Kubitzki system

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A system of plant taxonomy, the Kubitzki system is the product of an ongoing survey of vascular plants, entitled The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants.[1]

The survey, in the form of an encyclopedia, is important as a comprehensive, multivolume treatment of the vascular plants, with keys to and descriptions of all families and genera, mostly by specialists in those groups. The Kubitzki system served as the basis for classification in Mabberley's Plant-Book, an influential dictionary of the vascular plants.[2]

Mabberley says on Introduction page xi of the 2008 edition, that the Kubitzki system "has remained the standard to which other literature is compared".

In ordinal and family arrangements, the classification system in the initial angiosperm volumes closely resembles the Dahlgren system in Monocots and the Cronquist system in Dicots, but later volumes have been influenced by recent molecular phylogenetic studies.

The first volume of the series covered lycophytes, monilophytes, and gymnosperms, and was published in 1990. By 2010, there were nine published volumes, covering 39 of the 59 orders of flowering plants that are recognized in the APG III system. The order Saxifragales is covered except for the genus Medusandra, which was transferred to it from Malpighiales in 2009.[3] Volume 10 covers the family Myrtaceae and the orders Cucurbitales and Sapindales.

Because it is the result of a work in progress, the Kubitzki system is incomplete for those groups of plants that have not yet been covered, and groups that have been completely covered are not revised in light of subsequent knowledge. Since the first volume was published in 1990, a great deal has been learned about plant taxonomy, mostly by phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences. The classification of ferns has been completely overhauled in that time.[4][5] And some of the gymnosperm families have been revised.[6][7]

For the flowering plants, the Kubitzki System follows the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, except for the recognition of smaller families. The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group has twice revised its classification system. The APG III system was published in 2009.


In volumes 5,6,7,8 no groups above the taxonomic rank of order were recognized.

In volume 9 the supraordinal groups Rosidae and Asteridae were recognized.

In volume 10 are treated the Orders Sapindales and Cucurbitales; and the Myrtaceae Family (belonging to Myrtales).


  1. ^ Klaus Kubitzki (general editor). 1990 onward. The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants Springer-Verlag: Berlin;Heidelberg, Germany.
  2. ^ David J. Mabberley. 2008. Mabberley's Plant-Book third edition (2008). Cambridge University Press: UK. ISBN 978-0-521-82071-4
  3. ^ Kenneth J. Wurdack and Charles C. Davis. 2009. "Malpighiales phylogenetics: Gaining ground on one of the most recalcitrant clades in the angiosperm tree of life." American Journal of Botany 96(8):1551-1570.
  4. ^ Eric Schuettpelz and Kathleen M. Pryer. 2008. "Fern phylogeny" pages 395-416. In: Tom A. Ranker and Christopher H. Haufler (editors). Biology and Evolution of Ferns and Lycophytes. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-87411-3
  5. ^ Alan R. Smith, Kathleen M. Pryer, Eric Schuettpelz, Petra Korall, Harald Schneider, and Paul G. Wolf. 2006. "A classification for extant ferns". Taxon 55(3):705-731. doi:10.2307/25065646
  6. ^ James E. Eckenwalder. 2009. Conifers of the World. Timber Press: Portland, OR, USA. ISBN 978-0-88192-974-4.
  7. ^ Aljos Farjon. 2008. A Natural History of Conifers. Timber Press: Portland, OR, USA.

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