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Tibouchina semidecandra.jpg
Tibouchina semidecandra at Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Melastomataceae

See text.

Characteristic venation of many melastomes

The family Melastomataceae (alternatively Melastomaceae) is a taxon of dicotyledonous flowering plants found mostly in the tropics (two thirds of the genera are from the New World tropics) comprising some 200 genera and 4500 species. Melastomes are annual or perennial herbs, shrubs, or small trees.

The leaves of melastomes are somewhat distinctive, being opposite, decussate, and usually with 3-7 longitudinal veins arising either from the base of the blade, plinerved (inner veins diverging above base of blade), or pinnately nerved with three or more pairs of primary veins diverging from the mid-vein at successive points above the base.

Flowers are perfect, and borne either singly or in terminal or axillary, paniculate cymes.

A number of melastomes are regarded as invasive species once naturalized in tropical and subtropical environments outside their normal range. Examples are Koster's curse (Clidemia hirta), Tibouchina semidecandra and Miconia calvescens, but many other species are involved.

Under the APG III system of classification, the seven genera from Memecylaceae are now included in this family.[1]



Melastomataceae is foraged by many stingless bees, especially by the species Melipona bicolor which gather pollen from this taxon of flowering plant.[2][clarification needed]


  1. ^ a b 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, retrieved 2010-12-10 
  2. ^ Hilário, S. D., and V. L. Imperatriz-Fonseca. "Pollen foraging in colonies of Melipona bicolor (Apidae, Meliponini): effects of season, colony size and queen number." Genetics and Molecular Research 8.2 (2009): 664-671.

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