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Acanthaceae

This family contains 250 (+/-) genera and around 2,500 species of which a great deal of them are popular in the ornamental plant industry. This is because they have large flowers, leaves and colorfull bracts. The most common genus is Acanthus. People familiar with the most common temperate plants may not know much about this family. Its main distribution is in tropical climates of the world.

Systematics:

This family has bracts that are very conspicious. Often the bracts are all that you see. The calyx is deeply lobed, usually consisting of 4-5 lobes. Opposite and simple leaves. Bracts often colorfull or green. Capsules have two cells that split open at the two seems.

Specimens List
Acantaceae - Justicia betonica


Justicia betonica - Shrimp plant



Aphelandra aurantiaca - Fiery Spike



Pseuderanthemum carruthersii


e
Justicia laceolata



Asystasia gangetica - Chineese violet


 

Links to more information:

Selected list of genera in Acanthaceae

Acanthus, Adhotoda, Aphelandra, Asystasia, Barleria, Blechum, Bravaisia, Buceragenia, Carlowrightia, Chaetochlamys, Chaetothylax, Chamaeranthemum, Chileranthemum, Dicliptera, Dyschoriste, Elytraria, Fittonia, Graptophyllum, Habracanthus, Hansteinia, Hemigraphis, Henrya, Herpetacanthus, Hygrophila, Hypoestes, Justicia, Kalbreyeriella, Louteridium, Megaskepasma, Mendoncia, Nelsonia, Odontonema, Pachystachys, Poikilacanthus, Pseuderanthemum, Razisea, Ruellia, Sanchezia, Spathacanthus, Staurogyne, Streblacanthus, Teliostachya, Tetramerium, Thunbergia, Trichanthera

Selected Acanthaceae genera biodiversity:

Acanthopsis: 8 species endemic to southern Africa, occurring in arid regions.
Adhatoda. Several species found in the Old World tropics.
Anisotes. There are 19 species, native to Africa, Arabian Peninsula and Madagascar.
Asystasia. About 70 species, found from Africa to the East Indies and Australia. There are 8 species native to southern Africa.
Barleria. There are 250 species. Found worldwide but mainly in the tropics.
Blepharis. About 80 species, found from Africa and the Mediterranean to the East Indies. There are about 45 species in southern Africa.
Brillantaisia. About 40 species, native to tropical Africa and Madagascar.
Chaetacanthus. The 3 species are endemic to southern Africa.
Chorisochora. Of the 3 species, 2 are found on Socotra and 1 in southern Africa.
Crabbea. About 12 species.
Crossandra. About 50 species, native to Africa, Arabian Peninsula, India and Madagascar.
Dicliptera. About 150 species, found worldwide in warm and tropical regions.
Duosperma. The 12 species are native to Africa .
Duvernoia. The 2 species are native to Mozambique and southern Africa.
Dyschoriste. About 65 species, occurring worldwide in tropical and warm areas.
Ecbolium. The 22 species are found from Africa to India with 3 occurring in southern Africa.
Elytraria. About 7 species, native to Africa, Asia and America.
Glossochilus. The 2 species are endemic to southern Africa.
Hygrophila. A mainly tropical genus of about 100 species.
Hypoestes. About 40 species, found from Africa to Asia, East Indies and Australia.
Isoglossa. About 50 species, found in the Old World, mainly in the tropics.
Justicia. About 420 species, found worldwide in warm areas.
Lepidagathis. About 100 species, found worldwide in warm and tropical areas.
Mackaya. The single species, Mackaya bella, is native to southern Africa.
Megalochlamys. The 10 species are native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
Metarungia. The 3 species are native to Africa.
Monechma. About 40 species, mainly African but also occurring in India.
Nelsonia. The 5 species are native to Africa, India, Australia and South America.
Neuracanthus. About 20 species, native to Africa, and from the Arabian Peninsula to India.
Peristrophe. About 15 species , occurring from Africa to the East Indies
Petalidium. About 35 species, native from Africa to India.
Phaulopsis. About 20 species, native from Africa to India.
Pseuderanthemum. About 60 species, found worldwide in the tropics.
Rhinacanthus. About 22 species, native from Africa to Asia.
Ruellia. About 150 species, native to America, Africa, Asia and Australia.
Ruelliopsis. There are 2-3 species, African with 2 species in southern Africa.
Ruspolia. The 4 species are native to Africa and Madagascar.
Ruttya. There are 3 species.
Salpinctium. The 3 species are endemic to southern Africa.
Sclerochiton. About 12 species, native to Africa.
Siphonoglossa. About 8 species, native to Africa and America.
Thunbergia. About 100 species, native to Old World, mainly in the tropics.

Text: Rob Nelson

 
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