Dicotylidonous Family: Apocynaceae

Systematic position

Bentham and Hooker placed it in the sub-class Gamopetalae,the series Bicarpellate and Cohort Gentianales . According to Engler it belongs to the sub-class Metachlymadeae, the sub-order Gentianineae under the order Controtae.Hutchinson places it under the order Apocynales of the Phylum Lignosae.


The family contains about 300 genera and 1300 species which are almost cosmopolitan mainly tropical with a few temperate ones.

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General  charecters


Generally shrubby or woody climbers with lactiferous ducts.


Simple, opposit or whorled, exstipulate, entire.


Cymose or in panical.


Complete, bisexual, actinomorphic and hypogynous.


Sepals 5(rarely 4), deeply lobed, divided almost to the base, united, imbricate.


petals 5, united, usually salver or funnel shaped, the throat of the tube often with hairs, scales or other appendages, called corona, twisted.


Stamens 5, alternating with corolla lobes epipetalous(attached to the throat) filaments very short, anthers 2-celled usually sagittate introse, free or adherent to the stigmatic surface by a viscid fluid, connective often prolonged apically, pollen granular, disc often present.


Carpels 2, the 2 ovaries usually distinct, and united only by the thick stigmatic surfaces, clavuncle, carpels 5-8 in the premitive form, style usually 1(with a thickened head), placentation marginal in each ovary, stigma dumbel-shaped, ovary superior.


Follicles, drupaceous, berries or capsule.


Usually flat, winged or with a crown of hairs, endospermic, embryo straight.



Identyfying charecter

  • Plants usually woody climbers with lactiferous ducts.
  •  Leaves opposit or whorled, exstipulate.
  • Corolla 5-lobed, salver shaped.
  • Carpels completely united or united by their styles and free below.
  • Fruits follicular or indehiscent.

Important Plants of Apocynaceae Family

Economically it is a very important family. Plants described here in different banners are:

Purpose Plant name and comments Image

Rauwolfia serpentina Benth

dried roots yield alkaloid used for lowering blood pressure.

Rauvolfia serpentina 11.JPG
Image source:Here

Hollarrhena antidysantrica Wall

root and steam bark used in treatment of dysentry.

Holarrhena pubescens flowers & leaves W IMG 0293.jpg
Image source:Here

Alstonia scholaris R. Br.

bark is used in treatment of diarrhea.

Image source:Here

Carissa caranda L.

fruits used as food

Image source:Here
Rubber yielding Carpodinus lanceolatus
Image from page 120 of "India rubber world" (1899) | Flickr
Image source:Here
Fibre yielding Apocynum cannabinum
Apocynum cannabinum 6801.JPG
Image source:Here
Ornamental Narium oleander
Nerium oleander flowers leaves.jpg
Image source:Here


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About Nusrat Jahan

A student of Department of Botany at the University of Dhaka. Opportunity seeker. Hope to do something remarkable. Email: nusratjahannitu81@gmail.com. Minimum monthly resolution- Publish(1), Revise(5), Share(1)

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