Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An important order of gamopetalous plants, of the cohort Personales in the series Bicarpellataæ, distinguished by a completely two-celled ovary with its placentæ on the middle partition, and by numerous seeds with fleshy albumen. The flowers have usually a persistent five-lobed calyx, a personate and irregularly inflated two-lipped corolla, four didynamous stamens borne on the corolla-tube, often with a staminode representing a fifth stamen, and an entire and sessile ovary which becomes a capsule opening by lines or terminal chinks, or rarely succulent and forming a berry. The order includes about 2,000 species, of 166 genera and 12 tribes, by many grouped in 3 series—the Pseu-dosolaneæ, with alternate leaves and flattish flowers, as the mullen, transitional to the Solanaceæ or nightshade family; the typical section, the Antirrhinideæ, as the snapdragon, with opposite lower leaves and the upper lip exterior in the bud; and the Rhinanthideæ, including the foxglove and Gerardia, with various leaves and the lower lip exterior. The species are mainly herbs—a few, as Paulownia, becoming trees. Their leaves are entire or toothed, seldom lobed, and always without stipules. The inflorescence is either perfectly centripetal, commonly racemose, or primarily centripetal, the branches however bearing centrifugal clusters, either axillary or forming to-gether a thyrsus. In some exceptional genera the corolla is Spreading and nearly flat (see Veronica, Verbascum, Limosella); in many others the typical personate form becomes altered to a funnel-shaped or bell-shaped body, or to an inflated pouch or sac, often with a conspicuous spur. The order is well distributed through all parts of the world; it is most frequent in temperate and montane regions, but is also found within both arctic and tropical climates. About 50 genera are peculiar to America, over half of which belong to North America only; about 23 are confined to South Africa, 15 to Asia, and the others are mostly more widely diffused; 38 genera and about 340 species occur in the United States—one, Veronica, extending within the arctic circle. Most species are acrid and bitter, and of suspicious or actively poisonous properties; many, as Scrophularia (the type), Franciscea, etc., yield remedies formerly or at present in repute. Several genera, as Buchnera and Gerardia, show a marked tendency to parasitism, dry black, resist cultivation, are in various species leafless, and connect with the parasitic order Oroban-chaceæ. Others yield some of the most ornamental flowers of the garden. For the principal types of tribes, see Verbascum, Calceolaria, Antirrhinum, Chelone, Gratiola, Digitalis, Gerardia, and Euphrasia. See also Collinsia, Castilleia, Herpestis, Maurandia, Melampyrum, Mimulus, Ilysanthes, Pentstemon, Pedicularis, Rhinanthus, Schwal-bea, and Sibthorpia.
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