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A large family of dicotyledonous plants in the order Scrophulariales, characterized by a usually herbaceous habit, irregular flowers, axile placentation, and dry, dehiscent fruit.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a family of dicotyledonous plants. The plants are primarily herbs or subshrubs (sometimes saprophytic, hemiparasitic, or parasitic); less frequently are they shrubs and lianas. The leaves are generally alternate but may be opposite or whorled. The bisexual flowers are solitary or in clusters. The calyx is usually four- or five-lobed or four- or five-parted; the corolla is generally irregular, often bilabiate, and four- or five-lobed (rarely six- to eight-lobed). The ovary is superior, and the fruit is usually a capsule.

There are more than 200 genera, embracing about 3,000 species. They are distributed primarily in the temperate belt of both hemispheres. More than 600 species, belonging to 45 genera, are found in the USSR. These genera include Veronica, Pedicularis, Scrophularia, Euphrasia, Linaria, Verbascum, Rhinanthus, and Melampyrum.

Many species grow as weeds in meadows and fields and are sometimes toxic. Digitalis, Verbascum, and some other species are very important medicinal plants. Antirrhinum, various species of Calceolaria, Castilleja, Nemesia, Mimulus, and Veronica are raised as ornamentals.


Flora SSSR, vol. 22. Moscow-Leningrad, 1955.
Takhtadzhian, A. L. Sistema ifilogeniia tsvetkovykh rastenii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.