same; flowers small Savignya
+ Hairs stellate, or partite and appressed Alysseae
+ Hairs simple or absent Lunarieae
8 (5) Sepals erect, closed; fruits usually hairy
+ Fruits pendulous (9)
+ Fruits not pendulous (rarely slightly pendulous in Thlaspi) (10)
+ Sepals ± spreading, open; fruits usually glabrous Arabideae
9 (4) Style very short but distinct; fruits ± orbicular and broadly winged Sameraria
+ Stigma sessile or style absent fruits usually oblong and narrowly winged (rarely suborbicular) Isatis
+ Sepals ± spreading or suberect; fruits ± cylindrical or linear, readily dehiscent Sisymbrieae
+ Sepals erect; fruits often terete, tardily dehiscent or sometimes breaking transversely into parts Hesperideae
10 (8) Seeds 1-2 only (11)
+ Seeds 4- many (15)
11 (10) Leaves bi-pinnatisect with narrow lobes (12)
+ Leaves entire to 1-pinnatisect with broader lobes (13)
12 (11) Fruits c.2 mm in diam. with verrucose and inflated valves, separating into two 1-seeded parts Coronopus
+ Fruits c.10 mm in diam. with membranous, compressed smooth valves, dehiscent Uranodactylus
13 (11) Siliculae not winged, always alike (14)
+ Siliculae broadly winged, sometimes dimorphic (the dehiscent usually 2-4(-6) seeded and indehiscent (abnormal) ones 1-seeded) Aethionema
14 (13) Siliculae strongly compressed, valves keeled; septum very narrow; leaves usually simple Lepidium
+ Siliculae not so compressed, valves boat-shaped; septum somewhat broad; leaves usually 1-pinnatisect Winklera
15 (10) Homocarpous with usually elongated infructescence; siliculae more than 4-seeded (16)
+ Heterocarpous with condensed infructescence; siliculae c. 4-seeded, winged (abnormal ones 1-seeded) Aethionema
16 (15) Siliculae usually ± winged, very compres¬sed (rarely wings suppressed or lacking); cauline leaves sessile, usually auricled at base Thlaspi
+ Siliculae neither so compressed (valves boat shaped), nor winged, very small; cauline leaves cuneate below Hymenolobus
17 (3) Fruit not vesicular (18)
+ Fruit vesicular or inflated (c.7 mm in diam.) Didymophysa
18 (17) Silicula without crested valves (19)
+ Silicula valves 2-crested Dilophia
19 (18) Basal leaves neither petioled nor cordate (20)
+ Basal leaves petioled, large; lamina ± cordate at base Crambe
20 (19) Fruiting pedicels deflexed or recurved (21)
+ Fruiting pedicels erect, ascending or spreading, straight (22)
21 (20) Petals yellow. Leaves entire. Fruit cymbiform (with inflated locule and narrow flattened apex) Tauscheria
+ Petals violet or purplish. Leaves dentate. Fruit oblong, tetragonous with angular apex, often constricted in the middle Goldbachia
22 (20) Fruits many seeded (23)
+ Fruits 1-2- seeded (24)
23 (22) Flowers white (rarely yellowish or lilac); plants terrestrial Cochlearia
+ Flowers yellow; plants aquatic or amphibious Rorippa
24 (22) Perennial. Flowers white, pinkish or pale yellowish; fruit jointed, globose, shortly beaked, smooth, 1-2-seeded
+ Annual. Flowers yellow; fruits not jointed tetragonous, narrowly winged; 1-seeded Boreava
25 (2) Fruit biarticulated, beaked or with a short, beak-like stylar apex (26)
+ Fruit neither jointed nor beaked (34)
26 (25) Stigma lobes conical and decurrent (27)
+ Stigma lobes short, capitate (rarely slightly conical), not decurrent (30)
27 (26) Petals pink or lilac; plants perennial (28)
+ Petals yellow; plants annual Conringia
28 (27) Plants with leafy flowering stems (29)
+ Plants ± scaposa (without cauline leaves) Parrya
29 (28) Cauline leaves narrowed below, not amplexicaul; petals linear
+ Cauline leaves amplexicaul; petals obovate Moricandia
30 (26) Fruits dehiscent with ± membranous valves (31)
+ Fruits indehiscent, lomentoid with thickened valves (33)
31 (30) Racemes many flowered; leaves not linear; plants tall (32)
+ Scapes 1-flowered; leaves linear; plants small, caespitose Pycnoplinthus
32 (31) Seeds uniseriate; flowers yellow; (fruit beak usually long, sometimes short) Brassica
+ Seeds biseriate; flowers violet or pinkish-white; (fruit beak short) Diplotaxis
33 (30) Leaves entire or dentate; petals yellow; fruits spindle-shaped, often spirally curved with a long beak
+ Leaves pinnatisect; fruit small, torulose with a very short beak Erucaria
34 (25) Fruit 2-locular, compressed parallel to septum, not winged, rarely pendulous (35)
+ Fruit 1-locular, ± winged or with thickened margins, pendulous Isatis
35 (34) Lower or basal leaves simple, entire or dentate (36)
+ Lower or basal leaves pinnate or pinnatifid (44)
36 (35) Annual or perennial but rootstock not so thickened; cauline leaves not so small; fruits generally long, linear with ± conspicuous style (37)
