1. Loganiaceae R.Br. ex Mart.

    1. This family is accepted.


Zappi, D. (2009). Neotropical Loganiaceae.


Herbs, climbers , lianas, shrubs, trees. Leaves opposite, sometimes whorled , entire , linked by interpetiolary relatively small stipules, tendrils and spines sometimes present. Inflorescences cymose, terminal or axillary , rarely flowers solitary (Gelsemium Juss.), bracts rarely present, scamose and in several series in Antonia Pohl.Flowers perfect, often heterostylic; calyx fused or free to the base, lobes generally acute ; corolla gamopetalous, aestivation valvar or imbricate , symmetry radial, small, to 8 cm long, white, cream, yellow, lilac, pink or magenta, glabrous to hairy outside or bearded within (Strychnos L.), stamens alternate  with the corolla -lobes, stigma simple or bifid, ovary generally bilocular , sometimes with 1 or 5 loci. Fruits capsular or berry -like; seeds 1-numerous, rounded , flat, angled or winged .

Distribution in the Neotropics

Throughout the Neotropics, not very extensive in dryland vegetation:

  • Antonia ovata Pohl (monotypic genus from Eastern Brazil to the Amazon basin).
  • Bonyunia M.R.Schomb. (Amazonian).
  • Gelsemium (Pantropical with two species in Southern USA reaching Central America).
  • Mitreola L. (Neotropical weed).
  • Mostuea (mostly Paleotropical, with one species in Southeastern Brazil and another in the Guianas).
  • Spigelia L.(Neotropical, very diverse in Eastern Brazil).
  • Strychnos
  • (Pantropical but very extensive in the Amazon basin).
Key differences from similar families
  • Superiorovary sets it apart from Rubiaceae and Campanulaceae.
  • Corollavalvate to imbricate (rather than contorted) separates it from Gentianaceae.
  • Lack of latex separates it from Apocynaceae.
Useful tips for generic identification
  • Type of inflorescence, type of fruit and habit would help to place the specimen within a genus.
Notable genera and distinguishing features
  • Strychnos (large woody lianas with tendrils and sometimes spines, trinerveous leaves and berries).
  • Spigelia (herbs to subshrubs with scorpioid inflorescences, flowers often colourful and showy, sometimes leaves very reduced or lacking).
  • Antonia (trees with many series of bracts subtending each flower, resembling Asteraceae).
  • Gelsemium (climbers with solitary flowers).
Other important characters
  • Internal phloem.
  • Cymose inflorescences sometimes helicoid or scorpioid.
Distinguishing characters (always present)
  • Simple, opposite (rarely whorled) leaves with entire margin.
  • Interpetiolar and sometimes intrapetiolar stipules.
  • Corolla gamopetalous, radial symmetry.
  • Aestivationvalvate or imbricate.
  • Superiorovary.
General Description
Number of genera
  • 20 genera and over 700 species worldwide, of which approximately 7 genera and 400 species are Neotropical.
  • Cultivated species of Gelsemium have showy flowers.
  • Mitreola is a worldwide weed.
  • Spigelia anthelmia L. is cultivated as a medicinal plant.
  • Species of Spigelia in Eastern Brazil have endemic distribution.
General notes
  • A basal group in relation to Rubiaceae, Apocynaceae and Gentianaceae, it is not an easy family to characterize and has been divided into several different families over the years.
Notes on delimitation
  • Includes Strychnos (Strychnaceae) and Gelsemium and Mostuea Didr. (Gelsemiaceae); excludes Potalia Aubl. (Potaliaceae or Gentianaceae), Buddleja L. (Buddlejaceae or Scrophulariaceae).
Important literature

Progel, A. 1868. Loganiaceae. In C.A.F. Martius (ed.) Flora brasiliensis 6(1): 251-300.

Zappi, D. 1989. Flora da Serra do Cipó, Minas Gerais: Loganiaceae. Bol. Bot. Univ. São Paulo 11: 85-97.

Zappi, D. 2005. Loganiaceae. In Wanderley, M.G.L., Shepherd, G.J., Mehlem, T.S. & Giulietti, A.M. (eds.) Flora Fanerogâmica do Estado de São Paulo 4: 261-271.

Zappi, D. 2006. Flora da Reserva Ducke, Amazonas, Brasil: Loganiaceae. Rodriguésia 57(2): 193-204.


