DELTA home

The families of flowering plants

L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz

Wellstediaceae (Pilger) Novak

~ Boraginaceae.

Habit and leaf form. Low shrubs (‘shrublets’), or herbs; non-laticiferous; without essential oils. Perennial. Leaves alternate (adpressed, grey-strigose); non-sheathing; simple. Lamina entire. Leaves exstipulate. Lamina margins entire.

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

Inflorescence, floral, fruit and seed morphology. Flowers solitary and aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes. Inflorescences often in the form of dense, subscorpioid cymes. Flowers small; regular; 4 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Free hypanthium absent. Hypogynous disk absent.

Perianth with distinct calyx and corolla; 8; 2 whorled; isomerous. Calyx 4; gamosepalous; regular; (sub-) imbricate, or open in bud. Corolla 4; 1 whorled; gamopetalous; more or less imbricate; brick red.

Androecium 4. Androecial members adnate (to the corolla); all equal; free of one another; 1 whorled. Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 4; isomerous with the perianth; shortly filantherous. Anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; introrse. Pollen grains aperturate; 3 aperturate; colporate (colporoidate).

Gynoecium 2 carpelled. Carpels reduced in number relative to the perianth. The pistil 2 celled. Gynoecium syncarpous; synovarious to synstylovarious; superior. Ovary compressed, 2 locular. Gynoecium median; stylate. Styles 1; at least partially joined; apical. Stigmas 2. Placentation axile, or apical (?). Ovules 1 per locule; pendulous; anatropous.

Fruit non-fleshy; dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal (compressed, broadly obcordate). Fruit 1–2 seeded. Seeds non-endospermic.

Geography, cytology. Paleotropical. Tropical. Southwest Africa, Somalia, Socotra.

Taxonomy. Subclass Dicotyledonae; Tenuinucelli. Dahlgren’s Superorder Solaniflorae; Boraginales. Cronquist’s Subclass Asteridae; Lamiales. APG 3 core angiosperms; core eudicot; Superorder Asteranae; lamiid; Order unassigned (as a synonym of Boraginaceae).

Species 2. Genera 1; only genus, Wellstedia.

General remarks. This very incomplete description has Wellstedia differing conspicuously from Boraginaceae in the 4-merous flowers, the pendulous ovules only 1 per locule, and the capsular fruit, as well as in cryptic characters relying on limited sampling (leaves without cystoliths, absence of inulin).

Illustrations. • Wellstedia dinteri: Bot. Jahrb. 46 (1911–12).


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’.

Contents