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(including agricultural, horticultural, and wild species)
by Lena Struwe firstname.lastname@example.org © 2009, All rights reserved.
Note: Listed characteristics are the most common characteristics, there might be exceptions in rare species. This compendium is available for download without cost at http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~struwe/ . Please send corrections and additions to the author.
Alliaceae ONION FAMILY
Biennial or perennial herbs Often with bulb (A) at base, surrounded by dry leaves (A) Onion-like smell Simple, narrow leaves in basal rosette (B) Inflorescence a terminal umbel (C), sometimes with bulblets Tepals 6, anthers 6 Ovary superior (D), 3-carpellate Fruit a capsule Seeds hard, dark (covered with phytomelans)
Examples: garlic, onion, leek, chives (Allium).
© Lena Struwe 2009, All rights reserved.
Alliaceae: Asparagales: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae
Amaranthaceae s. lat. AMARANTH FAMILY
Herbs or shrubs (rarely trees or vines), often reddish, many salt-loving plants (halophytes) Stems often succulent, and/or jointed Leaves alternate, simple (A) No stipules Flowers small, actinomorphic (B) Sepals usually 3-5, free or fused basally, surrounding the fruit (C) Petals absent Stamens as many as sepals, positioned on the inside of each sepal Ovary superior or half-inferior, Chenopodium 1-3 fused carpels, one locule and one ovule, basal placentation Fruit a berry, capsule, or nutlet Seeds strongly curved (D) C
Note: Chenopodiaceae is now included in Amaranthaceae. Examples: beet (Beta), amaranth, quinoa (Amaranthus), lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium), spinach (Spinacia), cock’s comb (Celosia).
© Lena Struwe 2009, All rights reserved.
Amaranthaceae: Caryophyllales: Eudicots: Angiospermae
Amaryllidaceae AMARYLLIS FAMILY
Herbaceous, perennial monocots Stem with bulb (A) at base Leaves linear, often grass-like, with parallel veins (B) Inflorescence an umbel Tepals 6, anthers 6 Hypanthium (fused tepals and base of stamens) often present Ovary inferior, 3-carpellate Fruit usually a capsule Seeds often black, many
Examples: amaryllis (Hippeastrum), snowdrop (Galanthus), belladonna-lily (Amaryllis), spider lily (Lycoris, Hymenocallis), daffodil (Narcissus), clivia (Clivia), swamp lily (Crinum),.spring snowflake (Leucojum), Aztec lily (Sprekelia), zephyr lily (Zephyranthes).
© Lena Struwe 2009, All rights reserved.
Amaryllidaceae: Asparagales: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae
Anacardiaceae CASHEW FAMILY
Trees, shrub, lianas, or perennial herbs With resin ducts and laticifers (sap often toxic) Often pinnately compound leaves (A) Flowers 5-merous, small, with nectary disc (B) Stamens 5 or 10 (B) One ovule per carpel, 1-5 carpels in a fruit Fruit a drupe
Examples: cashew (Anacardium), sumac (Rhus), poison ivy and poison oak (Toxicodendron), pistachio (Pistacia), mango (Mangifera), pink peppercorn tree (Schinus).
© Lena Struwe 2009, All rights reserved.
Anacardiaceae: Sapindales: Eurosids II: Eudicots: Angiospermae
not fused. sepals reduced or absent Fruit a dry fruit that divides into 2 parts (E. C small. and these characters only work well for the temperate herbaceous Apiaceae. simple umbels. All rights reserved. caraway (Carum). fennel (Foeniculum). Apiaceae: Apiales: Euasterids II: Eudicots: Angiospermae . dill (Anethum). not all genera in the family. celery (Apium). and simple leaves without a sheath. Some members of the former Araliaceae have berries.Apiaceae s. aralia (Aralia). Queen Anne’s lace/carrot (Daucus). often dissected or lobed (B). Examples: parsley (Petroselinum). lat. many E Petals 5. some very poisonous (oils. umbrella tree (Schefflera). hemlock (Conium). CARROT and GINSENG FAMILY D Mostly herbaceous Aromatic. white or yellow. ginseng (Panax). pinnate venation Leaf petiole broadened with sheath (C) surrounding stem or base of leaf Flowers arranged in umbels or double umbels (D). resins) Stems hollow (A) B Leaves alternate. cilantro (Coriandrum). schizocarp) A Myrrhis Notes: Apiaceae now includes Araliaceae. penny wort (Hydrocotyle). © Lena Struwe 2009. cumin (Cuminum). English Ivy (Hedera).
Apocynaceae MILKWEED & DOGBANE FAMILY Leaves opposite. © Lena Struwe 2009. sometimes fused Ovary superior Anthers often fused. rosy/Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus). vinca (Vinca). hoya (Hoya). oleander (Nerium). pinnate venation Leaf margin smooth (A) Stipules absent (A) D Latex (milky sap) in all branches and leaves Sepals 5. Apocynaceae: Gentianales: Euasterids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . mandevilla (Mandevilla). Petals 5. pollen in pollinia (C) in some species Fruit usually with 2 separate carpels. C B A Vincetoxicum Examples: dogbane (Apocynum). simple (A). bluestar (Amsonia). frangipani (Plumeria). All rights reserved. milkweed (Asclepias). and sometimes fused with style head to a gynostegium (B). developing into 1-2 dry capsular parts or berries Seeds often with tufts of hairs at one end (D) Note: Asclepiadaceae is now included in Apocynaceae.
