According to the plant taxonomists, it has been estimated that a total of 2 to 3 million plant species exists on our planet. Among them, around two lakh species are angiosperms (flowering plants), while others include gymnosperms, bryophytes, hydrophytes and other vascular and non-vascular plants. These plants are grouped into different families depending upon their characteristics.
Table of Contents
Read on to explore the Solanaceae, Fabaceae, and Liliaceae families of flowering plants, their characteristics and importance in complete detail.
Also refer: Classification of Plants Based On Growth Habits
Solanaceae family is also known as the potato family. Around 2000 species of dicotyledonous plants belong to this family. Its important characteristics are mentioned below.
Characteristics of Solanaceae Family
Following are the characteristic features of Solanaceae family:
- Root System: Taproot system.
- Stem: Erect or climber; Solanaceae includes herbs, shrubs, small trees, and climbers.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple or pinnately compound (rarely); exstipulate; reticulate venation.
- Inflorescence: Racemose- terminal or axillary raceme; Cymose- solitary in Solanum.
- Flower: Complete, bisexual, actinomorphic, hypogynous.
- Calyx: Five sepals, gamosepalous; valvate aestivation.
- Corolla: Five petals, gamopetalous, valvate aestivation.
- Androecium: Five stamens, epipetalous; anthers basifixed.
- Gynoecium: Syncarpous, bicarpellary, bilocular, superior ovary, axile placentation.
- Fruit: Berry/ capsule.
- Seed: Numerous, endospermous
The economic importance of some plants belonging to Solanaceae family are as follows:
- These are an important source of food. For eg., tomato, brinjal and potato
- These are important sources of spices. For eg., chilly
- The leaves of Nicotiana tabacum are a major source of tobacco.
- These are also used as ornamental plants. For eg.,petunia
- Plants such as belladonna and ashwagandha are also used as medicinal plants.
Also refer: Dicotyledonous and Monocotyledonous Seeds
The Fabaceae family is a large family of the plant kingdom, including several economically important plants. The family Fabaceae is also known as Leguminosae or Papilionaceae since it belongs to the pea or legume family. There are around 5000 species of dicotyledonous fabaceae plants widely distributed all over the world.
Characteristics of Fabaceae Family
Listed below are the morphological and floral characteristics of the Fabaceae family.
- Root: Dicotyledons with taproot with root nodules.
- Stem: Erect or climber; Fabaceae include shrubs, herbs, trees and majorly climbers.
- Leaves: Petiolate, pinnately compound or simple; pulvinus leaf base, stipulate; reticulate venation.
- Inflorescence: Racemose.
- Flower: Complete, bisexual, zygomorphic, perigynous, bracteate/ ebracteate.
- Calyx: Five sepals, gamosepalous; imbricate aestivation.
- Corolla: Five petals, polypetalous, papilionaceous, vexillary aestivation.
- Androecium: Ten stamens (9+1), diadelphous, anther dithecous.
- Gynoecium: Superior ovary, monocarpellary, unilocular, marginal placentation, single, sort -style and flat, hairy-stigma.
- Fruit: Legume.
- Seed: One or more, non-endospermic.
Many plants belonging to this family are economically useful. Few of them are listed below:
- The plants of this family are unique and have root nodules which contain nitrogen-fixing symbiotic bacteria, capable of transforming atmospheric nitrogen into fixed nitrogen or ammonia.
- Pulses like gram, moong, soya bean are the main source of food.
- Muliathi plant is known for its medicinal value.
- Soya bean and groundnuts are used to extract oil that is used for cooking.
- Sunnhemp is the source of timber and fibre
- Indigofera is used to make dye.
- Sesbania and Trifolium are the source of fodder or livestock feed
- Lupin and sweet pea are known as ornamental plants.
Liliaceae is the family of around 2500 species of perennial, herbaceous monocots. It is also known as the ‘lily family’. It characteristics are discussed below.
Characteristics of Liliaceae Family
Following are the important characteristics of liliaceae family.
- Root: Fibrous root system.
- Stem: Erect; Liliaceae includes perennial herbs which propagate through bulbs or rhizomes.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple; exstipulate; parallel venation.
- Inflorescence: Cymose- solitary; umbellate clusters.
- Flower: Complete, bisexual, actinomorphic; hypogynous, perianth present.
- Perianth: Indistinctive sepal and petal; six petals (3+3), often united sepals; valvate aestivation.
- Androecium: Six stamens in two whorls (3+3).
- Gynoecium: Syncarpous, tricarpellary, trilocular, superior ovary with axile placentation.
- Fruit: Berry or often Capsule.
- Seed: Endospermic seeds.
The economic importance of the plants belonging to liliaceae family are:
- Source of Medicine -Aloe vera, Smilax and Colchicine
- Ornamental Plants -Lilium, tulips, Gloriosa and Ruscus
- Source of food (or) Vegetables-Asparagus
- Bulbs of Allium cepa and the roots of various species of Smilax are used as flavouring agents.
Also refer: Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, and Poaceae
Learn more about solanaceae, fabaceae, and liliaceae families at BYJU’S Biology.