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 grapes (Vitis species) 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.
References and external links
- R. K. Jansen, C. Kaittanis, S. B. Lee, C. Saski, J. Tomkins, A. J. Alverson and H. Daniell. 2006. Phylogenetic analyses of Vitis (Vitaceae) based on complete chloroplast genome sequences: effects of taxon sampling and phylogenetic methods on resolving relationships among rosids. BMC Evolutionary Biology 6: 32 [published online, 14 pp.].
- Vitaceae at the Angiosperm Phylogeny Web
- Vitidaceae in L. Watson and M.J. Dallwitz (1992 onwards). The families of flowering plants: descriptions, illustrations, identification, information retrieval. http://delta-intkey.com
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Erect, trailing or climbing perennial herbs, climbing shrubs or small trees, with swollen nodes. Tendrils usually present, leaf-opposed or arising from the peduncle. Stipules present or 0. Leaves alternate, simple or digitately lobed or compound (rarely pedate). Flowers usually bisexual, actinomorphic. Calyx ± entire or 4-6-lobed. Petals 4-6, free. Disk ring-shaped or of separate glands. Ovary superior, 2-locular. Fruit a berry with 1-4 seeds.
Chemical protects from disease: grapes
The chemical defense system of grapes protects from fungi and bacterial threats via the antioxidant trans-resveratrol.
"An antioxidant, trans-resveratrol, found in grapes may hold to the key to keeping produce fresher for longer. Researchers at Complutense University in Madrid have been able to extend the shelf life of apples from two weeks to three months by dipping them in trans-resveratrol. Similar success has been noted with tomatoes, avocados, and green peppers." (Courtesy of the Biomimicry Guild)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
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Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimens with Sequences:740
Specimens with Barcodes:537
Species With Barcodes:119