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Temporal range: Cretaceous - recent
Euphorbia heterophylla (Painted Euphorbia) in Hyderabad, AP W IMG 9720.jpg
Euphorbia heterophylla
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Superrosids
Orders [1]

The rosids are members of a large clade (monophyletic group) of flowering plants, containing about 70,000 species, [2] more than a quarter of all angiosperms. [3]

Clade A group of organisms that consists of a common ancestor and all its lineal descendants

A clade, also known as monophyletic group, is a group of organisms that consists of a common ancestor and all its lineal descendants, and represents a single "branch" on the "tree of life".

Monophyly Property of a group of including all taxa descendant from a common ancestral species

In cladistics, a monophyletic group, or clade, is a group of organisms that consists of all the descendants of a common ancestor. Monophyletic groups are typically characterised by shared derived characteristics (synapomorphies), which distinguish organisms in the clade from other organisms. The arrangement of the members of a monophyletic group is called a monophyly.

Flowering plant Class of flowering plants (in APG I-III)

The flowering plants, also known as angiosperms, Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants, with 64 orders, 416 families, approximately 13,000 known genera and 300,000 known species. Like gymnosperms, angiosperms are seed-producing plants. However, they are distinguished from gymnosperms by characteristics including flowers, endosperm within the seeds, and the production of fruits that contain the seeds. Etymologically, angiosperm means a plant that produces seeds within an enclosure; in other words, a fruiting plant. The term comes from the Greek words angeion and sperma ("seed").


The clade is divided into 16 to 20 orders, depending upon circumscription and classification. These orders, in turn, together comprise about 140 families. [4]

In biological classification, the order is

  1. a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms and recognized by the nomenclature codes. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family. An immediately higher rank, superorder, may be added directly above order, while suborder would be a lower rank.
  2. a taxonomic unit, a taxon, in that rank. In that case the plural is orders.

In biological taxonomy, circumscription is the definition of a taxon, that is, a group of organisms.

Family is one of the eight major hierarchical taxonomic ranks in Linnaean taxonomy; it is classified between order and genus. A family may be divided into subfamilies, which are intermediate ranks between the ranks of family and genus. The official family names are Latin in origin; however, popular names are often used: for example, walnut trees and hickory trees belong to the family Juglandaceae, but that family is commonly referred to as being the "walnut family".

Fossil rosids are known from the Cretaceous period. Molecular clock estimates indicate that the rosids originated in the Aptian or Albian stages of the Cretaceous, between 125 and 99.6 million years ago. [5] [6]

The Cretaceous is a geologic period and system that spans 79 million years from the end of the Jurassic Period 145 million years ago (mya) to the beginning of the Paleogene Period 66 mya. It is the last period of the Mesozoic Era, and the longest period of the Phanerozoic Eon. The Cretaceous Period is usually abbreviated K, for its German translation Kreide.

Molecular clock technique to deduce the time in prehistory when two or more life forms diverged

The molecular clock is figurative term for a technique that uses the mutation rate of biomolecules to deduce the time in prehistory when two or more life forms diverged. The biomolecular data used for such calculations are usually nucleotide sequences for DNA or amino acid sequences for proteins. The benchmarks for determining the mutation rate are often fossil or archaeological dates. The molecular clock was first tested in 1962 on the hemoglobin protein variants of various animals, and is commonly used in molecular evolution to estimate times of speciation or radiation. It is sometimes called a gene clock or an evolutionary clock.

The Aptian is an age in the geologic timescale or a stage in the stratigraphic column. It is a subdivision of the Early or Lower Cretaceous epoch or series and encompasses the time from 125.0 ± 1.0 Ma to 113.0 ± 1.0 Ma, approximately. The Aptian succeeds the Barremian and precedes the Albian, all part of the Lower/Early Cretaceous.


The name is based upon the name "Rosidae", which had usually been understood to be a subclass. In 1967, Armen Takhtajan showed that the correct basis for the name "Rosidae" is a description of a group of plants published in 1830 by Friedrich Gottlieb Bartling. [7] The clade was later renamed "Rosidae" and has been variously delimited by different authors. The name "rosids" is informal and not assumed to have any particular taxonomic rank like the names authorized by the ICBN. The rosids are monophyletic based upon evidence found by molecular phylogenetic analysis.

Under the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN), Rosidae is a botanical name at the rank of subclass. Circumscription of the subclass will vary with the taxonomic system being used; the only requirement being that it includes the family Rosaceae.

Armen Takhtajan Soviet-Armenian botanist

Armen Leonovich Takhtajan or Takhtajian, was a Soviet-Armenian botanist, one of the most important figures in 20th century plant evolution and systematics and biogeography. His other interests included morphology of flowering plants, paleobotany, and the flora of the Caucasus. He was born in Shusha. He was one of the most influential taxonomists of the latter twentieth century.

Taxon Group of one or more populations of an organism or organisms which have distinguishing characteristics in common

In biology, a taxon is a group of one or more populations of an organism or organisms seen by taxonomists to form a unit. Although neither is required, a taxon is usually known by a particular name and given a particular ranking, especially if and when it is accepted or becomes established. It is not uncommon, however, for taxonomists to remain at odds over what belongs to a taxon and the criteria used for inclusion. If a taxon is given a formal scientific name, its use is then governed by one of the nomenclature codes specifying which scientific name is correct for a particular grouping.

Three different definitions of the rosids were used. Some authors included the orders Saxifragales and Vitales in the rosids. [8] Others excluded both of these orders. [9] The circumscription used in this article is that of the APG IV classification, which includes Vitales, but excludes Saxifragales.

