A monogeneric family with eight species endemic to Madagascar (Kubitzki 2003). The genus was traditionally placed in Theales, either in its own family (e.g. Takhtajan 1987; Thorne 1992) or within Theaceae (e.g. Cronquist 1988). However, early molecular phylogenetic studies have shown the affinities of Asteropeiacae within Caryophyllales and the close relationship with Physenaceae (e.g. Morton & al. 1997). These results were confirmed by subsequent studies (e.g. Cuénoud & al. 2002; Brockington 2009, 2011; Soltis & al. 2011). The clade Asteropeiaceae–Physenaceae is also well-supported by wood anatomical characters (e.g. Miller & Dickison 1992; Dickison & Miller 1993; Carlquist 2006), some member species (with small circular alternate pits on vessels, vasicentric tracheids plus fiber tracheids, abaxial confluent diffuse parenchyma and predominantly uniseriate rays) have been proposed as synapomorphies to the family (e.g. Carlquist 2006).
Asteropeiaceae in Bull. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat., B, Adansonia Sér. 4, Sér. 4, 12: 205. 1990 sec. APG III (2009)
- Type: Asteropeia