Mystropetalaceae thumbnail

Mystropetalaceae Hook. f.

Family Description

Distribution Map

List of Genera



  1. Dactylanthus taylori


  1. Hachettea austro-caledonica


How many species in Mystropetalon?  Three species of this South African genus have been named.  The last one, M. sollyi [spelled M. sollyae in IPNI] was named by Harvey-Gibson (1913. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 8:143-154; HERE].  Although his tabular comparison looks convincing as written, Hansen (1986) attempted to use these characters to distinguish the three species with 50 herbarium and FAA-fixed specimens. He found that the features showed great variation, even on one specimen. I am following his concept here that Mystropetalon is monospecific. As far as I know, there has not been a modern examination of these purported species.

  1. Mystropetalon thomii

New Molecular Data: Mystropetalaceae is distinct from Balanophoraceae!

The most comprehensive (in terms of taxon sampling and genes) molecular analysis of Santalales to date was reported in Su et al. (2015) - pdf file HERE.  From previous molecular phylogenetic work in the Nickrent lab, it was known that the three "Gondwanan" genera, Dactylanthus, Hachettea and Mystropetalon formed a clade and the remaining genera formed another clade. When these were analyzed together with all available genera in Santalales, "Balanophoraceae" was not monophyletic. Tests showed that placing these clades together was not statistically supported. You can visit the Balanophoraceae page HERE.


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