Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
a family of dicotyledonous plants, including shrubs, subshrubs, and, less commonly, trees and herbs. The leaves have stipules and are usually opposite. The flowers are bisexual, most commonly regular, and generally in inflorescences. (Unisexual flowers are only rarely encountered.) There are usually five sepals and five petals (occasionally four of each). The fruit is most commonly a capsule or a schizocarp, which splits into small carpels. Rarely is the fruit a drupe or a berry.
There are approximately 25 genera, embracing more than 250 species. The plants are found mainly in arid and hot regions in both hemispheres, often on saline soils. About 50 species are found in the USSR, growing primarily in the southern and southeastern regions of the European portion, in the Caucasus, and in Middle Asia. Represented are approximately 40 species from the genus Kallstroemia; also represented are species of the genera Malacocarpus, Tribulus, Peganum, and Nitraria. (The last two genera are often regarded as the separate families Peganaceae and Nitrariaceae.)
Many Zygophyllaceae, such as Tribulus, are pernicious weeds. Others are poisonous, and still others are medicinal plants. The tropical genus Guaiacum has some practical value.