Diapensiaceae – Wikipedia

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Family of flowering plants

Diapensiaceae is a small family of flowering plants, which includes 15 species in 6 genera.[2] The genera include Berneuxia Decne. (1 species),[3]Diapensia L. (5 species),[4]Galax Sims (1 species),[3]Pyxidanthera Michx. (2 species),[5]Shortia Torr. & A.Gray (4 species),[6] and Schizocodon Siebold & Zucc. (2 species).[6] Members of this family have little economic importance; however, some members are cultivated by florists.[7]


Past literature classified Diapensiaceae as an old family, without defining the meaning of old.[8] The name Diapensia was given to Diapensia lapponica by Linnaeus. Previously, it was the Greek name of sanicle.[9][10] The family, originally including only Diapensia lapponica, was named by Heinrich Friedrich Link in 1829.[11] Concerning the interrelationships in Diapensiaceae, debate still remains regarding the recognition of Schizocodon and whether it should be separate from Shortia. However, recent molecular studies support the split of the two genera.[6] Additionally, recognition of species within the genera has been debated. Within the genus Pyxidanthera, two species have previously been recognized. Recent morphology and molecular work found that the two species do not differ morphologically, gene flow exists between them, and the taxa are not monophyletic.[12][13]

Over time, various relationships among Diapensiaceae and other angiosperm families have been proposed. Previously, it was placed within the order Rosales,[14] as well as in the Cornales.[15] Diapensiaceae was also placed in an order of its own in the Cronquist system and by Takhtajan.[16] Recent studies have placed Diapensiaceae as part of the Ericales clade, belonging to the “styracoids” (Diapensiaceae, Styracaceae, Symplocaceae).[17] It is estimated that Diapensiaceae diverged from Sytracaceae about 93 million years ago.[18] The family is thought to have originated in the Northern Hemisphere.[19]


Family Diapensiaceae members are mostly found in North America and Eastern Asia.[7]


Members of Diapensiaceae are mostly herbs or shrublets. Flowers have radial symmetry, are hypogynous, and have most parts arranged in whorls of 5. The ovary is made of three fused carpels. They have both ectotrophic and endotrophic mycorrhiza associations.[3]

Diapensiaceae genera[5]
Genera Life form Leaf shape Inflorescence characters
Berneuxia Perennial herb linear and petiolate Distinct scape
Diapensia Cushion-like shrublet linear and lanceolate to oblanceolate and sessile Solitary
Galax Perennial herb reniform to orbicular and petiolate Raceme
Pyxidanthera Cushion-like shrublet linear and lanceolate to oblanceolate and sessile Solitary
Shortia/Schizocodon Perennial herb reniform to orbicular and petiolate Solitary or raceme


