name = Gentian family
image_width = 200px
image_caption = "
divisio = Magnoliophyta
familia = Gentianaceae
subdivision_ranks = Genera
subdivision = Many, see text
Gentianaceae, or the Gentian family, is a family of
flowering plants of 87 genera and over 1500 species. cite book | title=Gentianaceae | url=http://www.alibris.com/search/detail.cfm?chunk=25&mtype=&qisbn=9780521809993&S=R&bid=8705131336&pbest=&pqtynew=&page=1&matches=4&qsort=r| last=Lena Struwe (Editor), Victor A. Albert (Editor)| date=2002| pages=662| publisher=Cambridge University Press| id=ISBN 0521809991] Flowers are actinomorphicand bisexual with fused sepals and petals. The stamens are attached to the inside of the petals (epipetalous) and alternate with the corolla lobes. There is a glandular disk at the base of the gynoecium, and flowers have parietal placentation. The inflorescenceis cymose, with simple or complex cymes. The fruits are dehiscent septicidal capsules splitting into two halves, rarely some species have a berry. Seeds are small with copiously oily endosperms and a straight embryo. The habit varies from small trees, pachycaul shrubs to (usually) herbs, with ascending, erect or twining stems. Plants are usually rhizomatous. Leaves opposite, less often alternate or in some species whorled, simple in shape, with entire edges and bases connately attached to the stem. Stipules are absent. Plants usually accumulate bitter iridoidsubstances; bicollateral bundles are present. Ecologically, partial myco-heterotrophyis common among species in this family.
Distribution is cosmopolitan. The family consists of trees, shrubs and herbs showing a wide range of colours and floral patterns.
Economically, some species are cultivated
ornamental plants and many species yield bitter principles used medicinally and in flavorings.
Some of these plants have limited ranges and are protected under governmental oversight. For example, Gentianella uliginosa (Dune Gentian), which occurs in some limited areas of
Walesand Scotland, is a priority species under the Biodiversity Action Planof the United Kingdom.
* [http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~struwe/gentnet/index.htm Gentian Research Network]
* [http://www.topwalks.net/plants/generos/gentianaceae.htm Gentianaceae in Topwalks]
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