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The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Coridaceae (Reichb.) J.G. Agardh

~ Primulaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Small, thyme-like sub- shrubs (with red-tinged stems). Leaves evergreen; alternate; leathery; imbricate; gland-dotted (with two rows of black, immersed marginal or submarginal glands); simple. Lamina entire; linear. Leaves stipulate. Lamina margins entire, or dentate (the upper leaves often spinulose-margined).

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral. Lamina with secretory cavities. Secretory cavities containing resin (bright red, crystalline); schizogenous. The mesophyll without crystals. Minor leaf veins without phloem transfer cells.

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Secretory cavities present, or absent (? - cf. the leaves); if present, with resin. Primary vascular tissues in a cylinder, without separate bundles, or comprising a ring of bundles; collateral. Internal phloem absent. Cortical bundles absent. Medullary bundles absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring.

Reproductive type, pollination. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in racemes. The ultimate inflorescence units racemose. Inflorescences terminal; crowded racemes. Flowers somewhat irregular to very irregular; more or less zygomorphic; 5 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; gamosepalous; five toothed (the teeth short, deltoid, each bearing a large, black, dorsal gland). Calyx lobes markedly shorter than the tube. Calyx campanulate to urceolate; persistent; valvate; with the median member anterior. Epicalyx present (comprising a ring of 10–15 spreading aculei, below the calyx teeth). Corolla 5; 1 whorled; gamopetalous; campanulate, or tubular; sub- bilabiate (the three upper lobes longer); white, or red, or pink, or purple (bright magenta to rose or white). Petals (the corolla lobes) deeply bifid.

Androecium 5. Androecial members adnate (to the corolla); free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 5; isomerous with the perianth; alternisepalous; opposite the corolla members; filantherous (the filaments filiform, glandular at the base). Anthers small, globose; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate.

Gynoecium 5 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synstylovarious, or eu-syncarpous (?); superior. Ovary 1 locular. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical (filiform). Placentation free central. Ovules in the single cavity 5; hemianatropous; embryology not recorded.

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule (globular, enclosed by the persistent calyx). Capsules five valvular. Seeds endospermic. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight.

Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.

Physiology, phytochemistry. Not cyanogenic.

Geography, cytology. Holarctic and Paleotropical. Temperate (warm), sub-tropical. Mediterranean and Northeast Africa.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Primuliflorae; Primulales. Cronquist’s Subclass Dilleniidae; Primulales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; Order Ericales (as a synonym of Primulaceae).

Species 1. Genera 1; only genus, Coris.

General remarks. Differences from Primulaceae sensu stricto (q.v.) in ten characters of habit, foliar, inflorescence and floral morphology, supported by seed phytochemistry, provide reasonable grounds for retaining Coris as a separate family.

Illustrations. • Coris monspeliensis: Bot. Mag. 57 (1820).


We advise against extracting comparative information from the descriptions. This is much more easily achieved using the DELTA data files or the interactive key, which allows access to the character list, illustrations, full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, distributions of character states within any set of taxa, geographical distribution, genera included in each family, and classifications (Dahlgren; Dahlgren, Clifford, and Yeo; Cronquist; APG). See also Guidelines for using data taken from Web publications.


Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 1992 onwards. The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, and information retrieval. Version: 20th July 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.

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