Friday, 11 May 2012


Chloranthaceae ( /ˌklɔərænˈθeɪʃiː/) is the botanical name of a family of flowering plants. The family consists of four genera, totalling several dozen species, of herbaceous or woody plants occurring in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, Madagascar, Central & South America, and the West Indies. Members of this family are aromatic and have opposite, evergreen leaves with distinctive serrate margins and interpetiolar stipules (similar to the stipules found in family Rubiaceae). The flowers are inconspicuous, and arranged in inflorescences. Petals are absent in this family, and sometimes so are sepals. The flowers can be either hermaphrodite or of separate sexes. The fruit is drupe-like, consisting of one carpel.

Chloranthaceae have been recognised as a family in most classifications but without clear relatives. Molecular systematic studies have shown that it is not closely related to any other family and is among the early-diverging lineages in the angiosperms. In particular, it is neither a eudicot nor a monocot. Fossils assigned to Chloranthaceae, or closely related, are among the oldest angiosperms known. The APG II system (2003) leaves the family unplaced as to order but Stevens (2001 onwards) accepts the order Chloranthales, containing only this family.