Juss. ex Bercht. & J.Presl
Gentianales is an order of flowering plants, included within the asterid clade of eudicots. It comprises more than 20,000 species in about 1,200 genera in 5 families. More than 80% of the species in this order belong to the family Rubiaceae.
Many of these flowering plants are used in traditional medicine. They have been used to treat pain, anxiety, cancers and neurological conditions.
- Family Apocynaceae (424 genera)
- Family Gelsemiaceae (2 genera)
- Family Gentianaceae (87 genera)
- Family Loganiaceae (13 genera)
- Family Rubiaceae (611 genera)
This large order has a variety of different plants, ranging from small herbaceous plants and saprophytes to shrubs and large trees. Species are, however, united by their simple and opposite leaves and typically have showy pentamerous flowers (flowers in which components occur in multiples of five) and show nuclear endosperm formation (in which cell division takes place without the cell wall forming between divisions). Many species have structures between the leaf petioles, such as ridges or stipules. Many species also have colleters; thick hair-like structures that secrete mucilage, a thick gluey substance.
Species of this order are found in moist climates around the world. They are most common in tropical regions.
Many gentianales contain toxic compounds and species have a variety of uses. Some species are also grown ornamentally. Well-known members of Gentianales are coffee, frangipani, Gardenia, gentian, oleander, and periwinkle.
Some Gentianales species have been used in traditional medicine in rural southeastern Asia countries. Gelsemium sempervirens has been used in Chinese medicine in conditions such as anxiety, migraines/headaches, and neuralgia. Gelsemium elegans has been used in rheumatoid arthritis pain, neuropathic pain, skin ulcers, and even cancers.
The compounds found in some species are used in the synthesis of modern medicines. Cinchona trees, for example, are a source of quinine, which is used to treat malaria. Vinblastine, which has anti-tumor properties as it disrupts cell division, is used in chemotherapy. It is extracted from the Madagascar periwinkle.
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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". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x.
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