Boraginaceae Juss., Gen. Pl.: 128 (1789) (‘Borragineae’), nom. cons.
  • M. WeigendEmail author
  • F. Selvi
  • D. C. Thomas
  • H. H. Hilger
Part of the The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants book series (FAMILIES GENERA, volume 14)


Annual, biennial or perennial, rarely monocarpic herbs, subshrubs and rarely erect or lianescent shrubs, not aromatic; primary root usually persistent, often developed as strong taproot, rarely primary and secondary roots thickened and spindle-shaped or primary root splitting from above and forming root pleiocorm; stems terete, rarely angular, then often winged from decurrent leaf bases, erect, rarely ascending, sprawling, decumbent or procumbent, prostrate, sometimes forming rhizomes or stolon tubers; indumentum usually present on whole plant, often strongly developed, scabrid to hispid or strigose, sometimes uncinate, very rarely with stiffly deflexed trichomes for climbing or lanate or consisting of stellate trichome complexes or largely absent (trichomes reduced to basal cells), trichomes often scabrid, often mineralized with Si or Ca, often inserted on a multicellular basal tubercle or cystolith cell, rarely unicellular, simple and smooth or uniseriate and gland-tipped. Leaves alternate, rarely opposite, simple, entire, exstipulate, cauline leaves usually sessile to semiamplexicaulous, lamina linear, narrowly ovate to subcircular, usually decurrent on petiole, more rarely base distinctly rounded or cordate and distinctly petiolate, basal leaves usually forming an ephemeral or persistent rosette, sessile or tapering into a petiole. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, frondose, bracteose or ebracteose, paraclades monochasial or dichasial, lax or very dense, usually scorpioid and contracted into boragoids, these paraclades present as simple terminal inflorescence or combined into complex thyrsoids, sometimes with extensive accessory paraclades and metatopia. Inflorescences sometimes congested into terminal “heads” or strongly reduced to axillary or terminal single flowers. Flowers pentamerous, hypogynous, bisexual, often proterandrous; perianth biseriate, sepals united at base or nearly to apex, usually radially symmetrical, sometimes slightly or distinctly unequal, calyx tubular to rotate, membranaceous, usually accrescent in fruit, spreading or closing; petals usually united to form distinct tube, rarely united only basally, corolla actinomorphic, rarely zygomorphic or irregular, rotate, hypocrateriform, infundibular, campanulate or tubular, rarely curved or geniculate, corolla tube internally usually appendaged near base with ring-shaped intrusion or 5 or 10 free scales (basal scales = annulus) and near throat with 5 crescent- or scale-shaped intrusions (= faucal scales, fornices), these closing the tube and/or appressed to anthers and/or protruding to form a ring around opening of tube, erect, recurved or incurved, papillose to pubescent, usually contrastingly coloured (often yellow or white vs. blue or white corolla lobes); corolla lobes reflexed to porrect, narrowly triangular to (usually) subcircular; aestivation usually quincuncial, rarely contorted; stamens epipetalous and antesepalous, rarely unequal or some abortive, filaments free from each other, usually short and anthers included in tube or partially or completely exserted, inserted at the same or different heights in tube, filament lengths and/or point of insertion differing between morphs in taxa with stigma height polymorphism or heterostyly; anthers usually free from each other, dorsifixed, dithecous, tetrasporangiate, opening by longitudinal slits, sometimes anthers coherent, connective sometimes appendaged; gynoecium 2-carpellate, syncarpous, usually with basal nectary disc; ovary bilocular, but secondarily subdivided into four chambers by false septa, 4-lobed in flower; style overtopped by the nutlets (gynobasic), usually simple, rarely 2–4 stylodia, included or exserted, stigmas capitate to oblong; ovules anatropous-epitropous, usually basal or sub-basal, erect to pendulous, unitegmic, tenuinucellate. Fruit a dry schizocarp separating into four 1-seeded, rarely two 2-seeded, indehiscent mericarpids, sometimes fewer by abortion or fusion; mericarpids (“nutlets”, “eremocarpids”) usually equal, rarely heteromorphic (in individual fruit, in fruits on different parts of the plant or in different morphs of a population), nutlet shape and size highly variable, ovoid to subcircular, tetrahedral, lenticellate, bowl-shaped or disc-shaped, often with differentiated, lobed/glochidiate or membranaceous (“winged”) margin, surface smooth and shiny to papillose and dull, pubescent, verrucose or with complex glochidia, sometimes with base strongly modified as ring and/or with basal elaiosome. Mature seeds with scanty endosperm, cotyledons fleshy, embryo usually straight.


Perennial Herb Corolla Tube Calyx Lobe Corolla Lobe Annual Herb 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Weigend
    • 1
    Email author
  • F. Selvi
    • 2
  • D. C. Thomas
    • 3
  • H. H. Hilger
    • 4
  1. 1.Nees-Institut für Biodiversität der PflanzenRheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-UniversitätBonnGermany
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze delle Produzioni Agroalimentari e dell’Ambiente (DISPAA), Sez. Scienza del Suolo e della Pianta, Laboratori di BotanicaUniversità di FirenzeFirenzeItaly
  3. 3.School of Biological SciencesThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina
  4. 4.Systematische Botanik und Pflanzengeographie, Institut für BiologieFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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