Flowers of Nesaea luederitzii var. luederitzii, photographed by A. A. Dreyer.

Belongs within: Myrtales.

The Lythraceae are a morphologically diverse family of plants, often with more or less quadrangular stems. Economically significant members include the pomegranate Punica granatum and the water chestnut Trapa natans. Lythrum, the loosestrifes, is a genus of herbaceous plants with cylindrical or bell-shaped flowers commonly growing in damp habitats.

Characters (from Qin, Graham & Gilbert): Herbs, shrubs, or trees; young stems often quadrangular. Leaves opposite, often decussate, or whorled, rarely subalternate to alternate, simple, entire; pinnately veined, secondary veins typically joined in a series of intramarginal arches; stipules vestigial or absent. Inflorescences racemes, cymes, or panicles; flowers axillary or terminal, usually 4-, 6- or 8-merous, sometimes 3- or 5-merous, bisexual, regular or irregular. Floral tube perigynous, hemi-epigynous, or epigynous, persistent in fruit, membranous to leathery, often 6-12-ribbed; sepals valvate, equal to much shorter than floral tube, membranous to thickly leathery, persistent; epicalyx alternating with sepals or absent. Petals inserted at rim of floral tube, alternating with sepals, crinkled, clawed or not, frequently caducous, rarely absent. Stamens usually biseriate and 2 × as many as sepals, sometimes uniseriate, inserted near base of floral tube or higher, or numerous, multiseriate, with at least some inserted at floral rim just below sepals (Punica, Sonneratia and some Duabanga); anthers versatile (rarely basifixed). Ovary superior, half-inferior, or inferior, 2-6- or multi-loculed, with many ovules per locule; style simple; stigma capitate, conic-peltate, or punctiform; placentation axile, sometimes free central at fruit maturity. Fruit partly or completely surrounded by persistent floral tube, loculicidally dehiscent or irregularly dehiscent capsules, infrequently indehiscent, leathery, or berrylike. Seeds usually numerous, without endosperm; embryo straight, cotyledons flat or convolute.

<==Lythraceae [Lythrarieae]
    |--Duabanga [Duabangoideae] T00
    |    `--D. grandiflora DD73
    |--Sonneratia [Sonneratioideae] T00
    |    |--S. alba LK14
    |    `--S. caseolaris [incl. S. acida] P88
    |--Punicoideae [Punicaceae] T00
    |    |--Punicites hesperidum Weber 1855 CBH93
    |    `--Punica T00
    |         |--P. granatum BB07
    |         `--P. protopunica D81
    |--Trapoideae [Trapaceae] T00
    |    |--Prototrapa douglassi Vasilev 1967 CBH93
    |    |--Hemitrapa CBH93
    |    |--Sporotrapoidites illingensis Konzalova 1976 CBH93
    |    `--Trapa T00
    |         |--T. bicornis M86
    |         `--T. natans PP07
    |              |--T. n. var. natans PP07
    |              `--T. n. var. bispinosa PP07
    `--Lythrum WM09 [Lythroideae T00]
         |--L. acinifolium BT87
         |--L. alatum MB93
         |--L. californicum H93
         |--L. flagellare WM09
         |--L. graefferi C06
         |--L. hyssopifolium H93
         |--L. portula [=Peplis portula] H93
         |--L. salicaria MB93
         `--L. tribracteatum H93

Lythraceae incertae sedis:
  Adenaria YY22
  Cuphea rotundifolia J87
  Microdiptera parva JD05
  Woodfordia fruticosa P03
  Decodon verticillatus MB93
  Pemphis acidula LK14
  Diplusodon virgatus [incl. Lopezia glazioui Leveille 1907] PRB73
  Lafoensia K06
    |--L. glyptocarpa K06
    `--L. punicifolia K06
  Lawsonia BB07
    |--L. alba SDK05
    `--L. inermis BB07
  Ammannia LK14
    |--A. auriculata LK14
    |--A. baccifera LK14
    |--A. coccinea H93
    |--A. multiflora LK14
    |--A. octandra SR07
    `--A. robusta H93
  Rotala LK14
    |--R. densiflora PP07
    |--R. diandra LK14
    |--R. indica H93
    |--R. mexicana LK14
    |--R. occultiflora LK14
    `--R. ramosior H93
  Lagerstroemia LK14
    |--L. archeriana LK14
    |    |--L. a. var. archeriana LK14
    |    `--L. a. var. divaricatiflora LK14
    |--L. indica LO98
    |--L. lanceolata K72
    |--L. parviflora HU08
    `--L. speciosa P88
  Palaeolythrum bournense Chandler 1960 CBH93
  Verrutricolporites rotundiporis CBH93
  Nesaea LK14
    |--N. arnhemica LK14
    |--N. brevipes PP07
    |--N. crinipes LK14
    |--N. luederitzii CV06
    |    |--N. l. var. luederitzii CV06
    |    `--N. l. var. hereroensis CV06
    |--N. muelleri LK14
    |--N. repens LK14
    `--N. striatiflora LK14

*Type species of generic name indicated


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[JD05] Junge, F. W., M. Dolezych, H. Walther, T. Böttger, A. Kühl, L. Kunzmann, P. Morgenstern, T. Steinberg & R. Stange. 2005. Ein Fenster in Landschaft und Vegetation vor 37 Millionen Jahren: Lithologische, sedimentgeochemische und paläobotanische Befunde aus einem Paläoflusssystem des Weißelsterbeckens. Mauritiana 19 (2): 185–273.

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[LO98] Lack, H. W., & H. Ohba. 1998. Die Xylothek des Chikusai Kato. Willdenowia 28: 263–276.

[LK14] Lyons, M. N., G. J. Keighery, L. A. Gibson & T. Handasyde. 2014. Flora and vegetation communities of selected islands off the Kimberley coast of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 81: 205–244.

[MB93] Malecki, R. A., B. Blossey, S. D. Hight, D. Schroeder, L. T. Kok & J. R. Coulson. 1993. Biological control of purple loosestrife. BioScience 43 (10): 680–686.

[M86] Masters, G. 1886. Notes and exhibits. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (1): 164.

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[P03] Paul, T. K. 2003. Botanical observations on the Purulia pumped storage hydropower project area, Bagmundi Hills, Purulia district, West Bengal. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 45: 121–142.

[PRB73] Plitmann, U., P. H. Raven & D. E. Breedlove. 1973. The systematics of Lopezieae (Onagraceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 60 (2): 478–563.

[P88] Polunin, I. 1988. Plants and Flowers of Malaysia. Times Editions: Singapore.

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[T00] Thorne, R. F. 2000. The classification and geography of the flowering plants: dicotyledons of the class Angiospermae (subclasses Magnoliidae, Ranunculidae, Caryophyllidae, Dilleniidae, Rosidae, Asteridae, and Lamiidae). The Botanical Review 66: 441–647.

[WM09] Wang, H., M. J. Moore, P. S. Soltis, C. D. Bell, S. F. Brockington, R. Alexandre, C. C. Davis, M. Latvis, S. R. Manchester & D. E. Soltis. 2009. Rosid radiation and the rapid rise of angiosperm-dominated forests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 106 (10): 3853–3858.

[YY22] Yampolsky, C., & H. Yampolsky. 1922. Distribution of sex forms in the phanerogamic flora. Bibliotheca Genetica 3: 1–62.

Last updated: 19 March 2022.

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