Poales

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Poales is a large order of flowering plants in the monocotyledons, and includes families of plants such as the grasses, bromeliads, and sedges. Sixteen plant families are currently recognized by botanists to be part of Poales.

Recent studies (e.g., Bremer, 2000) place the origin of the Poales in South America nearly 115 million years ago. The earliest known fossils include pollen and fruits that have been dated to the late Cretaceous. The flowers are typically small, enclosed by bracts, and arranged in an inflorescence (except in the genus Mayaca, with solitary terminal flowers). The flowers of many species are wind pollinated; the seeds usually contain starch.

The APG II system (2003) accepts the order and places it in a clade called commelinids, in the monocots. It uses this circumscription:

The earlier APG system (1998) adopted the same placement, although it used the spelling "commelinoids", and used the following circumscription (i.e., it did not include the plants in families Abolbodaceae, Bromeliaceae and Mayacaceae in the order):

  • order Poales
    family Anarthriaceae
    family Centrolepidaceae
    family Cyperaceae
    family Ecdeiocoleaceae
    family Eriocaulaceae
    family Flagellariaceae
    family Hydatellaceae
    family Joinvilleaceae
    family Juncaceae
    family Poaceae
    family Prioniaceae
    family Restionaceae
    family Sparganiaceae
    family Thurniaceae
    family Typhaceae
    family Xyridaceae

The morphology-based Cronquist system did not include an order named Poales, assigning these families to the orders Bromeliales, Cyperales, Hydatellales, Juncales, Restionales and Typhales.

In early systems an order including the grass family did not go by the name Poales but by a descriptive botanical name such as Graminales in the Engler system (update of 1964) and in the Hutchinson system (first edition, first volume, 1926), Glumiflorae in the Wettstein system (last revised 1935) or Glumaceae in the Bentham & Hooker system (third volume, 1883).

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