|Abstract||Unarmed, erect, mostly aromatic (sometimes fetid-aromatic) herbs, sometimes woody at the base; stem mostly quadrangular, sometimes conspicuously noded. Leaves decussate, rarely whorled, mostly simple, rarely lobed or pinnate, exstipulate. Indumentum of simple, capitate-glandular or stellate hairs, or a combination. (Extra-Mal. sometimes woody, climbing, spiny and with spiral leaves.) Flowers bisexual, mostly zygomorphic, axillary, in pairs, or in short, fascicled cymes forming verticillasters, or in cincinni, in many cases compound into spurious spicate, racemose, capitate or paniculate, essentially cymose, inflorescences. Calyx persistent, ± regular or unequally 4—5-toothed or -lobed, tubular or 2-lipped, sometimes with an appendage. Corolla tube long or short, sometimes with a hairring within, limb 5-, rarely 4-lobed, mostly 2-lipped and personate, lobes imbricate in bud. Stamens usually 4 and didynamous, inserted on the corolla tube, sometimes the upper (posterior) pair imperfect, rarely the lower pair barren (Mosla), filaments sometimes hairy, rarely connate at base; anthers linear to round, cells parallel or divaricate, sometimes confluent, rarely one cell barren (Anisomeles), or disjoined by a slender connective (Salvia), basifixed. Disk usually prominent, regular or irregular. Ovary superior, consisting of 2 carpels, each of which is 2-celled by intrusion of the ovary wall. Style simple, mostly gynobasic; stigma usually 2-fid, often with unequal arms. Ovules solitary, anatropous. Fruit consisting of 4 dry or rarely fleshy (Gomphostemma), 1-seeded schizocarpous nutlets which remain enclosed in the persistent calyx; the scar of attachment usually small and basal but sometimes sublateral and large; pericarp smooth or sculptured, endocarp sometimes hard; exocarp sometimes becoming gelatinous when moistened. Seed small, erect or ± transverse (Scutellaria), ± exalbuminous; seed-coat usually much deteriorated as to be almost negligible.|
Distribution. Cosmopolitan, with c. 180 genera and over 3000 spp., highly developed in the Mediterranean region; certain groups confined to distinct parts of the world, e.g. the (woody) Prostantheroideae in Australia and Tasmania, and Catopherioideae in Central America.