The families of flowering plants.                                                                                                                                                                

Onagraceae Juss.


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IncludingCircaeaceae Lindl., Epilobiaceae Ventenat, Jussieuaceae Drude, Oenothereae (Oenotheraceae) Endl., Onagrariaceae Dulac

Habit and leaf form. Shrubs and herbs, or trees (rarely, to 30 m); bearing essential oils, or without essential oils. Plants non-succulent. Annual, or biennial, or perennial; with a basal aggregation of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal aggregations of leaves. Hydrophytic, or helophytic, or mesophytic; when hydrophytic (Ludwigia), rooted. Leaves of Ludwigia emergent and floating. Leaves alternate, or opposite, or whorled; when alternate, spiral; petiolate to sessile; non-sheathing; not gland-dotted; without marked odour; simple; epulvinate. Lamina dissected, or entire; when dissected, pinnatifid; pinnately veined; cross-venulate. Leaves stipulate, or exstipulate. Stipules when present, intrapetiolar; free of one another; caducous. Leaves without a persistent basal meristem.

Leaf anatomy. Mucilaginous epidermis present, or absent. Stomata anisocytic, or tetracytic, or cyclocytic.

Lamina dorsiventral, or centric. The mesophyll without sclerenchymatous idioblasts. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells (6 genera).

Stem anatomy. Cork cambium present; initially deep-seated. Nodes unilacunar. Primary vascular tissue usually bicollateral. Internal phloem commonly present. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring, or anomalous; via concentric cambia (?), or from a single cambial ring. ‘Included’ phloem present (commonly), or absent. Xylem without fibre tracheids; with libriform fibres; with vessels. Vessel end-walls horizontal to oblique; simple. Vessels with vestured pits. Wood parenchyma scanty paratracheal.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite (usually), or monoecious (occasionally, e.g. in Fuchsia). Pollination anemophilous, or entomophilous.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary, or aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in panicles, in racemes, and in spikes. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary. Flowers small to large; regular to very irregular; (2–)4(–7) merous; cyclic; tricyclic, or tetracyclic, or pentacyclic. Free hypanthium usually present (usually elongated).

Perianthwith distinct calyx and corolla (usually), or sepaline (the corolla sometimes absent); 4–8(–14); 1 whorled, or 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx (2–)4(–7); 1 whorled; gamosepalous; blunt-lobed; lobes valvate. Corolla (2–)4(–7) (rarely absent); 1 whorled; polypetalous; imbricate, or contorted; yellow, or pink, or purple. Petals clawed (often), or sessile; often bilobed (or trilobed).

Androecium8 (often), or 8–10, or 4, or 2, or 1. Androecial members adnate (to the hypanthium), or free of the perianth (on the disk); all equal, or markedly unequal; free of one another; 2 whorled (often), or 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens, or including staminodes. Staminodes when present, 1, or 2–4; petaloid (Lopezia), or non-petaloid. Stamens (1–)8(–10); reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth (rarely), or isomerous with the perianth, or diplostemonous. Anthers dorsifixed; versatile; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse; tetrasporangiate; unappendaged. Microsporogenesis simultaneous. The initial microspore tetrads tetrahedral. Pollen shed in aggregates, or shed as single grains; with viscin strands (often), or without viscin strands; when in aggregates, in tetrads. Pollen grains aperturate; (2–)3(–6) aperturate; colpate, or porate (often), or colporate; 2-celled (in Clarkia, Epilobium and Oenothera).

Gynoecium4(–7) carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 2 celled, or 4–7 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious, or eu-syncarpous; inferior, or partly inferior. Ovary plurilocular;4(–7) locular (when inferior — but the septa often imperfect below), or 2 locular (when half-inferior). Epigynous disk present. Gynoecium stylate. Styles1; apical. Stigmas 1–4; wet type, or dry type; papillate, or non-papillate; Group II type, or Group III type, or Group IV type. Placentationaxile, or parietal. Ovules 1–50 per locule (to ‘many’); pendulous, or ascending; non-arillate; anatropous; bitegmic; crassinucellate. Outer integument contributing to the micropyle. Embryo-sac development Oenothera-type. Antipodal cells not formed. Synergids with filiform apparatus. Hypostase commonly present. Embryogeny onagrad.

