Winteraceae

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Winteraceae
Drimys winteri.jpg
Drimys winteri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Magnoliids
Order: Canellales
Family: Winteraceae
R.Br. ex Lindl.
Genera

The Winteraceae are a family of flowering plants including 120 species of trees and shrubs in nine genera.

The Winteraceae are a mostly Southern Hemisphere family associated with the Antarctic flora, found in tropical to temperate climate regions of Malesia, Oceania, eastern Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar and the Neotropics. Many members of the family are fragrant, and are used to produce essential oils.

Most of the genera are concentrated in Australasia and Malesia. Drimys is found in the Neotropic ecozone, from southern Mexico to the subarctic forests of southern South America. Takhtajania includes a single species, T. perrieri, endemic to Madagascar. The family disappeared from the African fossil record roughly 24 million years ago. The Winteraceae are characteristic of the Antarctic flora, which has its origins in the southern portion of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana, and is generally found in humid temperate and subtropical regions of the Southern Hemisphere, and at higher elevations in the humid tropics.

Drimys winteri (Winter's bark), a slender tree native to the Magellanic and Valdivian temperate rain forests of Chile and Argentina, is grown as a garden plant for its handsome and fragrant mahogany-red bark and bright-green leaves, and its clusters of creamy white, jasmine-scented flowers. Tasmannia lanceolata, known as Tasmanian pepper, is grown as an ornamental shrub, and is increasingly being used as a condiment.

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