Philodendron. arum (Amorphophallus and other genera). Spathiphyllum). vines. with reticulate or parallel venation (B) Inflorescence a terminal spadix of tiny flowers. subtended by a colored leaf/bract (spathe) (C) Flowers sometimes unisexual. anthurium (Anthirium). © Lena Struwe 2009.Araceae ARUM FAMILY Shrubs. or herbs. corms. elephant’s ear (Caladium). D Examples: taro (Colocasia). duckweeds (Lemna. Araceae: Alismatales: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae . highly reduced. All rights reserved. sometimes aquatic. Wolffia). sessile (D) Fruits usually berries (E) C B E A Calla Note: Lemnaceae is now included in the Araceae. tubers common Leaves simple. often fleshy Rhizomes (A). and many cultivated plants (Monstera. dumb cane (Dieffenbachia).
All rights reserved. rattan (Calamus). rarely simple Sheath at base of leaf Inflorescence axillary. sago palm (Metroxylon). date palm (Phoenix). pinnately or palmately divided (A). Arecaceae: Arecales: Commelinids: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae . without secondary growth Leaves large.Arecaceae PALM FAMILY A Trees or shrubs. saw palmetto (Serenoa). © Lena Struwe 2009. Açaí Palm (Euterpe). oil palm (Elaeis). sometimes lianas or herbs Stem usually unbranched. betel palm (Areca). large (B) Flowers sessile Tepals 6 Fruit a fleshy drupe with one seed (C) C B Areca Examples: coconut (Cocos).
red hot poker (Kniphofia). often with spiny or dentate margin (A) Inflorescence a raceme or panicle Flowers actinomorphic or zygomorphic Tepals 3+3. especially leaves Leaves simple. haworthia (Haworthia). 3 locules. rarely trees Succulents. alternate. Asphodelaceae: Asparagales: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae . shrubs. 3 fused carpels. asphodel (Asphodelus). Examples: aloe (Aloe). sometimes fused Stamens 6 Ovary superior.Asphodelaceae ALOE FAMILY Herbs. © Lena Struwe 2009. axile placentation (B) Fruit a capsule Seed with an aril A Aloe B Note: Many of these genera were previously placed in Liliaceae. parallel-veined. All rights reserved.
Carduus). chrysanthemum (Dendranthema). asters (Aster. burdock (Arctium). wormwood (Artemisia). boneset. with pinnate venation Inflorescence a head (capitulum. often with hairs on top (pappus) C D A B Artemisia Examples: Echinacea (Echinacea). A) with many flowers.Asteraceae ASTER & SUNFLOWER FAMILY Herbaceous usually Leaves variable. D). dandelion (Taraxacum). etc. sunflower (Helianthus). either tubular (C) or tongue-shaped (ligulate) Sepals absent Petals fused. snakeroot (Eupatorium). with involucral bracts surrounding it (B) Flowers small. knapweed (Centaurea).). mugwort. All rights reserved. artichoke (Cynara). © Lena Struwe 2009. usually with 5 small lobes (C) Anthers fused into a ring around style Ovary inferior Fruit a dry nut (achene. Asteraceae: Asterales: Euasterids II: Eudicots: Angiospermae . ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum). thistles (Cirsium. groundsel (Senecio). ragwort.
Asteraceae: Asterales: Euasterids II: Eudicots: Angiospermae .Asteraceae ASTER & SUNFLOWER FAMILY Taraxacum Anthemis Ambrosia © Lena Struwe 2009. All rights reserved.
Betulaceae: Fagales: Eurosids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae .Betulaceae BIRCH FAMILY Trees or shrubs Leaves simple. hazelnuts and filberts (Corylus). unisexual Petals absent Styles 2 or 3 Fruit a nut or 2-winged samara (D). spiral (A) Leaf margin with teeth (A) Inflorescences unisexual. female: short upright catkin (C) Flowers wind-pollinated. surrounded by leafy bracts (E) B A C D Betula E Examples: birch (Betula). ironwood (Carpinus). male: hanging catkin (B). © Lena Struwe 2009. All rights reserved. alder (Alnus).
broccoli. with pinnate venation Leaf edge often dentate (A) or lobed Inflorescence a raceme Petals 4. brussels sprouts. woad (Isatis). and does not include Capparaceae (capers) and Cleomaceae. arugula (Diplotaxis. Brassicaceae: Brassicales: Eurosids II: Eudicots: Angiospermae . C) C B A Arabis Note: This family circumscription refers to Brassicaceae s. turnip (Brassica).Brassicaceae s. white. str. All rights reserved. MUSTARD FAMILY Herbaceous With mustard oils Leaves simple. forming a cross + from above (B). garlic mustard (Alliaria). Examples: white mustard (Sinapis). black mustard. rutabaga. cabbage. yellow rocket (Barbarea). or pink Stamens 6 Fruit a dry capsule with inner wall (silique. water cress (Nasturtium). © Lena Struwe 2009. alternate (A). radish (Raphanus). yellow. canola. horseradish (Armoracia). collards. str. mouse-ear and thale cress (Arabidopsis). kale. ‘rustica’ type). not fused. often lobed.
