Taxonomy of Flowering Plants - LECTURE NOTES
Hugh D. Wilson


As defined by Cronquist, the Commelinidae includes seven orders (with 16 families) that are phylogenetically aligned according to pollination system.  The basal or archaic group, the Commelinales, shows floral adaptations associated with entomophily (showy flowers with well developed corolla) whereas the more derived orders are mostly anemophilous.  Thus, the trend or phyletic pattern within this group, as envisioned by Cronquist, is toward floral reduction and other adaptive changes linked to the wind-pollinated reproductive 'syndrome'.   Our coverage of this group includes the base (Commelinales), intermediate types of the Juncales, and advanced elements of the large order (more than 80% of the species in the subclass) Cyperales and the very distinctive Typhales.  More than half of the ca. 15, 000 species of the Commelinidae are included within a single family, the grass family or Poaceae (Gramineae) which, from both economic and ecological points of view, is the most important family of flowering plants, at least from the perspective of mammals and, more specifically, humans. (Eriocaulales, Restionales (images), Hydatellales)

    Poaceae (Gramineae)

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8 Nov 2010