Loganiaceae, A. J. M. Leeuwenberg. Flora Zambesiaca 7:1. 1983

Woody or less often herbaceous plants
Leaves mostly opposite, less often ternate (often in Nuxia, sometimes in Strychnos), occasionally quaternate (sometimes in Nuxia), or sometimes subopposite or alternate (sometimes in Buddlejeae, especially in Buddleja and Nuxia)
Stipules true or false, present, reduced to lines connecting the petiole bases, or absent; in some cases leaves connate–perfoliate (in some Buddleja spp. with opposite leaves); lamina simple, variously shaped, pinnately veined, entire, incised, or less often lobed; sometimes with 1–3 pairs of basal secondary veins larger and curved along the margin, rendering the leaves seemingly 3–7–veined (most Strychnos spp.)
Inflorescence usually thyrsoid or otherwise cymose, or 1–flowered, rarely a raceme (Gomphostigma)
Flowers regular, mostly hermaphrodite, homo– or (in Mostuea) heterostylous, mostly 4– or 5–merous (corolla and androecium 8–16–merous in Anthocleista), mostly actinomorphic but then often with subequal or unequal sepals, less often subactinomorphic or zygomorphic
Sepals usually green, free or united, usually persistent, imbricate, valvate, or apert in bud
Corolla usually coloured, sympetalous, variously shaped; lobes valvate, imbricate, or contorted in bud
Stamens as many as corolla lobes and alternating with them or sometimes less; filaments free from each other, from much shorter to much longer than the anthers; anthers basifix, often versatile; cells 2 or (outside FZ area) 4, discrete or confluent at the apex, parallel or divergent at the base, dehiscent throughout by a longitudinal slit
Pistil simple; ovary superior or sometimes slightly inferior, mostly 2–celled, but sometimes 1–, or 4–celled; style simple, terminal, persistent or ; stigma simple or sometimes branched; ovules 2–many, on an axile placenta attached to the septum or in a unicellular ovary to the bottom (Strychnos spinosa) or parietal
Fruit a capsule or a berry, 1–many–seeded
Seeds variously shaped, small or large, sometimes winged, with fleshy, starchy, or horny (Mostuea, Strychnos) endosperm surrounding a rather small or large straight embryo

Loganiaceae, C.F.A. Onochie & A.J.M. Leeuwenberg. Flora of West Tropical Africa 2. 1963

Mostly trees and shrubs; stem usually woody
Leaves opposite, simple; stipules present or absent
Flowers hermaphrodite, usually actinomorphic, paniculate, corymbose or in globose heads
Calyx-lobes valvate or imbricate
Corolla tubular, lobes 4-16, contorted, imbricate or valvate
Stamens epipetalous, as many as the corolla-lobes and alternate with them, or rarely reduced to 1; anthers 2-celled, opening lengthwise
Ovary superior, 2-4-celled; style single; ovules several to numerous, rarely solitary, axile or ascending from the base of each cell
Fruit a capsule, berry or drupe
Seeds sometimes winged; embryo straight, in the middle of fleshy or cartilaginous endosperm

Loganiaceae, E. A. Bruce and J. Lewis. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1960

Trees or shrubs (in our area; also herbs elsewhere) with opposite simple leaves; stipules interpetiolar, sometimes reduced to a mere line; latex absent
Inflorescences usually cymose and moderately branched but sometimes of numerous cymules racemosely arranged
Flowers regular, usually hermaphrodite, sometimes heterostylous, usually 4–5-merous (corolla-lobes up to 20 in Anthocleista)
Calyx shortly joined, ± campanulate
Corolla with a short or long tube; lobes imbricate or valvate
Stamens equal in number to and alternate with the corolla-lobes (in our area; more or less numerous elsewhere), the filaments often short
Disc absent or slight
Ovary superior or half-inferior, 2 (rarely 1 or 4)-locular; style 1, rarely divided above; stigmas 1, 2 or 4; ovules usually numerous, sometimes few (rarely 1) on axil placentas, anatropous or amphitropous
Fruit a usually septicidally dehiscent capsule (loculicidally dehiscent in >i>Mostuea), berry or drupe
Seeds various, sometimes flattened or winged; endosperm present; embryo usually straight; radicle usually inferior


Loganiaceae R.Br. ex Mart. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Nov. Gen. Sp. Pl. (Martius) 2(2): 133. 1827 [Jan-Jun 1827] , as 'Loganeae' (1827)

Accepted by

  • APG IV (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/boj.12385


Flora Zambesiaca
Flora Zambesiaca

Flora of Tropical East Africa
Flora of Tropical East Africa

Flora of West Tropical Africa
Flora of West Tropical Africa

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2019. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.