© Lena Struwe 2009. viper’s bugloss (Echium). in center (D) Fruit a schizocarp with 4 nutlets (E) A D B C E Echium Note: These characters refers to Boraginaceae s. attached to base of ovary. comfrey (Symphytum). then blue or purple (B) Anthers attached to corolla (C) Ovary superior. simple Inflorescence a scorpioid or helicoid cyme (A) Flowers sympetalous. 4 locules Style 1. BORAGE FAMILY Herbs with stiff hairs Leaves alternate.str. 5-merous Corolla often pink as young. lungwort (Pulmonaria). Boraginaceae: Euasterids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae .Boraginaceae s. All rights reserved. actinomorphic. str. 2-carpellate. Examples: borage (Borago). forget-me-not (Myosotis).
with peltate scales Leaf margins entire. serrate. or with spines Inflorescence a terminal spike. alternate (A). raceme or head Bracts often brightly colored (B) Tepals 6 Fruit a berry or capsule (multiple fruit in pineapple) A Puya Examples: pineapple (Ananas). terrestrial or epiphytic Leaves simple.Bromeliaceae BROMELIAD FAMILY Herbs. All rights reserved. air plant and Spanish moss (Tillandsia). sheathing at base. E Ananas © Lena Struwe 2009. B Bromeliaceae: Poales: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae .
or leaves quickly deciduous. B) Flower usually solitary (C) Tepals many. peyote (Lophophora). nopales (Opuntia). anthers many Ovary inferior Fruit a berry (D) C D A B Examples: prickly pear. © Lena Struwe 2009. many together. dragon fruit (Hylocereus). sometimes triangular or flattened (A) Leaves highly reduced or absent Spines from axillary ‘buds’. not paired two together (instead of leaves in most species. perennial Stems succulent. Cactaceae: Caryophyllales: Eudicots: Angiospermae . pitaya.Cactaceae CACTUS FAMILY Shrubs or trees. christmas and easter cactus (Schlumbergera). All rights reserved.
lat. rarely shrubs or trees With latex. Lobelia © Lena Struwe 2009. without stipules (A). lobelia. axile placentation With secondary pollen presentation. with pollen deposited on the outside of the style. 5 Corollas either bellshaped (B) or two-lipped or tubular (C) Ovary inferior. All rights reserved. simple (rarely compound).Campanulaceae s. C Examples: bell flower (Campanula). or similarly (D) Fruit a berry or capsule Campanula D A Note: Lobeliaceae is included in Campanulaceae. balloon flower (Platycodon). with 2-5 carpels. Leaves usually alternate. Campanulaceae: Asterales: Euasterids II: Eudicots: Angiospermae . Petals fused. BLUEBELL B FAMILY Herbs. cardinal flower (Lobelia).
with pinnate venation Leaf edge smooth Stems often with thickened nodes (A) at base of each leaf pair Sepals 5. not fused Fruit a dry capsule opening at top (C) Seeds attached to central column inside capsule Seeds many. simple. Caryophyllaceae: Caryophyllales: Eudicots: Angiospermae . Stellaria). All rights reserved. often strongly curved (D) B C B A D A C Examples: Carnation (Dianthus). © Lena Struwe 2009. black. chickweed (Cerastium. corncockle (Agrostemma).Caryophyllaceae CARNATION & PINK FAMILY Herbaceous Leaves opposite (A). baby’s breath (Gypsophila). fused (B) Petals 5. campion (Silene). soapwort (Saponaria).
watermelon (Citrullus). often lobed. © Lena Struwe 2009. squashes and pumpkins (Cucurbita). 3 carpels. solitary flowers common Flowers unisexual (rarely not).Cucurbitaceae CUCUMBER FAMILY Vines One tendril per node (A) Leaves simple. alternate. parietal placentation (D) Fruit a berry or pepo (or capsule or samara) A B Bryonia D C Examples: melon and cucumber (Cucumis). All rights reserved. palmately veined. with hypanthium (C) Petals fused or absent. no stipules (B) Inflorescence axillary. loofah (Luffa). 5 Anthers 5 Ovary inferior. Cucurbitaceae: Cucurbitales: Eurosids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae .
Cupressaceae: Coniferophyta . leathery (C). bald cypress (Taxodium). dawn redwood (Metasequoia). All rights reserved. juniper (Juniperus). Note: Taxodiaceae is now included in Cupressaceae. coast redwood (Sequoia). arbor-vitae (Thuja). © Lena Struwe 2009. cypress (Cupressus. B C A Examples: cedar. scale-like (B) Unisexual cones with few cone scales (C) Female cones sometimes berry-like. Chamaecyparis). giant seqouia (Sequoiadendron).Cupressaceae CEDAR FAMILY A Trees or shrubs Bark peels off in strips Branches often flattened in appearance (A) Leaves evergreen.
without nodes. All rights reserved. 1-seeded nut C C F B A D E B A Examples: sedge (Carex).Cyperaceae SEDGE FAMILY Herbaceous monocot Stems often as rhizomes (A) and upright culms (B) Stems 3-sided. with parallel veins. arranged at 3 angles (tristichous) Leaves sheathing at base Inflorescence often divided into male and female parts (C). not hollow Leaves linear. nut sedge and papyrus (Cyperus) © Lena Struwe 2009. solid. Cyperaceae: Poales: Commelinids: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae . F) Fruit a small. hanging free Ovary superior. often inside a bottle-shaped structure (perigynium. as spikelets (D) on terminal branches Flowers small. unisexual. sitting behind a bract (E) Sepals and petals absent (rarely present) Anthers 3. grass-like.
All rights reserved. Equisetaceae: Equisetales .Equisetaceae HORSETAIL FAMILY B Herbs Stems ridged. C Equisetum © Lena Struwe 2009. hollow. circular with nodes and sheaths (A) Leaves sometimes absent. thin and hollow Sporangia in terminal heads (B) Spores small. with arms (C) A Examples: horsetail (Equisetum).
