A dicotyledonous (see dicotyledon) family, mainly of perennial or annual herbs but including some shrubs, climbers, and trees. The leaves are simple or compound, opposite or alternate, without stipules. They are glabrous or with short hairs. The inflorescence is a cyme or a solitary flower, and either axillary or terminal. The flowers are regular and bisexual, with 5 sepals and 5 petals. The calyx is a fused tube, and the corolla is fused into a bell-shape or a plate-shape. The 5 stamens are fused to the corolla tube. The ovary is superior, usually of 3 fused carpels and 3 locules, each with one or more ovules. The style is simple, with a 3-lobed stigma. The fruit is a capsule which splits to distribute the numerous, endospermic seeds. The testa is often sticky when wet. The pollination of the plants is usually carried out by bees, but several species rely on specific pollinators, such as humming-birds, bats, hawk moths, and other Lepidoptera. Many species, including Phlox, are cultivated for their showy flowers. There are 20 genera, comprising 275 species, found mainly in N. America, but with tropical species in Central America, and other species in Europe, northern Asia, and western S. America.
Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry.