Herbs, shrubs, or trees, with simple, opposite or sometimes verticillate. mostly stipulate leaves, and perfect, often dimorphous or trimorphous, regular and nearly symmetrical flowers. Calyx-tube adnate to the ovary, its limb various Corolla gamopetalous, funnelform, club-shaped, campanulate, or rotate, 4-5-lobed, often pubescent within. Stamens as many as the lobes of the corolla and alternate with them, inserted on its tube or throat; anthers mostly linear-oblong. Ovary 1-10-celled; style short or elongated, simple or lobed; ovules 1-00 in each cavity. Fruit a capsule, berry, or drupe. Seeds various; seed-coat membranous or crustaceous; endosperm fleshy or horny (wanting in some exotic genera); cotyledons ovate, cordate, or foliaceous.

About 340 genera and about 6000 species, of very wide geographic distribution, most abundant in tropical regions. Known as Madderworts.

* Leaves opposite, stipulate (sometimes verticillate in No. 3). Ovules numerous in each cavity of the ovary; herbs.

Top of the capsule free from the calyx; seeds few, peltate.

1. Houstonia.

Capsule wholly adnate to the calyx; seeds minute, angular.

2. Oldenlandia.

Ovules 1 in each cavity of the ovary.

Shrubs or small trees; flowers in dense globular heads.

3. Cephalanthus.

Low evergreen herbs; flowers 2 together, their ovaries united.

4. Mitchella.

Herbs; flowers axillary, nearly sessile, distinct.

Capsule separating into 2 carpels, one dehiscent, the other indehiscent.

5. Spermacoce.

Capsule separating into 2 (or 3) indehiscent carpels.

6 Diodia.

** Leaves appearing verticillate; herbs (some of the leaves rarely opposite in No. 7); ovule 1 in each cavity of the ovary. Corolla rotate; calyx teeth minute or none.

7. Galium.

Corolla funnelform.

Flowers in involucrate heads.

8. Sherardia.

Flowers in panicles.

9 Asberula.