Pyrola). wintergreen (Chimaphila. (Vaccinium). cranberry. Ericaceae: Ericales: Asterids: Eudicots: Angiospermae . and Pyrolaceae.Ericaceae s. All rights reserved. etc. Flowers actinomorphic (arely bilateral). sheep laurel and mountain laurel (Kalmia). Petals 5 (rarely 0-7). Ovary superior or inferior. often leathery and evergreen. without stipules. often hanging (A). Monotropaceae. berry. 5+5 (rarely less). azalea and labrador tea (Rhododendron. or drupe. Examples: blueberry. Note: Included in the Ericaceae is Empetraceae. fused. usually with 5 carpels Style single Fruit a capsule. often with pores as openings (B). A Leaves simple. lat. attached to petals Anthers inverted (bent upside down during development). indian pipe (Monotropa). heather (Calluna). Vaccinium With nectary disk inside stamens. © Lena Struwe 2009. BLUEBERRY FAMILY Shrubs or small trees. sometimes herbs (some species mycotrophic and without chlorophyll). Ledum). B Stamens in two whorls.
often white Stems often succulent and fleshy (A) Leaves simple. All rights reserved. physic nut (Jatropha) . cassava and manihot (Manihot). capsule.Euphorbiaceae SPURGE FAMILY Herbs. rubber tree (Hevea). © Lena Struwe 2009. Codiaeum). Euphorbiaceae: Malpighiales: Eurosids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . trees or vines With latex. sometimes highly reduced without sepals and petals B Nectaries common Ovary superior. A) Inflorescence cyme or cyathium (B) Flowers unisexual. copper leaf (Acalypha). two stipules often present (sometimes as two spines below each leaf. croton (Croton. 3 carpels Fruit a schizocarp. shrubs. castor bean (Ricinus). or drupe Euphorbia A Examples: poinsettia and euphorbs (Euphorbia). 5-merous.
soybean (Glycine). sometimes with tendrils Stipules at base of each leaf (variable in size) Corolla of ‘butterfly-type’ (B). with many small leaflets). Pisum). Fabaceae: Fabales: Eurosids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . lentil (Lens). peanuts (Arachis). clover (Trifolium). sweet pea (Lathyrus). a dry capsule without inner dividing walls. nutrients stored in dicotyledons inside seed Note: the flower characters work only for subfamily Faboideae. licorice (Glychyrriza). A B Examples: beans (Phaseolus). and with seeds attached to one side Seeds splits in 2. © Lena Struwe 2009. All rights reserved. alfalfa (Medicago). C). carob (Ceratonia). compound (A. 9 often fused Fruit a bean (legume. keel Keel hidden between wings Stamens and style hidden inside keel C Stamens 10 . some trees and shrubs Leaves alternate. bilateral with 5 parts: banner/standard. chickpeas. wings.Fabaceae BEAN FAMILY Mostly herbaceous. peas (Vicia.
tiny.Fagaceae OAK FAMILY Trees Leaves simple. wind-pollinated Fruit a nut (acorn in oaks). usually alternate. chestnut (Castanea). Fagaceae: Fagales: Eurosids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . and a few female flowers inside wooden bracts (cupule) at the base of the male inflorescence (C) Woody bracts Flowers unisexual. often highly reduced. surrounded by the cupule (D) A B D Quercus C Examples: oak (Quercus). often lobed (A) Inflorescences unisexual with male catkins or heads (B). beech (Fagus). © Lena Struwe 2009. All rights reserved.
Geraniaceae GERANIUM FAMILY Herbs Often with aromatic oil glands and hairs. fragrant Leaves simple or compound. free (B) E Stamens 10. usually palmately veined C and lobed. fused at base into a ring. usually 5 fused carpels. Pelargonium. styles 5 (C) Style growing longer and firmer in fruit (D) Fruit a capsule or schizocarp (E) D B A Geranium Examples: crane’s bill. in two whorls. umbel or flowers single Flowers actinomorphic D or zygomorphic Petals 5. Geraniaceae: Geraniales: Rosids: Angiospermae . All rights reserved. alternate (A) Stipules common Inflorescence a cyme. Erodium). filaree (Geranium. © Lena Struwe 2009. staminodes common (C) Ovary superior. stork’s bill.
blue-eyed grasses (Sisyrhinchium). and bulbs common Leaves sometimes unifacial. sometimes of different sizes Stamens 3 Ovary inferior. All rights reserved. often sheathing at base. freesia (Freesia). corms. gladiolus (Gladiolus).Iridaceae IRIS FAMILY Herbs or shrubs Rhizomes. parallel-veined (A) Inflorescence terminal. or simple and linear-narrow. often with bracts below (B) Tepals 3+3. spike. crocus. placentation axile (C) Style often petal-like Fruit a capsule B A C Iris Examples: iris (Iris). cluster or solitary flowers. Iridaceae: Asparagales: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae . 3 fused carpels. 3 locules. © Lena Struwe 2009. saffron (Crocus).
wingnut (Pterocarya). aromatic when crushed Inflorescences unisexual Male catkins long. no sepals or tepals. pecan (Carya). hanging (B) Female flowers solitary or small groups Flowers reduced. but is a nut enclosed in fleshy or hard involucres (husks).Juglandaceae WALNUT FAMILY Trees. pinnately compound (A). sometimes these fall off (C) A C B Juglans Examples: hickory and walnut (Juglans). All rights reserved. © Lena Struwe 2009. no stipules. deciduous Leaves alternate. wind-pollinated Fruits drupe-like. Juglandaceae: Fagale: Eurosids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae .
