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Research Group Caryophyllales

The Caryophyllales comprise a natural group of ca. 12,000 species of flowering plants in more than 30 families, including the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae), the cacti (Cactaceae) and the Amaranth family (Amaranthaceae). Many of these species are endangered (e.g. in the Cactaceae). The order is of great scientific interest because it shows multiple evolution of many interesting traits (adaptations to extreme habitats such as xeric conditions, salinity, or nitrogen-poor soils; betalains replacing anthocyanin; succulence; C4 photosynthesis; etc.). The group also is important in economic terms; many species are vegetables (e.g., spinach, sugar beet, buckwheat and quinoa), ornamentals (e.g., carnation pinks and cacti) or noxious weeds (e.g., Japanese knotweed).

The BGBM has an active group in Caryophyllales research, whose studies, most of them focused on molecular systematics, have increased the current knowledge about the general relationships among and within the families and its classification, but also the knowledge about its evolution and biogeography. Together with partners around the world, the BGBM is forming a research network, aiming at a global synthesis of species diversity in the Caryophyllales.