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Riverweed family
Mourera fluviatilis.jpg
Mourera fluviatilis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Podostemaceae
Rich. ex Kunth[1]

About 50; see text

Podostemaceae (riverweed family) is a family in the order Malpighiales. It comprises about 46 genera and ca 300 species[2] of more or less thalloid aquatic herbs.

Flowering riverweed in the Dordogne river

Riverweeds adhere to hard surfaces (generally rock) in rapids and waterfalls of rivers. They are found mostly in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide.[3] Many species are found in a very small geographic area (perhaps even just a single river or waterfall).[4] Riverweeds are submerged when water levels are high, but during the dry season they live a terrestrial existence, flowering at this time. Their root anatomy is specialized for the purpose of clinging to rocks, and in fact details of the root structure are one of the ways of classifying riverweeds.[5]

The Podostemaceae are related to the families Clusiaceae, Hypericaceae (the St. John's wort family, which is sometimes treated as a subfamily of Clusiaceae), and Bonnetiaceae.[6][7] In the classification system of Dahlgren Podostemaceae were placed as a single family in the Podostemales order, which was the only order in the superorder Podostemiflorae (also called Podostemanae).


Moved to other genera[edit]

  • Hydrostachys from Madagascar. This genus seems to have relatively little in common with any other, and no affinity to the Podostemaceae except being aquatic; moved to its own family in the Cornales.

See also[edit]

Eugenius Warming, a botanist who studied the family


  1. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ Christenhusz, M. J. M.; Byng, J. W. (2016). "The number of known plants species in the world and its annual increase". Phytotaxa. Magnolia Press. 261 (3): 201–217. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.261.3.1. 
  3. ^ "Podostemales". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 
  4. ^ "Podostemaceae". Institute of Systematic Botany, University of Zurich. 
  5. ^ Satoshi Koi; Rieko Fujinami; Namiko Kubo; Ikue Tsukamoto; Rie Inagawa; Ryoko Imaichi; Masahiro Kato (2006). "Comparative anatomy of root meristem and root cap in some species of Podostemaceae and the evolution of root dorsiventrality". American Journal of Botany. 93 (5): 682–692. PMID 21642132. doi:10.3732/ajb.93.5.682. 
  6. ^ Gustafsson, Mats H. G. (2002). "Phylogeny of Clusiaceae Based on rbcL sequences". International Journal of Plant Sciences. 163 (6): 1045. JSTOR 3080291. doi:10.1086/342521. 
  7. ^ "Malpighiales". Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. 

External links[edit]

Masahiro Kato, The vague form created by the environment: Podostemaceae, Biohistory Journal, Spring, 2004.