Distribution of Verbenaceae:
The family is commonly called Verbena family. It includes 77 genera and 3,020 species, out of which 21 genera and 125 species occur in India. The members of family are inhabitants of tropical and subtropical regions, they also extend into temperate lands.
Economic Importance of Verbenaceae:
- Timber: The wood of Tectona grandis (Teak, H. Sagwan) is extremely hard and lasting. The wood is largely used in manufacturing of ships and good quality furniture.
- Medicinal: The roots of Clerodendron are used in asthma and cough. The decoction of leaves of Lantana camara is given in tetanus and rheumatism. The leave’s juice of Gmelina arborea is used in gonorrhoea, cough and ulcers.
- Oils: Lippia alba produces a valuable oil.
- Tanning: The bark of Avicennia is used in tanning.
- Ornamental: Lantana, Verbena officinalis, Duranta, Congea tomentosa, Callicarpa, Clerodendron, Petrea are cultivated in gardens.
Affinities of Verbenaceae:
The family shows close relationship with Lamiaceae (Labiatae) in the bilabiate corolla, persistent calyx. It also bears some affinity with Boraginaceae in the nature of inflorescence, calyx and fruit. It bears relationship with Acanthaceae. Bentham and Hooker included the family Verbenaceae in the Lamiales. Hallier retained Verbenaceae within Tubiflorae and sought its origin from the Scrophulariaceae. Hutchinson at first (1926) accepted it as belonging to his Lamiales, but later (1948, 1959) segregated it as the Verbenales and derived it from rubiaceous stocks.