Shrubs or trees, rarely vines; usually bearing stiff, tubercle-based hairs; plants hermaphrodite or dioecious (sometimes in Heliotropium). Leaves alternate, occasionally lower ones opposite, simple; stipules absent. Flower clusters in cymes that coil in a characteristic form (scorpioid or helicoid), rarely solitary and axillary. Flowers bisexual, regular (rarely slightly irregular). Sepals mostly 5, free or united at the base. Petals united, mostly 5, often with scales in the throat, mostly blue, occasionally white, pink or yellow. Stamens mostly 5, alternating with the petals and attached to the tube, sometimes with a nectary disk. Ovary superior. Carpels 2, united, each with 2 chambers, style 2-branched; stigma capitate. Fruit a drupe, surrounded by a persistent and more or less accrescent calyx
Cordiaceae has usually been treated as part of Boraginaceae. This treatment follows Stevens, P.F. (2018, Angiosperm Phylogeny Website).
Cordiaceae are woody, and often with fibrous. The inflorescences are cymose and the styles are often twice branched and with capitate stigmas. The fruits are drupes, surrounded by a persistent and more or less accrescent calyx (Stevens 2018).
Predominantly tropical, especially South America. 3 genera and c. 330 species; 2 genera and 8 species in Australia.
Created by: Val Stajsic
Updated by: Val Stajsic, April 2018