  1. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). “An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III”. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x.
  2. ^ Stevens, P. F. “Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14, July 2017”. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Rönblom, K.; Anderberg, A. A. (2002). “Phylogeny of Diapensiaceae based on molecular data and morphology”. Systematic Botany. 27 (2): 383–395. doi:10.1043/0363-6445-27.2.383 (inactive 31 December 2022). JSTOR 3093878.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of December 2022 (link)
  4. ^ Hou, Yan; Nowak, Michael D.; Mirré, Virginia; Bjorå, Charlotte S.; Brochmann, Christian; Popp, Magnus (2015). “Thousands of RAD-seq Loci Fully Resolve the Phylogeny of the Highly Disjunct Arctic-Alpine Genus Diapensia (Diapensiaceae)”. PLOS ONE. 10 (10): e0140175. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1040175H. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140175. PMC 4598014. PMID 26448557.
  5. ^ a b Wells, B. W. (1929). “A new pyxie from North Carolina”. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society. 44 (2): 238–239.
  6. ^ a b c Higashi, Hiroyuki; Ikeda, Hajime; Setoguchi, Hiroaki (2015). “Molecular phylogeny of Shortia sensu lato (Diapensiaceae) based on multiple nuclear sequences”. Plant Systematics and Evolution. 301 (2): 523–529. doi:10.1007/s00606-014-1088-7. S2CID 18161027.
  7. ^ a b Scott, P. J. (2004). “Diapensiaceae”. Flowering Plants Dicotyledons Part of the Families and Genera of Vascular Plants Book Series (Families Genera. 6): 117–121.
  8. ^ Baldwin Jr., J. T. (1939). “Chromosomes of the Diapensiaceae: a cytological approach to a phylogenetic problem”. Journal of Heredity. 30 (4): 169–171. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.jhered.a104709.
  9. ^ Smith, A. W. (January 1997). A Gardener’s Handbook of Plant Names: Their Meanings and Origins. Dover Publications. ISBN 0486297152.
  10. ^ Sweet, Robert (6 January 2018). The British Flower Garden, (series the Second) (3 ed.). Forgotten Books. ISBN 978-0428437602.
  11. ^ Link, Heinrich Friedrich; Willdenow, Karl Ludwig (1829–1833). Handbuch zur Erkennung der nutzbarsten und am häufigsten vorkommenden Gewächse. Vol. 2. Berlin: Spenerschen Buchhandlung. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.129754. hdl:2027/hvd.32044107267049.
  12. ^ Wall, W. A.; Douglas, N. A.; Xiang, Q. Y.; Hoffmann, W. A.; Wentworth, T. R.; Hoffmann, M. G. (2010). “Evidence for range stasis during the latter Pleistocene for the Atlantic Coastal Plain endemic genus, Pyxidanthera Michaux”. Molecular Ecology. 19 (19): 4302–4314. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294x.2010.04793.x. PMID 20819166. S2CID 5983059.
  13. ^ Gaynor, Michelle L.; Fu, Chao-Nan; Gao, Lian-Ming; Lu, Li-Min; Soltis, Douglas E.; Soltis, Pamela S. (2020). “Biogeography and ecological niche evolution in Diapensiaceae inferred from phylogenetic analysis”. Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 58 (5): 646–662. doi:10.1111/jse.12646. ISSN 1759-6831. S2CID 219919838.
  14. ^ Thorne, R. F. (1983). “Proposed new realignments in the angiosperms”. Nordic Journal of Botany. 3 (1): 85–117. doi:10.1111/j.1756-1051.1983.tb01447.x.
  15. ^ Dahlgren, R. (1983). “General aspects of angiosperm evolution and macrosystematics”. Nordic Journal of Botany. 3: 119–149. doi:10.1111/j.1756-1051.1983.tb01448.x.
  16. ^ Takhtajan, A. L. (1997). Diversity and classification of flowering plants. New York: Columbia University Press.
  17. ^ Schönenberger, J; Anderberg, A. A.; Sytsma, K. J. (2005). “Molecular phylogenetics and patterns of floral evolution in the Ericales”. International Journal of Plant Sciences. 166 (2): 265–288. doi:10.1086/427198. S2CID 35461118.
  18. ^ Rose, J. P.; Kleist, T. J.; Löfstrand, S. D.; Drew, B. T.; Schönenberger, J.; Sytsma, K. J. (2018). “Phylogeny, historical biogeography, and diversification of angiosperm order Ericales suggest ancient Neotropical and East Asian connections”. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 122: 59–79. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2018.01.014. PMID 29410353.
  19. ^ Hou, Y.; Bjorå, C. S.; Ikeda, H.; Brochmann, C.; Popp, M. (2016). “rom the north into the Himalayan–Hengduan Mountains: fossil‐calibrated phylogenetic and biogeographical inference in the arctic‐alpine genus Diapensia (Diapensiaceae)”. Journal of Biogeography. 43 (8): 1502–1513. doi:10.1111/jbi.12715. S2CID 88118650.
  20. ^ Palser, Barbara F. (1963). “Studies of Floral Morphology in the Ericales VI. The Diapensiaceae”. Botanical Gazette. 124 (3): 200–219. doi:10.1086/336193. S2CID 84273962.