previous arrow
next arrow


Herbs, shrubs and woody climbers, sometimes trees, branchlets and twigs mostly tetragonal. Leaves mostly decussate-opposite, sometimes whorled, alternate, exstipulate. Inflorescence of axillary to terminal racemes or cymes. Flowers sessile or pedicellate. Calyx campanulate, tubular to salver-form, persistent, sepals usually 4, rarely 5, 7 or 9, gamosepalous. Corolla funnel or salver-shaped, petals 4 or 5, gamopetalous, often 2-lipped. Stamens mostly 4, equal, didynamous or reduced to 2, sometimes 5. Gynoecium mostly bi-carpellate, sometimes 4 or 5-carpellate, syncarpous, mostly somewhat 4-lobed. Fruits drupaceous with 2 or 4 stones or very often of 1-seeded.

Key to the Genus

Serial Key Reference
1a. Mangrove shrubs or trees with pneumatophores; inflorescence trichotomous cymes Avicennia
1b. Mainland plants, no pneumatophores; inflorescence not trichotomous cymes 2
2a. Inflorescence spicate or racemiform, indeterminate or centripetal 3
2b. Inflorescence cymose, determinate and centrifugal, cymes often congested into panicles, false umbels, umbelloid panicles, thyrsi or heads, when axillary sometimes reduced to 1- flower 8
3a. Inflorescence spicate, often subcapitate during anthesis and elongating in fruit; flowers sessile or subsessile 4
3b. Inflorescence racemiform and elongate, terminal or axillary; flowers pedicillate. Shrubs with axillary thorns, flowers mostly blue, purple or white, fruit a fleshy drupe Duranta
4a. Fruit composed of four 1-seeded schizocarps Verbena
4b. Fruit composed of two pyrenes 5
5a. Perfect stamens 4 6
5b. Perfect stamens 2, with posterior pair of staminodes Stachytarpheta
6a. Calyx rim truncate or shallowly toothed; corolla 4-5-lobed; fruit drupaceous, usually with fleshy and juicy exocarp and hard endocarp, either 2-loculate or separating into two 1-loculate pyrenes Lantana
6b. Calyx 2-4 cleft or conspicuously toothed; corolla 4-lobed; fruit small, dry with a hard and thin papery exocarp, separating into two 1-loculate pyrenes 7
7a. Shrubs or undershrubs; leaves opposite or whorled, entire or lobed; calyx tube 2-ridged or winged Lippia
7b. Prostrate herbs; leaves opposite, toothed; calyx tube not winged Phyla
8a. Fruit usually drupaceous, never capsular 9
8b. Fruit capsular, not drupaceous 15
9a. Flowers essentially actinomorphic; stamens 4-6 equal 10
9b. Flowers zygomorphic; stamens 4 11
10a. Drupes normally composed of of four or five 1-loculate and 1-seeded pyrenes; fruiting calyx not inflated Callicarpa
10b. Drupes composed of 4-loculate pyrenes; fruiting calyx conspicuously inflated Tectona
11a. Drupes composed of one 4-loculate or two 2-loculate pyrenes 12
11b. Drupes composed of four 1-locolate pyrenes. Calyx 4- or 5-toothed or 4 or 5-parted, fertile stamens 4 14
12a. Corolla tube mostly cylindric, usually short 13
12b. Corolla tube large, mostly infundibular and greatly amphate above Gmelina
13a. Corolla usually 4-lobed, mostly straight; calyx truncate or obsoletely denticulate or more or less bi-labiate, one lip entire or 2-toothed, the other or 3-toothed; leaves simple. Mostly trees and shrubs Premna
13b. Corolla usually 5-lobed, more or less 2-lipped; often markedly curvate; calyx usually regularly 5-toothed or 5-cleft, very rarely 3-cleft or 6-lobed; leaves mostly palmetly compound or 1-foliate Vitex
14a. Fruiting-calyx ampliate from base up or closely appressed to the fruit or more or less inflated Clerodendrum
14b. Fruiting-calyx with a short tube which encloses the fruit, the edges enlarged and spreading, saucer-shaped Holmskioldia
15a. Capsule compressed, notched. Erect trees, anthers 2-celled, sessile, near the top of corolla tube Nyctanthes
15b. Capsule not compressed, not notched 16
16a. Usually scandent shrubs; inflorescence of involucral cymes 17
16b. Erect or spreading shrubs; inflorescence not involucrate; stamens 4, didynamous; fruit 4-valved Pseudocaryopteris
17a. Bracts 6; corolla 5-6 lobed Sphenodesma
17b. Bracts 3-4; corolla distinctly 2-lobed Congea