Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to Cruciferae: mustard family, Malvaceae, family Brassicaceae
(or Brassicaceae), a family of dicotyledonous plants. They are herbs or, more rarely, subshrubs or shrubs with alternate simple leaves that have no stipules. The flowers are mostly in racemes and are usually bisexual. There are four sepals and four petals, arranged in a cross (hence the name); sometimes the petals are absent. The ovary is superior. The fruit is usually a silique or silicle. Cruciferae are covered with simple, double-tipped, or stellate hairs which, with the characteristic disposition of the embryo in the seed and the structure of the fruit, have great significance in the taxonomy of the family. Many Cruciferae contain essential oils that are often very pungent.
There are more than 350 genera (3,000 species), distributed mainly in the northern hemisphere. In the USSR there are about 130 genera (more than 800 species). Many useful plants belong to the Cruciferae, including vegetables (cabbage, wild radish, garden radish), oil-yielding plants (rape, Brassica campestris, Camelina), spices (mustard and horseradish), medicinal plants (Erysimum, syrenia), nectar-bearers, and dye plants. Some Cruciferae (Brassica campestris, shepherd’s purse, pennycress) are common weeds.
REFERENCEFlora SSSR, vol. 8. Moscow-Leningrad, 1939.
M. E. KIRPICHNIKOV