Lacistemataceae Plant Family Lacistemataceae Holistic Database logo Copyright F E Young 2008 Species 2000 University of Reading Wokingham District Veteran Tree Association Herbarium RNG, University of Reading, U.K. Neotropical Plant Families Database

Lacistemataceae family overview
Common name: Waits numi family


Two genera: Lacistema and Lozania of 11 and 5 species respectively (see species menu for more information).

The current family tree (Author: Dr Mac Alford) is based on Chirtoiu (1918) and Sleumer (1980) is located at Tree of Life web project . I hope to be updating this tree in the future as a result of my research.

Family name: Is it Lacistemaceae or Lacistemataceae?

Current Classification

Domain: Eukarya; Kingdom: Viridophyta; Phylum: Magnoliophyta; Eudicots; Core Eudicots; Rosids; Eurosids I; Order: Malpighiales; Family: Lacistemataceae (APG II 2003)

The changing Order of Lacistemataceae

Order               Author (date) and publication
Ranales           Bessey C E (1915) The phylogenetic taxonomy of flowering plants
Piperales         Hutchinson J (1926) The families of Flowering Plants I. Dicotyledons
Cistales           Gunderson A (1950) Family of dicotyledons
Cistales           Takhtajan A (1959) Die evolution der angiospermen
Violales           Melchior H (1964) Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien
Violales           Cronquist A (1968) The evolution and classification of flowering plants
Violales           Dahlgren R M (1975) A system of classification of angiosperms to be used
                          to demonstrate the distribution of characters
Malpighiales   APG II (2003) An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification
                          for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II
Malpighiales   Brummitt R K (2007) in Heywood V H, Brummitt R K, Culham A & Seberg O
                           Flowering plant families of the world

But why does Lacistemataceae keep shifting orders?

Confusion has arisen from similarities of morphology especially the "catkin-like" arrangement of inflorescence. However, the problem of shifting orders has been "solved" due to DNA sequence analysis completed by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG).

However, it has been brought to my attention (many thanks to Ken Kinman via the Taxacom discussion board) that APG has lumped various previously separate orders into the superorder Malpighiales. APG molecular research is still ongoing within this superorder to sort out the polyphyletic mess.

Typical morphology

Habit: Evergreen trees and shrubs;
Height: up to 20 metres;
Trunk: tree diameter approximately 30 cm;
Bark: light brown;
Twigs: grey in colour, vertical striations;


Buds: equitant;
Leaves: alternate, distichous, petiolate, mainly elliptical in shape, brochidodromus venation;
Stipules: deciduous;

Inflorescence and fruit

Inflorescence: emergent from leaf axils. Single or multiple. Catkin-like (Lacistema) or spiciform raceme (Lozania);
Flower: insignificant (circa 1 mm), green to white coloured, bisexual. Sessile (Lacistema) or pedicel (Lozania) on the peduncle;
Sepals: (1-)2-6
Petals: 0;
Ovary: superior sitting within disc, parietal placentation;
Stigma: 2 or 3
Stamen: one thick forked with connective between the two anthers;
Fruit: red-maroon-brown, orange in colour, fleshy coat (aril or sarcotesta?). When dried split into three valves;
Seed: 1-3, white


Caribbean Islands, the Americas from Mexico across Mesoamerica into South America excluding Chile and the majority of Argentina.
Absent from: Antigua & Barbuda (Pratt 2009)

Distribution map. Please note that this is a work in progress.
The map shows 1431 georeferenced herbarium specimen records (as of 10 February 2010) so it may take a while to upload!
There are another 2103 records on LHD to be added and a further 1000 records to be added to LHD, so watch this space!

Please note that this map is more complete than Lacistemataceae map available from GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility) as it includes records from Brazilian herbaria whereas the GBIF map does not.


Mountain, dry and moist forests; wet lowland forests; Cerrado (grassland);
Primary and secondary forests;
Forest canopy strata: C/D vegetation layers.

Seed dispersalists

Birds, monkeys


2n = circa 62 [Morawetz 1981]