The Polygonaceae are a family of flowering plants known informally as the knotweed family or smartweed—buckwheat family in the United States. The name is based on the genus Polygonum, and was first used by Antoine Laurent de Jussieu in 1789 in his book, Genera Plantarum. The name refers to the many swollen nodes the stems of some species have. It is derived from Greek; poly means many and goni means knee or joint.
The Polygonaceae comprise about 1200 species distributed into about 48 genera. The largest genera are Eriogonum (240 species), Rumex (200 species), Coccoloba (120 species), Persicaria (100 species) and Calligonum (80 species). The family is present worldwide, but is most diverse in the North Temperate Zone.
Several species are cultivated as ornamentals. A few species of Triplaris provide lumber. The fruit of the sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera) is eaten, and in Florida, jelly is made from it and sold commercially. The seeds of two species of Fagopyrum, known as buckwheat (sarrasin in French), provide grain (its dark flour is known as blé noir (black wheat) in France). The petioles of rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum and hybrids) are a food item. The leaves of the common sorrel (Rumex acetosa) are eaten in salads or as a leaf vegetable.
Polygonaceae are very well-defined and have long been universally recognized. In the APG III system, the family is placed in the order Caryophyllales. Within the order, it lies outside of the large clade known as the core Caryophyllales. It is sister to the family Plumbaginaceae, which it does not resemble morphologically.
The last comprehensive revision of the family was published in 1993 by John Brandbyge as part of The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. Brandbyge followed earlier systems of plant classification in dividing Polygonaceae into two subfamilies, Eriogonoideae and Polygonoideae. Since 1993, the circumscriptions of these two subfamilies have been changed in light of phylogenetic studies of DNA sequences. Genera related to Coccoloba and Triplaris were moved from Polygonoideae to Eriogonoideae. The genus Symmeria does not belong to either of these subfamilies because it is sister to the rest of the family. Afrobrunnichia might constitute a new subfamily as well.
Brandbyge wrote descriptions for 43 genera of Polygonaceae in 1993. Since then, a few more genera have been erected, and some segregates of Brunnichia, Eriogonum, and Persicaria have been given generic status in major works. Some of the genera are not monophyletic and their limits will eventually be revised. These include Ruprechtia, Eriogonum, Chorizanthe, Persicaria, Aconogonon, Polygonum, Fallopia, and Muehlenbeckia.
Most Polygonaceae are perennial herbaceous plants with swollen nodes, but trees, shrubs and vines are also present. The leaves of Polygonaceae are simple, and arranged alternately on the stems. Each leaf has a peculiar pair of fused, sheathing stipules known as an ochrea. Those species that do not have the nodal ocrea can be identified by their possession of involucrate flower heads. The flowers are normally bisexual, small, and actinomorphic, with a perianth of three to six sepals. After flowering, the sepals often become thickened and enlarged around the developing fruit. Flowers lack a corolla and in some, the sepals are petal-like and colorful. The androecium is composed of three to eight stamens that are normally free or united at the base. The ovary consists of three united carpels that form a single locule, which produces only one ovule. The ovary is superior with basal or free-central placentation. The gynoecium terminates in 1 to 3 styles, each of which ends in a single stigma.
In the list below, the first three columns are the 43 genera described by Brandbyge in The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants. The fourth column is an incomplete list of genera that have been recognized in recent works.
- 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
- Antoine Laurent de Jussieu. 1789. Genera plantarum: secundum ordines naturales disposita, juxta methodum in Horto regio parisiensi exaratam. page 82. Herrisant and Barrois: Paris, France. (see External links below)
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- John Brandbyge. 1993. "Polygonaceae". pages 531-544. In: Klaus Kubitzki (editor); Jens G. Rohwer, and Volker Bittrich (volume editors). The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants volume II. Springer-Verlag: Berlin; Heidelberg, Germany ISBN 978-3-540-55509-4 (Berlin) ISBN 978-0-387-55509-6 (New York)
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- Brockington, Samuel F.; Alexandre, Roolse; Ramdial, Jeremy; Moore, Michael J.; Crawley, Sunny; Dhingra, Amit; Hilu, Khidir; Soltis, Douglas E.; Soltis, Pamela S. (2009). "Phylogeny of the Caryophyllales sensu lato: Revisiting hypotheses on pollination biology and perianth differentiation in the core Caryophyllales". International Journal of Plant Sciences. 170 (5): 627–643. doi:10.1086/597785.
- Peter F. Stevens. 2001 onwards. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website At: Missouri Botanical Garden Website. (see External links below).
- Sanchez, Adriana; Schuster, Tanja M.; Kron, Kathleen A. (2009). "A large-scale phylogeny of Polygonaceae based on molecular data". International Journal of Plant Sciences. 170 (8): 1044–1055. doi:10.1086/605121.
- Burke, Janelle M.; Sanchez, Adriana; Kron, Kathleen; Luckow, Melissa (2010). "Placing the woody tropical genera of Polygonaceae: A hypothesis of character evolution and phylogeny". American Journal of Botany. 97 (8): 1377–1390. doi:10.3732/ajb.1000022.
- Sanchez, Adriana; Kron, Kathleen A. (2009). "Phylogenetic relationships of Afrobrunnichia Hutch. & Dalziel (Polygonaceae) based on three chloroplast genes and ITS". Taxon. 58 (3): 781–792.
- Anjen Li, Bojian Bao, Alisa E. Grabovskaya-Borodina, Suk-pyo Hong, John McNeill, Sergei L. Mosyakin, Hideaki Ohba, and Chong-wook Park. 2003. "Polygonaceae" pages 277-350. In: Zhengyi Wu, Peter H. Raven, and Deyuan Hong (editors). Flora of China volume 5. Science Press: Beijing, China; Missouri Botanical Garden Press: St. Louis, Missouri, USA.
- Samuel B. Jones and Arlene E. Luchsinger. 1979. Plant systematics. McGraw-Hill series in organismic biology. New York: McGraw-Hill. Page 254. ISBN 0-07-032795-5
- Walter S. Judd, Christopher S. Campbell, Elizabeth A. Kellogg, Peter F. Stevens, and Michael J. Donoghue. 2008. Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach, Third Edition. Sinauer Associates: Sunderland, MA, USA. ISBN 978-0-87893-407-2
- Armen L. Takhtajan (Takhtadzhian). Flowering Plants second edition (2009), pages 155-156. Springer Science+Business Media. ISBN 978-1-4020-9608-2. (see External links below)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Polygonaceae.|
- Polygonaceae In: FNA volume 5 In: Family List In: Flora of North America At: eFloras
- Polygonaceae In: Genera Plantarum (Jussieu) At: Genera Plantarum At: Search At: Botanicus.org
- List of Genera in Polygonaceae At: Polygonaceae At: Caryophyllales At: Angiosperm Phylogeny Website At: Missoure Botanical Garden Website
- List of genera in family Polygonaceae At: Dicotyledons At: List Genera within a Family At: Vascular Plant Families and Genera At: About the Checklist At: World Checklist of Selected Plant Families At: Data Sources At: ePIC At: Scientific Databases At: Kew Gardens
- List of genera At: Polygonaceae At: List of families At: Families and Genera in GRIN At: Queries At: GRIN taxonomy for plants
- non-core Caryophyllales At: Caryophyllales At: Root of the Tree (Life on Earth) At: Tree of Life web project
- Polygonaceae In: Flowering Plants (Takhtajan)
- Polygonaceae in L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz (1992 onwards). The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, information retrieval. http://delta-intkey.com
- Family Polygonaceae Flowers in Israel
- Polygonaceae of Mongolia in FloraGREIF