Didiereaceae

Didiereaceae

Introduction

A family with six genera and 20 species (Bruyns & al. 2014). Traditionally, Didiereaceae included xerophytic shrubs and trees endemic to Madagascar with short lateral shoots bearing spines or alternate leaves (Kubitzki 1993a; Cuénoud 2003). However, molecular phylogenetic studies (Applequist & Wallace 2001, 2003; Nyffeler & Eggli 2010; Bruyns & al. 2014) showed a well-supported clade including the traditional Didiereaceae plus the African genera Calyptrotheca, Portulacaria and Ceraria, previously placed in Portulacaceae. This expanded circumscription of the family is accepted here, which includes also much branched plants with opposite leaves and without spines. Applequist & Wallace (2003) divided the family in three subfamilies: Didiereoideae Appleq. & R. S. Wallace (= traditional Didiereaceaea), Calyptrothecoideae Pax & Gilg and Portulacarioideae Appleq. & R. S. Wallace. The recent molecular phylogeny of Bruyns & al. (2014) supports the monophyly of these subfamilies and the inclusion of Ceraria Pearson & Stephens within Portulacaria Jacq.

Synonymy

Didiereaceae Radlk., Nat. Pflanzenfam. 3(5): 462. 1896, nom. cons., sec. APG III (2009)