Passifloraceae, commonly known as the Passionflower Family, is a family of flowering plants belonging to the order Malpighiales. It encompasses a diverse range of plants, including trees, shrubs, and herbaceous or woody vines.
Passifloraceae is predominantly distributed in tropical regions, with most of its members originating from Africa and the Neotropics. The family comprises approximately 27 genera and around 750 species.
One of the most well-known members of Passifloraceae is the passion fruit, which belongs to the genus Passiflora. Passiflora is the largest genus within the family, encompassing almost 525 species. Passionflowers are known for their intricate and often vibrant flowers, as well as their edible fruits.
Passifloraceae has also been referred to by other names or synonyms, including Malesherbiaceae, Modeccaceae, Paropsiaceae, and Turneraceae. These alternative names were previously used to classify certain groups of plants within the family.
Overall, Passifloraceae showcases a remarkable diversity of forms and species, with its members displaying unique and fascinating characteristics. The passion fruit, with its delicious edible fruit, is among the most popular and widely cultivated representatives of this family.
Many of the climber members have tendrils grown from the leaf axils that help them climb. Most Passifloraceae members have simple, alternate, spirally arranged leaves. The flowers are radially symmetrical. They range from bisexual to just male or female. They have about five petals and sepals and stamens. Ovaries and stamens are androgynophores. Most seeds have an aril. The fruits are either capsules or berries.
Some of the Passifloraceae members have medicinal benefits and have been used in traditional medical practices. Some are used for economics such as food:
Passifloraceae subfamilies include:
The genera in the Passifloraceae family include:
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