brownish with thin margins (C). © Lena Struwe 2009. grass-like and slender. often tristichous (arranged in 3 rows) Inflorescences as cymes or heads. hollow. similar to leaves Leaves simple. parallel-veined. or triangular. alternate. All rights reserved. rather reduced.Juncaceae RUSH FAMILY Herbs. Flowers small. sheathing around stem (B). 3 fused carpels Style 3-branched Fruit a capsule. usually brown C B A Juncus Examples: rush (Juncus). not fused. actinomorphic Tepals 6. wood rush (Luzula). Juncaceae: Poales: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae . often with rhizomes (A) and perennial Stem sometimes round. Stamens 6 Ovary superior.
sage (Salvia). Lamiaceae: Lamiales: Euasterids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . dead nettle (Lamium). catnip (Nepeta). coleus (Coleus). beebalm (Monarda). with essential oils.Lamiaceae MINT FAMILY B Herbaceous (some woody in the tropics) Aromatic. simple (A). All rights reserved. © Lena Struwe 2009. arranged at 90 degrees angle to each other Stipules absent (A) Stem usually quadrangular Flowers in groups (verticillasters) C in leaf axils or in terminal spikes (B) A Sepals fused. 5 (C) Corolla 2-lipped (D) Stamens 2 or 4 (E) Fruits: 4 nutlets hidden inside calyx D Origanum Examples: basil (Ocimum). often hairy with glands in or on E leaves or glandular hairs Leaves opposite. lavender (Lavandula). mint (Mentha). thyme (Thymus). rosemary (Rosmarinus). teak (Tectona).
free Stamens 3-12. All rights reserved. cyme or solitary flowers (A) Flowers small. leaves often punctate Leaves simple. cinnamon. actinomorphic. sassafras (Sassafras). usually superior Fruit berry or drupe A B Laurus Examples: bayleaf (Laurus). © Lena Struwe 2009. rarely lobed Stipules absent Inflorescence axillary. avocado (Persea). some as staminodes Anther opens with 2 or 4 valves popping open (B) Ovary 1-carpellate. alternate. evergreen. Lauraceae: Laurales: Magnoliids: Eudicots: Angiospermae . camphor (Cinnamomum).Lauraceae LAUREL FAMILY Trees and shrubs With aromatic oil glands. with hypanthium Tepals 3+3.
Liliaceae s. Melianthaceae. but many genera have been moved to other families such as Alstroemeriaceae. 3-carpellate. fritillary (Fritillaria). © Lena Struwe 2009. Ovary superior. stigma 3 Fruit a capsule Seeds flattened. sheathing at base. free. often basal. lily (Lilium). trout lily (Erythronium). parallel-veined (B) Inflorescence terminal. Colchicaceae. Liliaceae: Liliales: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae . with nectaries at base Stamens 6. free (C). str. LILY FAMILY B C Perennial herbs Bulbs or rhizomes (A) Does not smell like onion Leaves alternate (rarely whorled). axile placentation Style single. Examples: tulips (Tulipa). often spotted or striped. raceme or solitary flower Tepals 6. All rights reserved. 3 locules (D). and Smilacaceae. ellipsoid to rounded D A Tulipa Note: Liliaceae were previously a larger family.
Magnoliaceae MAGNOLIA FAMILY Tree and shrubs Leaves simple. alternate (A). solitary. on elongated structure in center of flower Fruit an aggregate of berries. apocarpous. large (B) Tepals many ( rarely few). with deciduous stipules around the buds in spring Flower terminal. whorled or spirally arranged Anthers many (C) Ovaries many. All rights reserved. © Lena Struwe 2009. or samaras C B A Liriodendron Examples: magnolia (Magnolia). follicles. Magnoliaceae: Magnoliales: Magnoliids: Eudicots: Angiospermae . tulip tree (Liriodendron).
balsa wood (Ochroma).Malvaceae s. often D convolute in bud Stamens 5-many. jute (Corchorus). hibiscus (Hibiscus). mallow (Malva). 5 (C). marshmallow (Althaea). 2-many carpels Fruit usually a capsule or a wheel-shaped schizocarp (D) Note: This family now includes the mainly tropical families Bombacaceae and Sterculiaceae. kapok (Ceiba). as well as the tree family Tiliaceae. simple or palmately compound (A). baobab (Adansonia). often fused in a tube around the style or as separate bundles Ovary usually superior. © Lena Struwe 2009. with palmate venation (rarely pinnate) With stipules that fall off early Flowers actinomorphic. B) C B Petals free. okra (Abelmoschus). linden. All rights reserved. cacao (Theobroma). Malva Malvaceae: Malvales: Eurosids II: Eudicots: Angiospermae . lat. cola (Cola). 5-merous. often with an epicalyx (extra calyx outside normal calyx. The characters listed here works best for temperate herbaceous Malvaceae. basswood (Tilia). COTTON FAMILY A Herbs (shrubs or trees) With stellate or peltate hairs (star-shaped or stalked scales) Leaves alternate. Examples: Cotton (Gossypium). durian (Durian).
or flattened or urn-shaped receptacle) Flowers unisexual. E). © Lena Struwe 2009. or herbs Monoecious or dioecious Often with latex (milky sap) Leaves simple. breadfruit/jackfruit (Artocarpus). very small (C) C Sepals 0-10. osage-orange (Maclura). spike. sometimes in/on a fleshy perianth or receptacle E Examples: mulberry (Morus). fused at least at base Petals absent (D) D Stamens 1-6 Morus Styles 2 (D) Fruit is a multiple of many 1-seeded achenes (nutlets. with stipules (A) Inflorescence axillary (head.Moraceae MULBERRY FAMILY B A Trees. catkin (B). raceme. Moraceae: Rosales: Eurosids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . All rights reserved. shrubs. fig /banyan trees (Ficus).
