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Family Nyctaginaceae

Description: Herbs, shrubs, trees or climbers.

Leaves alternate, opposite or pseudowhorled, simple, mostly entire; stipules absent.

Inflorescence axillary or terminal, usually cymose; flowers sometimes reduced to 1 or 2, often surrounded by coloured bracts. Flowers actinomorphic, mostly bisexual. Perianth commonly petaloid, often ± tubular, mostly 5-lobed. Stamens 1–many, filaments sometimes of unequal lengths, free or basally fused; anthers 2-locular, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary superior, 1-locular, basal ovule solitary; style long and slender.

Fruit an achene enclosed in the persistent basal portion of the perianth tube, the collective structure then called an anthocarp.

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 30 genera, 300 species, mainly tropical, extending to temperate regions. Australia: 5 genera, 14 species, all mainland States, chiefly tropical & arid areas.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Nyctaginaceae, Order: Caryophyllales)

Bougainvillea spectabilis Willd. is often grown as an ornamental in frost-free areas; in this species the showy petaloid bracts surround a cluster of small flowers on long, arching, spiny stems. Mirabilis jalapa L. is also often cultivated in gardens

Text by S. W. L. Jacobs & G. J. Harden
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key

 Key to the genera 
1Herbs; leaves opposite; upper portion of perianth not persistent in fruit2
1Trees, shrubs or woody climbers; leaves alternate, opposite or pseudowhorled; upper part of perianth persistent in fruitPisonia
2Stems prostrate or ascending; paired leaves at each node mostly unequal in size; perianth less than 5 mm longBoerhavia
Stems erect; paired leaves at each node equal in size; perianth more than 10 mm long
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