PLANTS: Annual or perennial herbs or shrubs. STEMS: 4-angled, the angles sometimes expanded to obscure the sides. LEAVES: opposite, but appearing whorled, the stipules leaf-like. FLOWERS: perfect or imperfect in panicles or axillary cymes, the basic unit usually a cymule of 3 flowers; calyx absent; corolla usually rotate, sometimes campanulate, the lobes usually 4; styles 2 usually fused at base. FRUIT: of 2 nutlets (in ours), or sometimes berry-like. NOTES: Ca. 400 spp. worldwide, especially temperate regions. (Greek: gala =milk, from use of some species for curdling). REFERENCES: Dempster, Lauramay T. 1995. Rubiaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Sci. 29(l): 29.
Cal-lobes none; cor rotate, with (3)4 short lobes, varying in a few spp. to cupulate or funnelform with the lobes longer than or about equaling the tube; stamens mostly shorter than the cor; ovary bilocular, with a single axile ovule in each cell; styles 2, short; stigmas capitate; fr dry or seldom fleshy, of 2 globose or subglobose carpels, or one carpel abortive; each carpel indehiscent, 1-seeded, sometimes bristly; herbs with slender, 4-angled stems and whorled lvs, the small cymose fls ebracteolate, terminating the branches or axillary. 300, cosmop.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.