Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
Census of SA Plants, Algae & Fungi
Identification tools

Electronic Flora of South Australia family Fact Sheet


Alternative names: Not Applicable

Trees, shrubs or woody climbers; leaves evergreen or deciduous, opposite (alternate in a few species in Jasminum not native in S.Aust.) simple, 3-foliolate or imparipinnate, exstipulate, entire or serrate, bearing scattered minute peltate scales, sometimes dense on the undersurface.

Inflorescence terminal or axillary, cymose distichous or paniculate (subumbellate or fasciculate not in S.Aust.); flowers hermaphrodite, unisexual or andromonoecious, often fragrant, frequently heterostylous; calyx 4 or 5 small rounded triangular or linear lobes or lacking; corolla usually 4-lobed, to 10 in Jasminum, sympetalous (or divided to the base not in S.Aust.) or lacking; stamens 2 (rarely 4 not in S.Aust.), epipetalous; ovary superior, syncarpous, 2-celled with 2 (or more not in S.Aust.) ovules per cell; style terminal, more or less bilobed (or capitate not in S.Aust.).

Fruit a drupe, berry, samara (or capsule not in S.Aust.).

Distribution:  About 25 genera and 600 species; world-wide but especially in the Old World tropics; 5 genera native in Australia.

Biology: Containing some well-known garden shrubs: lilacs (Syringa), jasmines (Jasminum), privets (Ligustrum), ashes (Fraxinus), Forsythia.

Key to Genera:
1. Leaves compound
2. Leaflets usually 5-7, rarely to 11, deciduous; flowers apetalous; fruit a samara
2. Leaflets 3, evergreen; flowers hypocrateriform, white; fruit a paired berry (or single by abortion)
1. Leaves simple
3. Fruit a 1- or 2-seeded berry; leaves glabrous beneath; shrubby
3. Fruit a drupe; leaves densely covered with peltate scales beneath; arborescent

Author: Prepared by P.S. Green

Disclaimer Copyright Disclaimer Copyright Email Contact:
State Herbarium of South Australia
Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Government of South Australia Department for Environment and Water