Plumbaginaceae

Plumbaginaceae

Introduction

A cosmopolitan family of perennial herbs or shrubs, rarely climbers, mainly distributed in the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere, especially in the Mediterranean and Irano-Turanian regions but also in southern Africa, southern South America and Western Australia. The family comprises c. 25 to 30 genera and about 650-1000 species which predominantly occur in arid and saline environments, and often in coastal habitats. The family is characterised by flowers that have stamens opposite the petals and a single basal anatropous ovule with curled funicle.
Molecular studies based on different markers have shown that Plumbaginaceae are well supported as monophyletic family within Caryophyllales and sister to Polygonaceae (e.g., Cuénoud & al. 2002; Hilu & al. 2003). Lledó & al. (1998, 2001) have confirmed the classification of Plumbaginaceae into two subfamilies Plumbaginoideae Burnett and Limonioideae Reveal, well differentiated by morphological, chemical, and molecular characters. Plumbaginoideae are mostly distributed in the pantropic region and comprise four genera; Plumbago with c. 20 species is the largest. Limonioideae diversified in regions with Mediterranean climate and are morphologically more diverse. The subfamily is divided in two tribes: Aegialitideae Peng (only one genus with two species) and Limonieae Reveal. Most species of Limonieae (> 85%) are grouped in three genera, Limonium, Armeria, and Acantholimon, while the remaining species belong to monotypic or small genera (Kubitzki 1993b), mostly segregated from Limonium and Acantholimon. The status of most of these genera is unclear; generic concepts and relationships are in need of revision.

Synonymy

Plumbaginaceae Juss., Gen. Pl.: 92. 1789, nom. cons., sec. APG III (2009)