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madder family

noun
1.
the large plant family Rubiaceae, characterized by herbaceous plants, trees, and shrubs having simple, opposite, or whorled leaves, usually four- or five-lobed flowers, and fruit in the form of a berry, capsule, or nut, and including the gardenia, madder, partridgeberry, and shrubs and trees that are the source of coffee, ipecac, and quinine.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Article for madder-family

madder family

the madder family of the Rubiales order of flowering plants, consisting of 660 genera with more than 11,000 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees, distributed primarily in tropical areas of the world. Members of the family have leaves opposite each other with stipules or in whorls, unbroken leaf margins, and leaflike appendages at the base of the leafstalks. The leaves usually are large and evergreen in tropical species, deciduous in temperate species, and needlelike or scalelike in desert species. The plants may bear a single flower or many small flowers clustered together.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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