Phylogeny of the Ericales
Department of Phanerogamic Botany
Swedish Museum of Natural History (S)
The order Ericales (Arne A. Anderberg)
The Ericales project aims at a better understanding of the phylogenetic interrelationships in the order Ericales.
Investigations based of molecular data have shown that this order comprise the families Marcgraviaceae, Tetrameristaceae, Pellicieraceae, Polemoniaceae, Fouquieriaceae, Theaceae, Ternstroemiaceae, Sladeniaceae, Pentaphylacaceae, Symplocaceae, Styracaceae, Diapensiaceae, Lecythidaceae (incl. Scytopetalaceae), Sapotaceae, Ebenaceae (incl. Lissocarpaceae), Maesaceae, Theophrastaceae, Primulaceae, Myrsinaceae, Actinidiaceae, Roridulaceae, Sarraceniaceae, Clethraceae, Cyrillaceae, and Ericaceae.
The Heath family, Ericaceae, has in a number of publications been
demonstrated to be a paraphyletic assemblage of genera. Preliminary
cladistic analyses of morphological as well as molecular data indicate
that the families Pyrolaceae, Monotropaceae, Empetraceae and Epacridaceae,
all have evolved from ancestors within the Ericaceae.
Ericaceae is sister to Cyrillaceae, and together they are sister to Clethraceae. To the same clade belongs also Actinidiaceae, Roridulaceae, and Sarraceniaceae.
The Primrose family and its closes relatives of the former Primulales has been reclassified to comprise four families,
Maesaceae, Theophrastaceae, Primulaceae, and Myrsinaceae. Maesa is sister to the three other families, but Samolus
is sister to the Theophrastaceae, and many genera, i.e. Coris, Ardisiandra, Stimpsonia,
and the genera of the Lysimachiinae, belong to the Myrsinaceae.
Theaceae are not monophyletic as Pentaphylacaceae is sister to Ternstroemiaceae, and the two genera Sladenia and Ficalhoa form a monophyletic group that is sister to Pentaphylacaceae and Ternstroemiaceae. Theaceae does not group with this clade.
The Ericales research project is supported financially by the Swedish Natural Science Research Council (VR), and different parts are conducted in cooperation with Kathleen A. Kron (Winston-Salem), Scott Mori (New York) and Chih-Hua Tsou (Taipei), Mari Källersjö, Ulf Swenson and Per Ola Karis (Stockholm), and include Ph.D.-students Ida Trift and Ulrika Manns.