© Lena Struwe 2009. cloves (Syzygium). placentation axile Fruit a capsule (C) or fleshy B A C Eucalyptus Examples: eucalyptus (Eucalyptus).Myrtaceae MYRTLE FAMILY Trees and shrubs Leaves and stems with oil glands. myrtle (Myrtus). with hypanthium Sepals and petals 4-5 Stamens many. inferior. very aromatic Leaves opposite or alternate. bottlebrush (Callistemon). All rights reserved. free or fused into a few bundles. allspice (Pimenta). sometimes leathery (A) Flowers actinomorphic. Myrtaceae: Myrtales: Rosids: Eudicots: Angiospermae . simple. guava (Psidium). often the showy part of the flower (B) Nectary disk on top of ovary or inside flower Ovary syncarpous. tea tree (Leptospemum).
fringe tree (Chionanthus). jasmine (Jasminum). olive (Olea). © Lena Struwe 2009.Oleaceae OLIVE and JASMINE FAMILY Trees and shrubs (vines) No latex Leaves opposite. Oleaceae: Lamiales: Euasterids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . berry (D). ash (Fraxinus). lilac (Syringa). no stipules (A) Inflorescence a panicle or raceme (B) Flowers actinomorphic Sepals and petals 4. osmanthus (Osmanthus). capsule or samara B C A D Ligustrum Examples: golden bells (Forsythia). 2 ovules in each locule Fruit a drupe. simple or compound. privet (Ligustrum). fused (C) (reduced in wind-pollinated species) Stamens 2 (C) Ovary 2-carpellate. All rights reserved. superior.
with many dust-sized seeds Note: some of the advanced floral characters are missing in subfamilies Cypripedioideae and Apostasioideae. spike. lower tepal often enlarged into a lower lip (labellum. boat orchid (Cymbidium). terrestrial or epiphytes Tubers. dendrobium (Dendrobium).Orchidaceae ORCHID FAMILY Herbs. with parallel venation (B) C A Inflorescence a raceme. corms and rhizomes common (A) Epiphytic species with air roots (with white velamen) Leaves alternate or whorled. moth orchid (Phalaneopsis). © Lena Struwe 2009. slipper orchid (Cypripedium. inside 180 degree twisted flower stalk (resupinate) Fruit a capsule. All rights reserved. fused with style and Calypso stigma into a gynostegium/column Pollen spread as pollinia Ovary inferior. cattleya (Cattleya). Paphiopedilum). B Orchidaceae: Asparagales: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae . simple. epidendrum (Epidendrum). free. some with spurs or sacs Stamen 1. Examples: vanilla (Vanilla). often sheathing at base. 3-carpellate. or solitary flower Flowers zygomorphic (C) Tepals 3+3. C).
cow-wheat (Melampyrum). brown. sometimes scale-like Inflorescences often with colored bracts (B). eyebright (Euphrasia). 1-locular. 2-carpellate Fruit a capsule (D). C) Stamens 4. sometimes without chlorophyll (then white. lousewort (Pedicularis). Indian paintbrush (Castilleja). as racemes. Orobanchaceae: Lamiales: Euasterids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . © Lena Struwe 2009. Examples: broom-rape (Orobanche).Orobanchaceae s. All rights reserved. purple. red or pink) Root system small (A) or haustoria Herbs or rarely shrubs Leaves opposite or alternate. lat. BROOM-RAPE FAMILY Fully or partial root parasites on other plants. spikes (B) or solitary flowers Petals 5. 2-lipped (3 lobes on lower lip. false foxglove (Agalinis). fused. simple. with many tiny seeds B C D Melampyrum A Note: Several genera have recently been moved from Scrophulariaceae into Orobanchaceae. beech drops (Epiphagus). 2 long and 2 short Ovary superior.
Pinaceae: Coniferophyta . maturing over several years. fir (Abies). with woody and spirally arranged cone scales (C).Pinaceae PINE FAMILY Monoecious trees (rarely shrubs) Usually evergreen Bark not falling off in long strips Resinous. cedar (Cedrus). wind-pollinated Female cones large. douglas fir (Pseudotsuga). © Lena Struwe 2009. fragrant Leaves as linear needles. All rights reserved. D 1-10 in fascicles on branches. each scale with 2 winged seeds (D) A B C B Pinus Examples: pine (Pinus). fall off after releasing pollen. spirally arranged (A) Male cones smaller (B). larch (Larix). sometimes flattened. spruce (Picea). hemlock (Tsuga).
toad flax (Linaria). speedwell (Veronica). All rights reserved.Plantaginaceae s. 2+2 together (A) Ovary superior (B) Seeds attached to center of fruit (axile placentation) Fruit a dry capsule (B) Seeds numerous Veronica A B Note: Many species in this family previously belonged to Scrophulariaceae. often 2-lipped) Stamens 4. Callitrichaceae and Globulariaceae are also included in Plantaginaceae. PLANTAIN FAMILY Herbaceous (rarely shrubs) Hairy plants. foxglove (Digitalis). © Lena Struwe 2009. chinese house (Collinsia). snapdragon (Antirrhinum). Examples: plaintain (Plantago). turtlehead (Chelone). often aromatic Leaves alternate or opposite Flowers bilateral (A. beard tongue (Penstemon). butter-and-eggs. lat. Plantaginaceae: Lamiales: Euasterids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae .
