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  1. Menyanthaceae Dumort.

    1. This family is accepted.


Menyanthaceae, Barbara Mackinder. Flora Zambesiaca 7:4. 1990

Aquatic herbs, with tufted rootstock or horizontal creeping rhizomes
Leaves floating or submersed, alternate or in a rosette, simple or compound, entire or crenulate; stipules small, rounded, scarious, or inconspicuous
Flowers in panicles, racemes, fascicles or solitary; actinomorphic, generally 5-merous, hermaphrodite or unisexual
Sepals free or almost so, imbricate in bud
Corolla gamopetalus, often with a short tube, lobes membranous, often fimbricate or pilose
Stamens as many as corolla lobes and alternate with them; anthers dithecous, opening by longitudinal slits
Ovary superior, unilocular with 2(5) parietal placentas
Fruit a capsule, dehiscent or not
Seeds often numerous, with endosperm

Menyanthaceae, Christopher Whitehouse. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1996

Aquatic or marsh herbs with a tufted rootstock or creeping rhizome
Leaves floating or submerged, alternate, entire or trifoliate; petiole sheathing at the base
Flowers bisexual, rarely unisexual, solitary, paired, racemose or fasciculate or in many-flowered cymes, panicles, or involucrate heads
Calyx 5(-8)-lobed or -partite
Corolla sympetalous, 5(-8)-lobed; lobes valvate or induplicate-valvate, margins or inside sometimes fimbriate or crested
Stamens 5(-8), inserted towards the base of the tube or between the corolla-lobes; anthers 2-thecous, sagittate and versatile
Nectaries usually present, hypogynous
Ovary superior to semi-inferior, 1-locular with 2(-5) parietal placentas; style 1, 2(-5)-fid at the apex
Fruit a capsule, usually 4- or 2-valved, rarely fleshy or pulpy and indehiscent
Seeds few-numerous, winged or not, with copious endosperm and small embryo
A family of 5 genera and ± 40 SPECIES with a cosmopolitan distribution. A single genus is found in tropical Africa. The family is sometimes included within Gentianaceae, but significant differences have been found and in Cronquist’ s classification (Evol. & Class. Fl. Pl., ed. 2 (1988)) it is included within the Solanales rather than the Gentianales

Menyanthaceae, P. Taylor. Flora of West Tropical Africa 2. 1963

Aquatic or marsh, herbs
Leaves alternate, entire or 3-foliolate, sometimes orbicular and peltate
Flowers hermaphrodite, actinomorphic
Corolla-lobes valvate or induplicate-valvate, margins on inside sometimes fimbriate
Stamens inserted towards the base of the tube or between the lobes; anthers 2-celled, sagittate or versatile
Ovules few to numerous Style 1, bifid at the apex Ovary superior 1-celled, with 2 parietal placentas
Fruit a 4 or 2-valved capsule, or fleshy and indehiscent
Seeds with copious endosperm and small embryo

Every, J.L.R. (2010). Neotropical Menyanthaceae.


Aquatic perennial herbs. Leaves above the water-level, surfacing or rarely submerged, alternate , simple , entire , orbicular , occasionally slightly succulent , cordate  or reniform , margins entire , dentate or crenate with hydathodal glands , venation palmate ; estipulate; petiolate , petiole bases sheathing. Flowers in terminal or axillary fascicles, heads, panicles or solitary, bisexual or occasionally functionally unisexual, actinomorphic ; bracts small and inconspicuous; sepals 5, basally connate ; petals 5, basally connate , winged ; stamens 5, adnate to and alternating with the perianth , staminodes 5 alternating with stamens, anthers dorsifixed, dehiscing via longitudinal slits; ovary superior -partly inferior, unilocular, syncarpous; carpels 2, stigma on style or sessile . Fruit a capsule . Seeds 1-many, dry, 0.4 - 5.2 mm, flattened or lenticular.

General Description
Notes on delimitation
  • Placed in the Asterales by the APG (APGIII).
Number of genera
  • One genus: Nymphoides Ség. with four species, N. fallax Ornduff, N. grayana Kuntze, N. humboldtiana Kuntze (N. indica (L.) Kuntze) and N. flaccida L. B. Sm.
  • Native.
General notes
  • Also known as the Bog-Bean family.
Distribution in the Neotropics
  • Non-marine hydrophytes and helophytes of the Neotropics.
  • Recorded in Brazil, the Caribbean, Central America, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Argentina and Paraguay.
Distinguishing characters (always present)
  • Intercellular air canals in stems.
  • Palmatevenation in leaves.
  • Fimbricate petals.
Key differences from similar families
  • The Gentianaceae differs in that their members having opposite leaves.
Important literature

Brummitt, R.K. 2007. Menyanthaceae. In: V.H. Heywood, R.K. Brummitt, A. Culham and O. Seberg (eds.). Flowering Plant Families of the World. Pp 212-213. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Ornduff, R. 2004. Menyanthaceae. In: Smith, N., Mori, S.A., Henderson, A., Stevenson, D.W. and Heald, S.V. (eds.). Flowering Plants of the Neotropics. Pp 249-250. The New York Botanical Garden, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Stevens, P.F. 2008. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 9 onwards.


Accepted Genera

Other Data

Menyanthaceae Dumort. appears in other Kew resources:


First published in Anal. Fam. Pl. 20, 25. 1829 (1829)

Accepted by

  • APG IV (2016)


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 2020. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

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