Halophytaceae A.Soriano in Bol. Soc. Argent. Bot. 23: 161. 1984 sec. APG III (2009)



A monotypic family of succulent monoecious herbs, endemic to semideserts of western and southwestern Argentina (Hunziker 1998; Bittrich 1993c; Pozner & Cocucci 2006). For many years the position of the only species, Halophytum ameghinoi (Speg.) Speg. within Caryophyllales was uncertain. When the species was described, it was placed in Aizoaceae and later transferred to Chenopodiaceae (e.g. Cronquist 1981). Several molecular phylogenetic studies have shown that it represents a well-supported independent lineage within the Portulacineae (Brockington & al. 2009, 2011; Nyffeler & Eggli 2010; Ocampo & al. 2010; Arakaki & al. 2011), but its relationships with the other families in this group remain uncertain. The most recent phylogenetic study based on data from several nuclear and chloroplast markers, supports a close relationship between Halophytum and Basellaceae and a close relationship of both with Didiereaceae (Anton & al. 2014).