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the primrose family, of the order Ericales, containing 28 genera of herbaceous flowering plants. Although worldwide in distribution, most species grow in temperate and colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and many are Arctic or Alpine. These annual or perennial herbs have simple leaves, often with a toothed margin; their flowers are borne in groups on leafless stalks and have a tube with spreading lobes, the stamens being attached to the tube. The fruits are capsules.