pronounced: ly-THRAY-see-eye

the loosestrife or crape-myrtle family


The family is named for the type genus, Lythrum, the loosestrifes, from the Greek λυθρον (lythron), defilement from blood. It also includes henna (Lawsonia inermis), and the widely-cultivated crape-myrtles. It now also includes the pomegranate, formerly in Punicaceae. The leaves of family members are usually opposite, simple, with smooth margins and pinnate venation. The flower petals emerge from the rim of the calyx tube, and the petals often appear crumpled. There are usually twice as many stamens as there are petals, arranged in 2 whorls, one whorl with longer filaments than the other. There is a single compound pistil of usually 2 – 4 carpels, a single style and stigma, and a superior ovary with usually 2 – 4 locules. The fruit is commonly capsular.


Photograph by TeunSpaans via Wikimedia Commons