+ Rootstock thickened, somewhat woody; basal leaves obovate, much larger than the cauline leaves; fruits short and broad, ± curved with sessile stigma Arcyosperma
37 (36) Cauline leaves absent or amplexicaul (38)
+ Cauline leaves always present, usually not amplexicaul, sessile or shortly petioled (40)
38 (37) Cauline leaves amplexicaul; stigma short, capitate or bilobed, not decurrent (39)
+ Cauline leaves absent; stigma with conical and decurrent lobes Parrya
39 (38) Cauline leaves few, distant; fruiting pedicels often thickened, ascending or spreading Arabis
+ Cauline leaves many; fruiting pedicel thin (sometimes deflexed) Turritis
40 (37) Petals prominent; stigma bilobed; plants usually perennials (41)
+ Petals small; stigma short depressed; plants usually annuals Arabidopsis
41 (40) Leaves elliptic, entire to dentate; septum complete (42)
+ Leaves spathulate, generally 3-5-dentate above; septum complete, incomplete or absent Christolea
42 (41) seeds uniseriate; fruits with ± convex valves, not stipitate (43)
+ Seeds biseriate; fruit flat, shortly stipitate Diplotaxis
43 (42) Petals 5-15 mm long; stigma capitate Sisymbrium
+ Petals 20-30 mm long; stigma bilobed Hesperis
44 (35) Leaf segments not filiform; flowers in racemes (45)
+ Leaf segments filiform; flowers distant, solitary or few Leptaleum
45 (44) Leaves simply pinnate (to entire-denticulate) (46)
+ Leaves 2-3-pinnatisect with narrow, short lobes; fruit often curved, not opening form below Descurainia
46 (45) Fruits straight, opening form below upwards; seeds 1-seriate Cardamine
+ Fruits ± curved, opening uniformly; seeds ± 2-seriate Nasturtium
47 (1) Hairs simple (48)
+ Hairs branched or stellate, sometimes glandular and intermixed (95)
48 (47) Fruits generally less than 3 times as long as broad (49)
+ Fruits 4 times or more as long as broad (72)
49 (48) Fruit compressed (very rarely not compressed but winged or didymous) (50)
+ Fruit not compressed, neither winged nor didymous (60)
50 (49) Petals yellow (or sometimes white with violet veins) (51)
+ Petals pink or white or absent (54)
51 (50) Fruit pendulous and indehiscent or breaking away into two 1-seeded halves (52)
+ Fruit erect and dehiscent Draba
52 (51) Plants small with simple leaves; fruit small, indehiscent, 1-locular (53)
+ Plants very tall with large pinnate leaves; fruits large 2-locular, breaking into two 1-seeded halves Megacarpaea
53 (52) Stigma on distinct but very short style Sameraria
+ Stigma sessile or subsessile Isatis
54 (50) Racemes terminal; fruit valves membranous (55)
+ Racemes axillary; fruit valves thickened, verrucose Coronopus
55 (54) Fruit compressed parallel to septum (56)
+ Fruit slightly to very compressed contrary to septum (57)
56 (55) Cauline leaves absent; seeds not winged Erophila
+ Cauline leaves present; seeds winged Savignya
57 (55) Fruits very compressed; septum very narrow (58)
+ Fruits not very compressed ; valves boat-shaped; septum not very narrow Winklera
58 (57) Fruits not winged or slightly winged above; valves keeled (59)
+ Fruits ± winged; (cultivated) Iberis
59 (58) Fruits small, slightly or not winged at the apex, less than 8 mm in diam.; style very short, (cauline leaves generally entire or dentate) Lepidium
+ Fruits c. 10 mm in diam., not winged; style long; (leaves 2-pinnatisect) Uranodactylus
60 (49) Basal leaves not so; fruit not jointed (61)
+ Basal leaves long-petioled; fruit, jointed Crambe
61 (60) Fruit valves dehiscent (62)
+ Fruit indehiscent (66)
62 (61) Plants perennial, often with somewhat thick rootstock (63)
+ Plants annual or biennial (64)
63 (62) Inflorescence ± lax; cauline leaves several, spathulate Aphragmus
+ Inflorescence ± capitate; cauline leaves 0-1, narrow Braya
64 (62) Leaves not so small, uniformly dentate to incised (65)
+ Leaves small, obovate, usually 3-dentate above to entire Lignariella
65 (64) Petals 1-3(-5) mm long, yellow; cauline leaves pinnatisect to entire, narrowed below, rarely slightly amplexicaul Rorippa
+ Petals 6-7 mm long, yellowish-white; cauline leaves cordate and amplexicaul Camelina
66 (61) Fruit biarticulated (67)
+ Fruit not biarticulated (68)
67 (66) Fruit globose, smooth; stigma sessile, depressed Crambe
+ Fruit globose, striated; apex shortly beaked Rapistrum
68 (66) Petals white or pinkish; fruit not cymbiform (69)
+ Petals yellow; fruit cymbiform Tauscheria
69 (68) Aerial stem many flowered (70)
+ Scapes 1-flowered; aerial stem 0 Pegaeophyton
70 (69) Fruiting pedicel neither so short nor appressed (71)
+ Fruiting pedicel very short (c. 1.5 mm Long), appressed to the axis Euclidium

Lower Taxa
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