HYDROPHYLLACEAE - The Waterleaf Family

This is a small Family of about 250 species, distributed around the world but perhaps mainly coming from the Americas. They are all annual or perennial herbs or undershrubs. Most are grown as ornamental plants, with no economically useful plants in the Family. Some of the most popular and well-known plants are Nemophila and Phacelia species, while tropical plants from North America include Wigandia and Nama.

Characteristics of this Plant Family:

Leaves, Stem & Roots ~ The leaves are usually hairy or with glands, simple or compound, with no stipules. They are mainly alternate, rarely opposite.

Flowers ~ There are five free sepals and five petals fused at the base. The flowers are most often blue or purple, often wheel, bell or funnel shaped, and are usually borne in cymes. There are five stamens at the base of the corolla tube.

Seeds ~ The ovary is superior, and the fruit is a capsule containing many seeds.

Members of this Family usually have:

Blue or purple flowers
Hairy leaves without stipules
Seed capsule containing many seeds

and are annual or perennial herbs or small shrubs (not climbers or trees)

Back to the Introduction to Plant Families