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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 5/8/2013)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 5/8/2013)
Contributor W. G. D'ARCY
Description Ephemeral or perennial herbs, rarely shrubs; some with rhizomes or a stout rootstock, a few paludal. Leaves estipulate, mostly alternate and in a rosette at the top of the rootstock, rarely opposite or whorled, the venation appearing parallel from the base of the expanded and often clasping petiole which some- times merges into the blade without distinction. Inflorescence an axillary scape, the 1 to many flowers sessile in the axils of sepal-like bracts and aggregated into heads or spikes. Flowers 4-merous, mostly bisexual, in some species the plants monoecious or dioecious; sepals 3 or 4, free or nearly so, imbricate, some- what irregular with a prominent midrib and thin to scarious margins; corolla sympetalous, the tube as long as or rarely much longer than the calyx, with 4 sepal-like lobes often much larger than the tube and sometimes strongly reflexed; stamens (2-)4, alternate with the corolla lobes and inserted below the middle of the tube, the anthers cordate to ovate, exserted on slender filaments and dehiscing longitudinally from the base; ovary superior, 2-carpelled, 1-4- loculed, the ovules 1 to many, tenuinucellate with 1 integument, placentation axile or basal, the style 1, with an elongate stigma. Fruit a 2- to many-seeded pyxis or an indehiscent, 1-seeded utricle; seeds with a straight or slightly curved embryo, endosperm fleshy. Pollen3 spheroidal, ovoidal, or irregular in shape, 18-44 u in diameter, free; pantoporate, pores 4-20, circular or irregular in shape, with or without an annulus, pore membrane sometimes present with or without granules, operculum present or not; exine & intine thin, 1-2 f thick; structure verrucate and sculpturing reticulate or microechinate.
Habit herbs shrubs
Distribution The family contains three genera: Bougeria, with one diminutive perrenial Andean species; Littorella, with three paludal species, two of North Temporate regions and the third from southern Chile; and Plantago. Plantago includes some 250 species of nearly cosmopolitan distribution, although it is little represented in the lowland tropics.
Note Two species of Plantago are grown in the Old World for the laxative properties of the seed coverings, and in many countries various species are of medicinal repute. In the main the Plantaginaceae has its economic import as a group of noxious weeds, although in Panama, only P. australis in the Boquete District is common enough to be a nuisance.
Reference Pilger, R. Plantaginaceae. In A. Engler & L. Diels, Das Pflanzenreich 4(269). 1937.
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