PLUMBAGINACEAE - The Leadwort Family

This is a family of about 560 species in 10 genera found all over the world. They are annual or perennial herbs, shrubs and climbers. The type plant, Plumbago, the Cape Leadwort, has large enough flowers for the characteristics to be visible, but many species in temperate regions, e.g. Thrift (Armeria) and Sea Lavender (Limonium), have small flowers in dense clusters. They are generally grown for garden decoration or as cut flowers, either fresh or dried, and medicinal extracts are obtained from some species.

Characteristics of this Plant Family:

Leaves, Stem & Roots ~ The leaves are simple and undivided, and may be arranged in a basal rosette or alternately on aerial branching stems.

Flowers ~ The flowers are regular and bisexual, with parts in fives. There are five persistent sepals fused together to form a tube, which is often papery, coloured or ribbed. There are five petals also fused at the base to form a long tube, and the flowers are in dense clusters. There are five stamens.

Seeds ~ The ovary is superior, and contains one seed.

Members of this Family usually have:

A calyx with five joined sepals.
Flowers in dense clusters
Flowers with five petals
Superior ovary containing one seed

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