Neotropical Linderniaceae

Jon L.R. Every

University of Plymouth, U.K. 


Annual, ephemeral herbs or sub -shrubs with tetragonal stems. Leaves opposite, simple, entire or serrate; estipulate. Inflorescence terminal or lateral, racemes. Flowers bisexual, ebracteate; sepals 5; petals (2-)4-5, fused, two-lipped, bilaterally symmetrical, glandular hairs on abaxial surface of corolla, disk present; stamens (2-)4(-5), adnate to and alternating with perianth, sometimes differing in shape (zig-zag, curved, longer, etc) or reduced, 2 staminodes present in some Lindernia All., anthers dehiscing via longitudinal slits; ovary superior, syncarpous, carpels 2, style present, stigma sensitive. Fruit capsule septicidal or septifragal. Seeds many, small; endosperm ruminate.

Notes on delimitation

  • When circumscribed as part of the Scrophulariaceae can be found in the subfamily Gratioloideae and in the tribe Lindernieae.
  • Segregated by the APG as Linderniaceae within the Lamiales (APGIII).

Distribution in the Neotropics

  • Pantropical to warm temperate. In the Neotropics from northern Mexico south to Chile, Argentina, and Paraguay.

Distinguishing characters (always present)

Other important characters

  • Leaf blade margin often toothed or rarely entire.
  • Stamens 4, all fertile or 2 anterior reduced and filaments appendaged.

Number of genera

  • 2: Lindernia spp. and the introduced Torenia thouarsii Kuntze.


  • Lindernia (native).
  • Torenia thouarsii (introduced).

Important literature

APG III. 2009. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161(3): 105-121.

Brummit, R.K. 2007. Scrophulariaceae.  In: V.H. Heywood, R.K. Brummitt, A. Culham and O. Seberg (eds.). Flowering Plant Families of the World. Pp 300–303. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Holmgren, N. 2004. Scrophulariaceae. In: Smith, N., Mori, S.A., Henderson, A., Stevenson, D.W. and Heald, S.V. (eds.). Flowering Plants of the Neotropics.  Pp 348-349. The New York Botanical Garden, Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Mabberley, D.J. 2008. Mabberley’s plant book. Third edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

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

How to cite

Every, J.L.R. (2010). Neotropical Linderniaceae. In: Milliken, W., Klitgård, B. & Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.