Fruit fleshy (rarely), or non-fleshy; dehiscent, or indehiscent; a capsule (usually), or a berry, or a nut. Capsules loculicidal, or septicidal. Fruit 2–100 seeded (usually ‘many’). Seeds non-endospermic; conspicuously hairy (sometimes, with a tuft, in Epilobium), or not conspicuously hairy. Cotyledons 2. Embryo achlorophyllous (5/5); straight.


Physiology, biochemistry. Cyanogenic, or not cyanogenic. Alkaloids absent (32 species). Iridoids not detected. Proanthocyanidins present (very rarely), or absent; in a species of Jussieua delphinidin. Flavonols present (usually); quercetin, or kaempferol and quercetin, or quercetin and myricetin. Ellagic acid present (11 species, 8 genera). Ursolic acid present. Saponins/sapogenins absent. Aluminium accumulation not found. Sugars transported as oligosaccharides + sucrose (in Hauya). C3. C3 physiology recorded directly in Calylophus, Epilobium, Gaura,Oenothera. Anatomy non-C4 type (Calylophus, Epilobium, Gaura, Oenothera).

Geography, cytology. Frigid zone to tropical. Cosmopolitan, except in arid parts of Australia and Africa. X = (6-)7(-18). Supposed basic chromosome number of family: 11 (?).

Taxonomy.Subclass Dicotyledonae; Crassinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Myrtiflorae; Myrtales. Cronquist’s Subclass Rosidae; Myrtales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Rosanae; malvid; Order Myrtales.

Species 640. Genera about 20; Boisduvallia, Calylophus, Camissonia,Circaea, Clarkia, Epilobium, Fuchsia, Gaura,Gayophytum, Gongylocarpus, Hauya, Jussiaea (= Ludwigia),Lopezia, Ludwigia, Oenothera, Stenosiphon, Xylonagra.

Economic uses, etc. Most genera include species cultivated as ornamentals, with Fuchsia contributing many. Fuchsia berries are edible and good.


  • Technical details: Epilobium, Isnardia (= Ludwigia). 
  • Technical details: Circaea, Fuchsia, Jussieua (= Ludwigia).
  • Technical details: Ludwigia (Thonner).
  • Epilobium, Circaea (B. Ent. compilation). 
  • Chamerion dodonaei: Bot. Mag. 76, 1789.
  • Circaea lutetiana: Eng. Bot. 511 (1865).
  • Clarkia rhomboidea, C. elegans and C. pulchella: Bot. Reg. 1981, 1837.
  • Epilobium hirsutum: Eng. Bot. 497 (1865).
  • Epilobium lanceolatum: Eng. Bot. 500 (1865).
  • Eucharidium concinnum: Bot. Reg. 1962, 1837. 
  • Fuchsia fulgens: Bot. Reg. XXIV, 1 (1838).
  • Fuchsia magellanica: Bot. Mag. 97, 1789.
  • Fuchsia microphylla: Bot. Reg. 1269.
  • Fuchsia cf. parviflora: as F. cylindracea, Bot. Reg. XXIV, 66 (1838).
  • Fuchsia thymifolia: Bot. Reg. 1284 (1829).
  • Ludwigia palustris: Eng. Bot. 510 (1865).
  • Oenothera anomala: Bot. Mag. 1797.
  • Oenothera decumbens: as Godetia lepida, Bot. Reg 1849 (1836).
  • Oenothera rosea: Bot. Mag. 347, 1796.
  • Oenothera perennis: Bot. Mag. 355, 1796.
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