Greek lysis—releasing, mache—strife, in reference to its reputed soothing qualities.
Herbs or occasionally shrubs. Leaves opposite, whorled or alternate, entire or with round-toothed margins. Flowers 5-parted, terminal or axillary, solitary or in clusters. Petals in wheel-like arrangement. Fruit a more or lesss spherical capsule opening by 5 valves.
Occasionally grown species include L. ephemerum L. from SW Europe, an upright perennial plant with white flowers and linear-lanceolate opposite leaves to 15 cm long; L. barystachys Bunge from E Asia with dark purple flowers and narrow alternate leaves to 1.5 cm long; L. ciliata L. from N America growing to about 1 m tall with more or less ovate leaves opposite or whorled leaves and yellow petals with red basal blotches.
Some species have medicinal properties.
Leafy stems; fruit valved and staminodia absent.
About 150 species from temperate and warm temperate regions, S Africa, Eurasia, N America.
Source: (1997). Primulaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 2. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 1. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.