Pentaphragmataceae Plant Family

About the Pentaphragmataceae or Phelline Family

Pentaphragmataceae is a family of flowering plants that contains only one genus, Pentaphragma. The family was first described in 1937 by the American botanist Ellsworth Paine Killip. It is a small family with only a few known species, all of which are native to tropical regions. Plants in this family are woody climbers or shrubs and have small, bell- flowers that are usually white or pink. Due to their limited distribution and specific habitat requirements, little is known about the ecology and biology of these plants. However, they are believed to play an important role in their respective ecosystems.

Taxonomy and Classification

Pentaphragmataceae is a family of flowering plants that belongs to the order Ericales. The family contains only one genus, Pentaphragma, which comprises about four species of woody climbers or shrubs.

The scientific classification of Pentaphragmataceae is as follows:

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Clade: Tracheophytes
  • Clade: Angiosperms
  • Clade: Eudicots
  • Clade: Asterids
  • Order: Ericales
  • Family: Pentaphragmataceae
  • Genus: Pentaphragma

There are no subfamilies or major groups within this family. However, Pentaphragmataceae is closely related to several other families within the Ericales order, including Ericaceae, Pyrolaceae, and Monotropaceae.

Morphology and Characteristics

Plants in the family Pentaphragmataceae are woody climbers or shrubs. They have simple leaves that are arranged alternately along the stem. The leaves are typically elliptical or lance- and they may be entire or toothed.

The flowers of Pentaphragmataceae are small and bell- with five petals and sepals. These flowers are usually white or pink and are often produced in clusters at the tips of the branches. The fruit is a dry capsule containing several seeds.

One distinctive characteristic of plants in this family is the presence of glandular hairs on the petals and sepals. These glands produce a sticky substance that may help to attract and trap pollinators, such as flies or bees.

Pentaphragmataceae plants exhibit a range of growth habits, including trailing or climbing vines and erect shrubs. While little is known about their reproductive mechanisms, it is believed that they rely on insects for pollination.

Distribution and Habitat

Pentaphragmataceae is a family of plants that is distributed in tropical regions. The plants are mainly found in Southeast Asia, including parts of Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They are also found in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.

Plants in this family typically grow in moist, shaded areas within forests or along forest edges. While little is known about their specific habitat requirements, they are believed to prefer well- soils that are rich in organic matter.

Due to their limited distribution and habitat requirements, many species in the Pentaphragmataceae family are considered rare or endangered. Habitat loss and fragmentation as a result of deforestation and other human activities pose a significant threat to their survival.

Economic and Ecological Importance

While little is known about the economic or ecological importance of Pentaphragmataceae, these plants are believed to play an important role in their respective ecosystems. They may provide habitat and food sources for a range of insect and animal species.

Some species in this family have been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments. For example, Pentaphragma ellipticum, a species found in Southeast Asia, has been used to treat fever and headaches. However, further research is needed to confirm the efficacy and safety of these remedies.

Due to their limited distribution and specific habitat requirements, many species in the Pentaphragmataceae family are considered rare or endangered. Habitat loss and fragmentation as a result of deforestation and other human activities pose a significant threat to their survival. Conservation efforts are needed to protect these plants and ensure their long- survival.

Notable Species

One notable species in the Pentaphragmataceae family is Pentaphragma stenopterum. This plant is native to the Philippines and is known for its large, showy flowers. The flowers are white or pale pink and can reach up to 10 centimeters in length. They are produced in clusters at the tips of the branches.

Another noteworthy species in this family is Pentaphragma auritum. This plant is found in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and is known for its distinctive leaf shape. The leaves of Pentaphragma auritum are heart- and have a distinct notch at the base. The flowers are small and white, and are produced in clusters at the tips of the branches.

While little is known about the specific uses or cultural significance of these plants, they are believed to have important ecological roles within their respective habitats. Due to habitat loss and other human activities, many species in the Pentaphragmataceae family are considered rare or endangered. Several species are listed as threatened or endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), including Pentaphragma ellipticum, which is listed as vulnerable.