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one of 23 families in the mint order of flowering plants (Lamiales), containing approximately 230 genera and nearly 3,500 species distributed predominantly in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. The greater part of the Acanthaceae family are herbs or shrubs, but climbers (vines) and trees occur as well. The range of habitats extends from marshes to extremely dry situations, but most of these plants are found in damp tropical forests.