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Vitis vinifera, wine grapes
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Vitales
Family: Vitaceae
Juss., nom. cons.

The Vitaceae are a family of dicotyledonous flowering plants, including the grapevine and Virginia creeper. The family name is derived from the genus Vitis. The name sometimes appears as Vitidaceae, but Vitaceae is a conserved name and therefore has priority over both Vitidaceae and another name sometimes found in the older literature, Ampelidaceae.

The relationships of Vitaceae are unclear and the family does not appear to have any close relatives. In the Cronquist system, the family was placed near the family Rhamnaceae in order Rhamnales. The family was placed in the rosid clade, but not classified in an order, by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG). APG III (2009) places Vitaceae in its own order, Vitales. Phylogenetic analyses support Vitaceae as the sister-group to all other rosids (Jansen et al. 2006).

Most Vitis species have 38 chromosomes (n=19), but 40 (n=20) in subgenus Muscadinia, while Ampelocissus, Parthenocissus, and Ampelopsis also have 40 chromosomes (n=20) and Cissus has 24 chromosomes (n=12).

The family is economically important as the berries of Vitis species, commonly known as grapes, are an important fruit crop and, when fermented, produce wine.

Species of the genus Tetrastigma serve as hosts to parasitic plants in the family Rafflesiaceae.

Leea, sometimes classified in its own family, Leeaceae, is included in Vitaceae by the APG and the Angiosperm Phylogeny Web.

Earliest fossil history[edit]

Well preserved-fruits of Indovitis chitaleyae containing seeds with similar morphology to the Vitaceae have been recovered from Late Cretaceous Deccan intertrappean beads of several sites in central India. These fruits and their dispersed seeds found in the same sediments, about 66 million years old, represent the oldest known fossils of the grape family. The fossil fruits containing 4 to 6 seeds are very similar to extant Vitis.[1]

References and external links[edit]

  1. ^ Oldest Fruits of the Grape Family (Vitaceae) from the Late Cretaceous Deccan Cherts of India, Steven R. Manchester, Dashrath K. Kapgate and Jun Ven. American Journal of Botany 100(9): 1849-1859. 2013.