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