Cornaceae is a cosmopolitan family of flowering plants in the order Cornales. It contains approximately 85 species in two genera, Alangium and Cornus. They are mostly trees and shrubs, which may be deciduous or evergreen, although a few species are perennial herbs. Members of the family usually have opposite or alternate simple leaves, four- or five-parted flowers clustered in inflorescences or pseudanthia, and drupaceous fruits. In northern temperate areas, Cornaceae are well known from the dogwoods Cornus.
The systematics of Cornaceae has been remarkably unsettled and controversial, and many genera have been added to it and removed from it over time. (One researcher called it a "dustbin.") Molecular phylogenetics have clarified the relatedness of some associated genera, and at least nine genera that were previously included in Cornaceae have been eliminated from the order Cornales entirely, but the circumscription of Cornaceae is still unclear. The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group usually defines Cornaceae as comprising the genera Cornus and Alangium as well as five genera now separated into the family Nyssaceae. However, many of these genera are sometimes split off into their own families (e.g. Alangiaceae), and the usage remains inconsistent.
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- 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 2013-06-26.
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