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(plumbagos, or leadworts), a family of dicotyledonous plants including herbs, subshrubs, and shrubs. The regular, pentamerous, bisexual flowers are gathered into inflorescences. The membranous or stiff calyx is gamophyllus and, in many species, brightly colored; it remains on the plant even after fruit formation. The gynoecium consists of five carpels, and the ovary is superior. The fruits are one-seeded and in-dehiscent.
There are about 15 genera, embracing more than 500 species. The plants are found nearly throughout the world but are most common in nontropical regions of the northern hemisphere and, especially, in the Eurasian Mediterranean region, where they often grow in saline soils and along the seacoast. There are more than 130 species in the USSR, growing mainly in Middle Asia and the Caucasus. The largest genera are Acantholimon and Limonium.
The family Plumbaginaceae includes tannin and dye plants. Some botanists place certain species in the families Aegialitida-ceae and Limoniaceae. The former contains the single genus Aegialitis, which forms mangrove thickets in the Old World, and the latter contains 14 genera.