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A family of annual or perennial herbs and small shrubs which have alternate, hairy or glandular, simple or compound leaves, without stipules. The flowers are regular, bisexual, usually blue or purple, and borne in cymes. They have 5 free sepals, often with auricles between the calyx lobes. The corolla is fused at the base into a bell or funnel shape, with 5 stamens inserted into the base. The ovary is superior with 2 fused carpels and 1 or 2 locules, each with 2 or more ovules. There are 1 or 2 styles. The fruit is an elongated capsule which splits along its length; it contains numerous seeds with fleshy endosperm. There are about 22 genera, with 275 species, found throughout the world except Australasia. Several species are ornamentals.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.

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