The Caricaceae are a family of flowering plants in the order Brassicales, found primarily in tropical regions of Central and South America and Africa. They are short-lived evergreen pachycaul shrubs or small trees growing to 5–10 m tall. Many bear edible fruit.
Based on molecular analyses, this family has been proposed to have originated in Africa in the early Cenozoic era, ~65 million years ago (mya). The dispersal from Africa to Central America occurred ~35 mya, possibly via ocean currents from the Congo delta. From Central America, the family reached South America 19-27 mya.
The family comprises six genera and about 34-35 species:
- Carica – one species, Carica papaya (Papaya), Americas
- Cylicomorpha – two species, Africa
- Horovitzia – one species, Mexico
- Jacaratia – eight species, Americas
- Jarilla – three species, Americas
- Vasconcellea – twenty species, Americas
- Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x. Retrieved 2013–07–06.
- "A dated phylogeny of the papaya family (Caricaceae) reveals the crop’s closest relatives and the family’s biogeographic history". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 2012.
Carvalho, F., and S. S. Renner. 2012. A dated phylogeny of the papaya family (Caricaceae) reveals the crop’s closest relatives and the family’s biogeographic history. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ympev.2012.05.019
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