Petenaeaceae – a new family of flowering plants
A new family of flowering plants has been described to accommodate Petenaea cordata, a species of uncertain affinities.
17 Mar 2011
Petenaea cordata (Image: M. Vorontsova)
Petenaea cordata, a species from northern Central America, has been included in Elaeocarpaceae and Tiliaceae, but its familial placement has been uncertain. It was considered a taxon incertae sedis by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG III).
Molecular phylogenetic analyses based on a recent collection made in Guatemala revealed a distant sister-group relationship to the African genus Gerrardina (Gerrardinaceae, Huerteales). However, a comparison of morphological and anatomical characters did not identify any obvious synapomorphies for Gerrardina and Petenaea, and a new monotypic family, Petenaeaceae, has been described in a paper in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society by scientists from the Natural History Museum, Kew and the University of San Carlos de Guatemala.
The polymorphic order Huerteales now comprises four small families, Dipentodontaceae, Gerrardinaceae, Petenaeaceae and Tapisciaceae.
Item from Dr Mike Fay (Head of Genetics, RBG Kew)
Originally published in Kew Scientist, issue 38
Christenhusz, M.J.M., Fay, M.F., Clarkson, J.J., Gasson, P., Morales, J., Barrios, J.B.J. & Chase, M.W. (2010). Petenaeaceae, a new angiosperm family in Huerteales with a distant relationship to Gerrardina (Gerrardinaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 164, 16-25 (2010).
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