DELTA home

The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Globulariaceae DC.

~ Plantaginaceae, but see comment below.

Including Confluaceae Dulac

Habit and leaf form. Small, heathlike shrubs, or herbs. Leaves small; alternate; simple. Lamina entire. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins entire.

Leaf anatomy. The leaf lamina dorsiventral, or bifacial, or centric. Stomata present; on both surfaces; anomocytic (usually), or paracytic, or diacytic. Hairs present; eglandular and glandular (the glandular hairs with a short stalk cell, and a head partitioned vertically into 2(–4) cells); multicellular. The mesophyll with sclerenchymatous idioblasts. Minor leaf veins with phloem transfer cells (Globularia).

Axial (stem, wood) anatomy. Nodes unilacunar. Primary vascular tissues in a cylinder, without separate bundles; collateral. Internal phloem absent. Secondary thickening developing from a conventional cambial ring. Primary medullary rays lacking.

The vessel end-walls simple. The axial xylem with libriform fibres. ‘Included’ phloem absent.

Reproductive type, pollination. Plants hermaphrodite.

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in spikes, or in heads. Inflorescences terminal, or axillary; spikes or heads; with involucral bracts, or without involucral bracts; pseudanthial, or not pseudanthial. Flowers bracteate (the receptacle of Globularia paleaceous); small to medium-sized; very irregular; median zygomorphic. The floral irregularity involving the perianth and involving the androecium. Flowers cyclic; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk present (usually), or absent; when present, intrastaminal (at the base of the ovary); annular (or rarely, reduced to an anterior gland).

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 10; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 5; 1 whorled; gamosepalous; 5 blunt-lobed, or toothed; unequal but not bilabiate (rarely), or regular; persistent; with the median member posterior. Corolla 5; 1 whorled; gamopetalous; imbricate; bilabiate, or unequal but not bilabiate (the upper, two-petalled lip shorter than the lower three-petalled one, sometimes obsolete).

Androecium 4. Androecial members adnate (to the corolla tube); markedly unequal; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Fertile stamens representing the lateral pairs. Stamens 4; inserted in the throat of the corolla tube; didynamous; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth (the posterior member missing); oppositisepalous; alternating with the corolla members; filantherous (the filaments filiform, the anthers exserted). Anthers dehiscing via short slits (the confluent thecae dehiscing via a single distal slit); ultimately unilocular (initially bilocular, but the thecae becoming confluent apically at maturity). Pollen shed as single grains. Pollen grains aperturate; 2–3 aperturate; colporate; 2-celled.

Gynoecium ostensibly 1 carpelled. Carpels isomerous with the perianth. The pistil 1 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous (but pseudomonomerous); eu-syncarpous; superior. Ovary 1 locular (the posterior carpel reduced or suppressed). Gynoecium median. Ovary sessile. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 1; 1 lobed, or 2 lobed; sometimes capitate. Placentation apical. Ovules in the single cavity 1; pendulous; non-arillate; anatropous; unitegmic; tenuinucellate. Embryo-sac development Polygonum-type. Polar nuclei fusing prior to fertilization. Antipodal cells formed; 3; not proliferating; ephemeral. Synergids pear-shaped. Endosperm formation cellular. Endosperm haustoria present; chalazal and micropylar (aggressive). Embryogeny onagrad.

Fruit non-fleshy; indehiscent; achene-like, or a nut (enclosed in the persistent calyx); 1 seeded. Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Embryo well differentiated. Cotyledons 2. Embryo straight (in the middle of the endosperm).

Seedling. Germination phanerocotylar.

Physiology, phytochemistry. C3. C3 physiology recorded directly in Globularia. Not cyanogenic. Verbascosides detected (Globularia, Lytanthus). Iridoids detected; ‘Route I’ type (normal, dubiously), or ‘Route II’ type (+decarb.). Proanthocyanidins absent. Flavonols absent. Ellagic acid absent (Globularia).

Geography, cytology. Holarctic and Paleotropical. Temperate to sub-tropical. Western Eurasia and North Africa. X = 8.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Lamiiflorae; Scrophulariales. Cronquist’s Subclass Asteridae; Scrophulariales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; lamiid; Order Lamiales (as a synonym of Plantaginaceae).

Species 30. Genera 2; Globularia (Lytanthus), Poskea (Cockburnia).

General remarks. According to these compiled descriptions, this assembage differs from Plantaginaceae (q.v.) in 18 characters, involving general morphology, anatomy, pollen form, embryology and cytology.

Illustrations. • Technical details: Globularia. • Technical details: Globularia (Lindley). • Globularia longifolia: Bot. Reg. 685, 1822.


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: 13th March 2017. delta-intkey.com/angio’.

Contents