All rights reserved. Plantaginaceae: Lamiales: Euasterids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae .Plantaginaceae PLANTAIN FAMILY Linaria Digitalis Plantago © Lena Struwe 2009.
© Lena Struwe 2009. styles and anthers hanging out from spikelets Stamens 3 Style often branched and plumose (feather-like) Fruit a one-seeded nut (caryopsis) C Poa Examples: corn/maize (Zea). with parallel venation. hollow. reed (Phragmites). bamboo (many genera). Poaceae: Poales: Monocotyledons: Angiospermae . C with nodes (B) Leaves linear. oats (Avena). rye (Secale). shoots) Stems round. rice (Oryza). subtended by bracts (glumes) Flowers without sepals and petals A Spike (awn) often present on bracts Stamens and ovary hidden inside bracts (D). All rights reserved. called palea and lemma When flowering.Poaceae GRASS FAMILY D Herbaceous or seldom woody Stems often rhizomatous and/or with erect culms B (A. barley (Hordeum). wheat (Triticum). fescue (Festuca). bentgrass (Agrostis). sugarcane (Saccharum). sheathing. with ligule at top of sheath Inflorescences with terminal and axillary spikelets (C). bluegrass (Poa).
B) Inflorescences in fascicles arranged in spikes or racemes (C) Flowers small. fused at base (D) Stamens often with nectaries at their base Ovary superior Fruit a 3-sided achene or nutlet with a single seed (E) A D C B E Polygonum Examples: rhubarb (Rheum). knotweed. sorrel (Rumex). often with stipular sheath surrounding the stem at base of leaf (ocrea. smartweed. Fallopia).Polygonaceae BUCKWHEAT FAMILY Herbs or shrubs. pinkweek. persicaria (Polygonum. All rights reserved. simple (A). Polygonaceae: Caryophyllales: Eudicots: Angiospermae . Persicaria. often pinkish or greenish (D) Tepals 3+3 or 5. © Lena Struwe 2009. buckwheat (Fagopyrum). sometimes vines or trees Stems with swollen nodes Leaves alternate.
© Lena Struwe 2009. wolfsbane (Aconitum). meadow rue (Thalictrum). baneberry. love-in-amist (Nigella). achene (D) or berry (often aggregated from several carpels) D B Ranunculus Examples: buttercup (Ranunculus). cohosh (Actaea). goldenseal (Hydrastis). pasque flower (Pulsatilla). clematis (Clematis). with or without stipules Inflorescence a cyme or flowers single Flowers with spirally arranged parts (B) Sepals often petal-like. hepatica (Hepatica). anemone. free Petals free. separate (apocarpous). often lobed or dissected. lianas or shrubs Leaves alternate. columbine (Aquilegia). few to many. superior (B) Fruit a follicle. All rights reserved. marsh marigold (Caltha). hellebore (Helleborus). bugbane. Rancunulaceae: Ranunculales: Eudicots: Angiospermae . often with nectaries (C) on inside base and/or spurred Stamens many (B) Gynoecium with few-many carpels.Ranunculaceae BUTTERCUP FAMILY C A Herbs. simple or compound (A). monkshood. larkspur (Delphinium). windflower (Anemone).
All rights reserved. Aconitum Rancunulaceae: Ranunculales: Eudicots: Angiospermae .Ranunculaceae BUTTERCUP FAMILY Actaea Aquilegia Anemone © Lena Struwe 2009.
cup-like structure composed from the fused petal. often pome (apple-like). strawberries (Fragaria). Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla). or dry nutlets C Rosa Examples: Rose (Rosa). spiraea (Spiraea) © Lena Struwe 2009. apple (Malus). All rights reserved. sepal. blackberry /raspberry (Rubus). dry capsules. pear (Pyrus). free D Hypanthium (C. hawthorn (Crataegeus). often shrubs or trees Stipules (A) at base of each leaf Sepals 5. drupelets (blackberry-like). plum/almond/peach/apricot (Prunus). Rosaceae: Rosales: Eurosids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae .Rosaceae ROSE & APPLE FAMILY A B Herbaceous or woody. petals 5 (B). and stamen bases) Stamens usually numerous (D) Fruit type variable. drupe (stone fruit).
All rights reserved. Rosaceae: Rosales: Eurosids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae .Rosaceae ROSE & APPLE FAMILY Fragaria Alchemilla Rosa Potentilla Malus © Lena Struwe 2009.
drupe. fruit wall often with oil glands Examples: lemon. often in groups. sometimes fused (C) Ovary superior. mandarine. free or fused Nectary disk inside flower below ovary and stamens (B) D Stamens 8-many. kumquat (Citrus). no stipules Leaves often with oil glands as small dots inside leaves (fragrant) C B Flowers actinomorphic (A) Sepals 4-5. lianas (herbs). © Lena Struwe 2009. juicy part is swollen hairs). Rutaceae: Sapindales: Eurosis II: Eudicots: Angiospermae . schizocarp or hesperidium (D. 4-many fused carpels. prickly-ash (Zanthoxylum). free or fused Petals 4-5. grape fruit. shrubs. All rights reserved. simple or compound. rue (Ruta). lime. axile placentation (D) Fruit a berry. orange.Rutaceae RUE or CITRUS FAMILY Citrus A Trees. sometimes with thorns Leaves alternate.
