Rafflesiaceae Dumort.

Family Description

Distribution Map

List of Genera


Photographs

Rafflesia

Rhizanthes

Rhizanthes deceptor. The name alludes to Rhizanthes's notoriety in deceiving flies and scientists alike!

Rhizanthes infanticida. Photographs from Bänziger (1995, Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 43: 337-365) and Bänziger and Hansen (2000, Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 48: 117-143) used with permission. The specific name, which means "to kill young children" alludes to the flower's pollination syndrome which leads to the death of the pollinators' brood.

Rhizanthes lowii. Photograph from Bänziger and Hansen (2000, Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 48: 117-143) used with permission.

Sapria

Sapria himalayana forma himalayana. Photographs from Bänziger, Hansen and Kreetiyutanont (2000, Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 48: 213-219) used with permission.

Sapria himalayana forma albovinosa. Photographs from Bänziger, Hansen and Kreetiyutanont (2000, Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 48: 213-219) used with permission.

Sapria poilanei. Photographs from Bänziger and Hansen (1997, Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 45: 149-170) used with permission.

Sapria ram. Photographs from Bänziger and Hansen (1997, Nat. Hist. Bull. Siam Soc. 45: 149-170) used with permission.


Phylogeny

Certainly the most substantial rearrangement of parasitic plants since Kuijt (1969) has involved plants classified in “Rafflesiales” (or Rafflesiaceae  s. lat.). It has long been recognized to contain four different components:
• the “large-flowered clade” (including Rafflesia, Rhizanthes, and Sapria). Rafflesiaceae s. str.
• the “hypogynous” clade with only Mitrastema. Mitrastemonaceae.
• the “inflorescence clade” (composed of Cytinus and Bdallophyton). Cytinaceae.
• the “small-flowered clade” (composed of Apodanthes, Berlinianche, and Pilostyles). Apodanthaceae.

Although these four components were recognized, most treatments, including Kuijt (1969) discussed them together. Indeed they do share several morphological features. But if one were to split them, where among photosynthetic angiosperms would the components be placed? This question could only be solved using molecular methods.

Nickrent et al. (2004 BMC Evol. Biol. pdf HERE) used both nuclear 18S rDNA and mitochondrial matR sequences to address the relationships of above four clades.  The gene trees showed the polyphyletic nature of Rafflesiales.  Rafflesiaceae s. str. came out in Malpighiales, in agreement with Barkman (2004) and later Davis et al. (2007). Cytinus and Bdallophyton were strongly supported as members of Malvales. A later study (Nickrent 2007 Taxon) showed that within the order, Cytinaceae is most closely related to the New World family Muntingiaceae. Mitrastemonaceae emerged as a member of Ericales, also in agreement with the Barkman study. The nuclear and mitochondrial sequence data were ambiguous with regard to the position of Apodanthaceae, with nuclear rDNA data supporting a position with Malvales (contamination) and mitochondrial matR data with Cucurbitales. Additional sequencing and analyses indicated Apodanthaceae was part of Cucurbitales. This result was confirmed by Filipowicz and Renner (2010).

References


SIUC / College of Science / Parasitic Plant Connection / Rafflesiaceae
URL: http://www.parasiticplants.siu.edu/Rafflesiaceae/index.html
Last updated: 03-Apr-11 / dln