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Family Rubiaceae, composed of 11,000 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees in 660 genera. 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. Economically important products of the family include coffee, quinine, ipecac, the red dye alizarin (from the roots of common madder, Rubia tinctorum), and ornamentals including gardenias.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on madder family, visit Britannica.com.
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