Habit and leaf form. Herbs (small to medium); evergreen, or deciduous. Perennial (annual leaves and flowers). Leaves basal, or basal and cauline (mostly basal). Plants with a basal concentration of leaves, or with neither basal nor terminal concentrations of leaves; cormous, or rhizomatous (globose, fibrous tunic). Helophytic to xerophytic. Leaves alternate; distichous; ‘herbaceous’, or leathery; sessile; sheathing. Leaf sheaths with free margins. Leaves foetid, or without marked odour; edgewise to the stem, or with ‘normal’ orientation; simple; epulvinate. Leaf blades entire; flat, or solid; terete; linear, or lanceolate; linear (lower); parallel-veined; without cross-venules; open or closed sheaths. Leaves eligulate; without stipules. Leaf blade margins entire. Leaves with a persistent basal meristem, and basipetal development. Leaf anatomy. Hairs absent. Extra-floral nectaries absent. Stem anatomy. Secondary thickening absent.
Reproductive type, pollination. Fertile flowers hermaphrodite. Unisexual flowers absent. Plants hermaphrodite. Floral nectaries present, or absent. Nectar secretion from the perianth (from nectaries at the tepal bases). Entomophilous, or ornithophilous, or anemophilous.
Inflorescence and flower features. Flowers aggregated in ‘inflorescences’; in cymes, or in spikes, or in corymbs, or in fascicles (or clusters). The terminal inflorescence unit cymose, or racemose. Inflorescences terminal; inflorescence axis branched; inflorescence a corymb of few-several cymes, cymose of 1-many rhipidia, each cyme several-flowered; spatheate (2 per cyme or rhipidium, opposed, persistent, longer than other bracts, the inner longer than the outer, scarious to herbaceous, acuminate or lacerate). Flowers pedicellate; bracteate (short, sheathing at the nodes, subtend the pedicels and the branches of the inflorescences, membranous); ebracteolate; small to large; regular; 3 merous; cyclic; tetracyclic. Perigone tube present, or absent. Perianth of ‘tepals’; 6; 2 -whorled; isomerous; petaloid; without spots, or spotted; similar in the two whorls, or different in the two whorls; purple (flush), or blue (flush), or brown (dull yellow-brown). Androecial members definite in number. Androecium 3. Androecial members adnate; all equal; free of one another, or coherent (usually connate at the base); when united, 1 - adelphous; 1 -whorled (representing the outer whorl). Androecium exclusively of fertile stamens. Stamens 3; all more or less similar in shape; reduced in number relative to the adjacent perianth to isomerous with the perianth; on the perianth tube opposite the outer segments; alterniperianthial (opposite the outer perianth lobes). Anthers basifixed; dehiscing via longitudinal slits; extrorse. Gynoecium 3 carpelled. The pistil 3 celled. Gynoecium partly petaloid, or non-petaloid; syncarpous; synstylovarious; inferior. Ovary plurilocular; 3 locular. The ‘odd’ carpel anterior. Gynoecium stylate. Styles 1; apical. Stigmas 3; 2 - lobed (sometimes), or 1 - lobed. Placentation axile. Ovules 20–50 per locule (many); arillate, or non-arillate; anatropous.
Fruit and seed features. Fruit non-fleshy (coriaceous or thick); dehiscent; a capsule. Capsules loculicidal (from the apex). Fruit 3 celled; 20–100 seeded (many). Seeds endospermic. Endosperm oily. Cotyledons 1 (coleoptile-like). Embryo straight (small). Testa without phytomelan.
Etymology. After Robert More (1703–1780), English botanist.
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