The Adoxaceae are a small family of flowering plants in the order Dipsacales, as now constituted comprising five genera and about 150-200 species. They are characterised by opposite toothed leaves, small five- or, more rarely, four-petalled flowers in cymose inflorescences, and the fruit being a drupe. They are thus similar to many Cornaceae.
In older classifications, this entire family was part of Caprifoliaceae (the honeysuckle family). Adoxa moschatellina (Moschatel) was the first plant to be moved to this new group. Much later, the genera Sambucus (elders) and Viburnum were added after careful morphological analysis of biochemical tests by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. An additional monotypic genus Sinadoxa has been added based on molecular comparison with Adoxa.
Adoxa is a small perennial herbaceous plant, flowering early in the spring and dying down to ground level in summer immediately after the berries are mature; the leaves are compound.
The elders are mostly shrubs, but two species are large herbaceous plants; all have compound leaves. The viburnums are all shrubs, with simple leaves.
Viburnum davidii foliage and fruit
Sambucus racemosa flowers
Sambucus nigra flowers
Sambucus canadensis foliage and fruit
- 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.
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