A large family, widely distributed, chiefly tropical. Ours are herbs, or shrubs; leaves opposite or in whorls; flowers regular, usually perfect; calyx with four teeth or none; corolla with four or five united lobes, often hairy inside; stamens on the corolla, as many as its lobes and alternate with them; ovary inferior, with one or two styles; fruit a capsule, berry,or stone-fruit. Coffee, Quinine, and Madder, used for dye, belong to this family. I am told that the latter plant is escaping around Salt Lake and is well established there. The Latin name means "red."

There are many kinds of Houstonia, North American, usually growing in tufts, leaves opposite; flowers small; calyx four-lobed; corolla funnel-form or salver-form, four-lobed; style slender, with two long stigmas; fruit a capsule. Sometimes the flowers are perfect, but usually they are of two kinds, one kind with high anthers and short pistil, the other kind with long pistil and anthers inside the corolla-tube; visiting insects carry pollen from the high anthers of the one to the high stigmas of the other, and from the low anthers to the low stigmas, thus ensuring cross-pollination.