Vitaceae are a family of dicotyledonous flowering plants including the grape and Virginia creeper. The family name comes 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.
|Vitis vinifera, wine grapes|
Juss., nom. cons.
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). The Angiosperm Phylogeny Web places Vitaceae in its own order, Vitales. Recent 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.
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