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Nepenthaceae Dumort., Anal. Fam. Pl.: 14, 16. 1829, nom. cons. sec. APG IV [Angiosperm Phylogeny Group] 20161 wfo-7000000410
      Type: Nepenthes L.
  • 1. APG IV [Angiosperm Phylogeny Group] 2016: APG IV: An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants. – Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 181(1): 1-20..


A monogeneric family comprising 120-138 species (McPherson 2009, 2011) native to tropical Asia, distributed from Madagascar through Indo-Malesia to New Guinea and New Caledonia (Kubitzki 2003e; Meimberg & Heubl 2006). The family includes woody climbers or scrambling shrubs and some epiphytes (Kubitzki 2003e) widely known as the carnivorous “Pitcher plants”. It is characterised by unisexual flowers, axilar placentation, filaments united in a column, 3-4 locular ovaries and by the loss of vascularization in glands (Heubl & al. 2006).
The affinities of Nepenthaceae have long been discussed (Meimberg & al. 2001). Traditionally, the family was placed in the order Nepenthales, either as a monofamilial order (e.g. Takhtajan 1980) or together with Droseraceae and Sarraceniaceae (e.g. Cronquist 1988). The placement of the family within Caryophyllales was shown by the early molecular phylogenetic study of Nandi & al. (1998).
Several molecular phylogenetic studies have shown (although with moderate support) the close relationship of Nepenthaceae and Droseraceae (Nandi & al. 1998, Cuénoud & al. 2000, Brockington & al. 2009, Schäferhoff & al. 2010; further information under Droseraceae. Another study, based on parsimony analysis of combined rbcL and matK shows with high support Nepenthes as sister to the rest of carnivorous families, whereas the study of Renner & Specht (2011) based on the ML and Bayesian analysis of the combined data of nuclear, ribosomal and plastid DNA, shows also with high support the relationship of Nepenthaceae with the Drosophyllaceae +[Dioncophyllaceae + Ancistrocladaceae] clade.A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N


The species of the sole genus in this family, Nepenthes, can be found under


A. Brockington, S. F., Alexandre, R., Ramdial, J., Moore, M. J., Crawley, S., Dhingra, A., Hilu, K., Douglas, E. S. & Soltis, P.S. 2009: Phylogeny of the Caryophyllales sensu lato: Revisiting hypotheses on pollination biology and perianth differentiation in the core Caryophyllales. – International Journal of Plant Sciences 170(5): 627–643.
B. Cronquist, A.J. 1988: The evolution and classification of Flowering Plants, ed. 2. – New York: New York Botanical Garden
C. Cuénoud, P. & al. 2002: Molecular phylogenetics of Caryophyllales based on nuclear 18S rDNA and plastid rbcL, atpB, and matK DNA sequences. – American Journal of Botany 89(1): 132-144.
D. Hernández-Ledesma, P., Berendsohn, W. G., Borsch, T., von Mering, S., Akhani, H., Arias, S., Castañeda-Noa, I., Eggli, U., Eriksson, R., Flores-Olvera, H., Fuentes-Bazán, S., Kadereit, G., Klak, C., Korotkova, N., Nyffeler, R., Ocampo, G. & Ochoterena, H. 2015: A taxonomic backbone for the global synthesis of species diversity in the angiosperm order Caryophyllales. – Willdenowia 45(3): 281-383.
E. Heubl, G., Bringmann, G. & Meimberg, H. 2006: Molecular phylogeny and character evolution of carnivorous plant families in Caryophyllales – Revisited. – Plant Biology 8: 821–830.
F. Kubitzki, K. 2003: Nepenthaceae, 320 – 324. – In: Kubitzki, K. & Bayer, C. (ed.), The families and genera of vascular plants 5. – Berlin, Heidelberg & New York: Springer
G. McPherson, S. 2009: Pitcher plants of the Old World 1. – Poole: Redfern Natural History Productions
H. McPherson, S. 2011: New Nepenthes, ser. 1. – Poole: Redfern Natural History Productions
I. Meimberg, H., Wistuba, A., Dittrich, P. & Heubl, G. 2001: Molecular phylogeny of Nepenthaceae based on cladistic analysis of plastid trnK intron sequence data. – Plant Biology 3(2): 164-175.
J. Meimberg, H., Wistuba, A., Dittrich, P. & Heubl, G. 2001: Molecular phylogeny of Nepenthaceae based on cladistic analysis of plastid trnK intron sequence data. – Plant Biology 3: 164-175.
K. Nandi, O. I., Chase, M. W. & Endress, P. K. 1998: A combined cladistic analysis of Angiosperms using rbcL and non-molecular data sets. – Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 85: 137–214.
L. Renner, T. & Specht, C.D. 2011: A sticky situation: assessing adaptations for plant carnivory in the Caryophyllales by means of stochastic character mapping. – International Journal of Plant Sciences 172(7): 889-901.
M. Schäferhoff, B., Müller, K.F. & Borsch, T. 2010: Caryophyllales phylogenetics: disentangling Phytolaccaceae and Molluginaceae and description of Microteaceae as a new isolated family. – Willdenowia 39: 209-228.
N. Takhtajan, A. L. 1980: Outline of the classification of flowering plants (Magnoliophyta). – Botanical Review 46: 225–359