drupe. © Lena Struwe 2009. noni (Morinda). coffee (Coffea). corolla often trumpetshaped Stamens 4-5. inserted into corolla wall.Rubiaceae COFFEE FAMILY Herbs. madder (Galium. or trees Leaves opposite. sometimes aggregate Examples: bedstraw. Ipecacuanha (Psychotria). quinine tree (Cinchona). buttonbush (Cephalanthus). shrubs. morinda. B) Inflorescence cymose. Galium C B A Coffea D D Rubiaceae: Gentianales: Euasterids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . fused. Rubia). fused at base Petals 4-5. or schizocarp. West Indian jasmine (Ixora). or flowers solitary Flowers actinomorphic (C) Sepals (0)4-5. yohimbine (Pausinystalia). as many as petals Ovary inferior. All rights reserved. placentation axile (D) Fruit a capsule. pentas (Pentas). simple with entire margin (A) With interpetiolar stipules (or stipules leaf-like to resemble whorled leaves. usually 2-carpellate. berry.
simple. WILLOW FAMILY Trees or shrubs. A alternate (A) With or without stipules Inflorescences as unisexual catkins (B) Each flower with a bract below (C) B Sepals and petals absent (C) Each flower with nectaries Ovary from 2 fused carpels.Salicaceae s. Salicaceae: Malpighiales: Eurosids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . dioecious Leaves deciduous. poplar. aspen (Populus). style very short (D) Fruit a capsule with many seeds (E) Seeds with long hairs (F) (wind-dispersed) B Salix F C D E Note: Flacourtiaceae was recently included in Salicaceae. The field characters listed here work mostly for Salicaceae in its older. Examples: willow (Salix). cottonwood. str. All rights reserved. © Lena Struwe 2009. more restricted sense.
Examples: figwort (Schrophularia). 2 fused carpels Fruit a capsule with many seeds A B Verbascum Note: Many genera of ‘old’ Schrophulariaceae were recently moved out of the family into Plantaginaceae. © Lena Struwe 2009. never parasitic Stem not angular Leaves alternate or opposite Flowers usually at least slightly zygomorphic (rarely actinomorphic. fused at least at base (B) Stamens 2 or 4 (rarely 5). The characters listed here are for the new version of the family. mudworts (Limosella). All rights reserved. str. Scrophulariaceae: Lamiales: Euasterids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . fused at base Petals 5.Scrophulariaceae s. butterfly bush (Buddleja). A) Sepals 5. str. Orobanchaceae. mullein (Verbascum). and unfortunately there aren’t many good field characters to identify Scrophulariaceae s. MULLEIN and FIGWORT FAMILY Herbs. inserted into corolla tube (B) Ovary superior.
trumpet-. chili pepper/sweet pepper (Capsicum). or capsule Seeds many. fused a little or a lot. corolla star-. PEPPER. jimsonweed (Datura). petunia (Petunia). Lycopersicon). angel trumpet (Brugmansia). fused D Petals 5. often woody in tropics Leaves alternate (A).Solanaceae TOMATO. often hairy. Solanaceae: Solanales: Euasterids I: Eudicots: Angiospermae . drupe. incl. porate (C) (peppershaker-type) Berry (D). tomatillo (Physalis). E) Solanum C A B E Examples: potato/tomato (Solanum. sometimes with prickles Stipules absent (A) Sepals 5. often lobed. or funnelshaped or tubular Ovary superior (B) Anthers often fused. & POTATO FAMILY Herbaceous in temperate areas. tobacco (Nicotiana). All rights reserved. attached to center of fruit (axile placentation. © Lena Struwe 2009.
. NJ. © Gerhard Keuck. http://caliban. © Kurt Stueber. F. All rights reserved. Britton & Rose. http://www. http://www. The Cactaceae.gov/ IMAGES used in this compendium (copyright free or used under Creative Commons licensing) Lindman. many color photos. 2009. II. Project Runeberg. Reg. © Daniel Schweich. 1919-1923.uni-hamburg.de/lindman/ Köhler. Flora von Deutschland Österreich und der Schweiz. and wild species).de/koehler/index. All native species in the USA are listed.html Curtis.1883-1914. Published by the author.mpg. http://plants. Elsevier Academic Press. Flower-Garden Displayed. classification and evolution of plants. L. New Brunswick. Excellent textbook for introduction to morphology. many with photos and maps.mpiz-koeln. Simpson. USA.html Thomé. E. Rutgers University. Or.mpizkoeln. available at http://www.rci. Gera. Field identification of the 50 most common plant families in temperate regions (including agricultural. A. 1999. 71 (1840).rutgers.mpg. The Botanical Magazine. 1901-1905. xxvi.Resources BOOKS and WEBSITES Plant Systematics by Michael G. W.usda. vol. C. horticultural. Bot. 1885.carnegieinstitution. Bilder ur Nordens Flora.html HOW TO CITE THIS COMPENDIUM: Struwe.de/bonline/thome/index. W. USDA PLANTS website. Medizinal-Pflanzen in naturgetreuen Abbildungen und kurz erläuterndem Texte.org/cactaceae/default. 2007. M. O. http://caliban.edu/~struwe/ © Lena Struwe 2009.biologie.
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