Saxifragales order of plants

The Saxifragales are an order of flowering plants. Their closest relatives are a large eudicot group known as the rosids by the definition of rosids given in the APG II classification system. Some authors define the rosids more widely, including Saxifragales as their most basal group. Saxifragales is one of the eight groups that compose the core eudicots. The others are Gunnerales, Dilleniaceae, Rosids, Santalales, Berberidopsidales, Caryophyllales, and Asterids.


The rosids and Saxifragales form the superrosids clade. [2] [9] This is one of three groups that compose the Pentapetalae (core eudicots minus Gunnerales), [10] the others being Dilleniales and the superasterids (Berberidopsidales, Caryophyllales, Santalales, and asterids). [9]

Gunnerales order of plants

The Gunnerales are an order of flowering plants. In the APG III system (2009) and APG IV system (2016) it contains two genera: Gunnera and Myrothamnus. In the Cronquist system (1981), the Gunneraceae were in the Haloragales and Myrothamnaceae in the Hamamelidales. DNA analysis was definitive, but the grouping of the two families was a surprise, given their very dissimilar morphologies. In Cronquist's old system, and Takhtajan's (1997), the Gunneraceae were in the Rosidae, and the Myrothamnaceae were in the Hamamelids. In modern classification systems such as APG III and APG IV this order was the first to derive from the core eudicots.

Dilleniales order of plants

The Dilleniales are an order of flowering plants, potentially containing one family, Dilleniaceae. The APG III system of 2009, like the earlier APG II system of 2003, left the Dilleniaceae unplaced as to order, while noting that the name Dilleniales was available. Stevens at the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website has subsequently placed Dilleniaceae in the order Dilleniales.

Superasterids clade of plants

The superasterids are members of a large clade of flowering plants, containing more than 122,000 species.


The rosids consist of two groups: the order Vitales and the eurosids (true rosids). The eurosids, in turn, are divided into two groups: fabids (Fabidae, eurosids I) and malvids (Malvidae, eurosids II). [9]


The rosids consist of 17 orders. In addition to Vitales, there are 8 orders in fabids and 8 orders in malvids. Some of the orders have only recently been recognized. [9] These are Vitales, [11] Zygophyllales, [12] Crossosomatales, [13] Picramniales, [14] and Huerteales. [15]


The phylogeny of Rosids shown below is adapted from the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group website. [9]




COM clade 




nitrogen‑fixing clade 














The nitrogen-fixing clade contains a high number of actinorhizal plants (which have root nodules containing nitrogen fixing bacteria, helping the plant grow in poor soils). Not all plants in this clade are actinorhizal, however. [16]

Related Research Articles

Malpighiales order of plants

The Malpighiales comprise one of the largest orders of flowering plants, containing about 16,000 species, about 7.8% of the eudicots. The order is very diverse, containing plants as different as the willow, violet, poinsettia, and coca plant, and are hard to recognize except with molecular phylogenetic evidence. It is not part of any of the classification systems based only on plant morphology. Molecular clock calculations estimate the origin of stem group Malpighiales at around 100 million years ago (Mya) and the origin of crown group Malpighiales at about 90 Mya.

Rosales order of plants

Rosales is an order of flowering plants. It is sister to a clade consisting of Fagales and Cucurbitales. It contains about 7700 species, distributed into about 260 genera. Rosales comprise nine families, the type family being the rose family, Rosaceae. The largest of these families are Rosaceae (90/2500) and Urticaceae (54/2600). The order Rosales is divided into three clades that have never been assigned a taxonomic rank. The basal clade consists of the family Rosaceae; another clade consists of four families, including Rhamnaceae; and the third clade consists of the four urticalean families.

Hamamelidales is an order of flowering plants formerly accepted in a number of systems of plant taxonomy, including the Cronquist system published in 1968 and 1988. The order is not currently accepted in the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III system of plant taxonomy, the most widely accepted system as molecular systematic studies have suggested that these families are not closely related to each other. The APG II system (2003) assigns them to several different orders: Hamamelidaceae and Cercidiphyllaceae to Saxifragales, Eupteleaceae to Ranunculales, Platanaceae to Proteales, and Myrothamnaceae to Gunnerales. Additional studies of the chloroplast genome have since confirmed that the families moved into the Saxigragales are closely related.

Proteales Order of plants

Proteales is the botanical name of an order of flowering plants consisting of two families. The Proteales have been recognized by almost all taxonomists.

Celastrales order of plants

The Celastrales are an order of flowering plants found throughout the tropics and subtropics, with only a few species extending far into the temperate regions. The 1200 to 1350 species are in about 100 genera. All but seven of these genera are in the large family Celastraceae. Until recently, the composition of the order and its division into families varied greatly from one author to another.

Crossosomatales order of plants

The Crossosomatales are an order, first recognized as such by APG II. They are flowering plants included within the Rosid eudicots.

Eudicots Clade of flowering plants

The eudicots, Eudicotidae or eudicotyledons are a clade of flowering plants that had been called tricolpates or non-magnoliid dicots by previous authors. The botanical terms were introduced in 1991 by evolutionary botanist James A. Doyle and paleobotanist Carol L. Hotton to emphasize the later evolutionary divergence of tricolpate dicots from earlier, less specialized, dicots. The close relationships among flowering plants with tricolpate pollen grains was initially seen in morphological studies of shared derived characters. These plants have a distinct trait in their pollen grains of exhibiting three colpi or grooves paralleling the polar axis. Later molecular evidence confirmed the genetic basis for the evolutionary relationships among flowering plants with tricolpate pollen grains and dicotyledonous traits. The term means "true dicotyledons", as it contains the majority of plants that have been considered dicots and have characteristics of the dicots. The term "eudicots" has subsequently been widely adopted in botany to refer to one of the two largest clades of angiosperms, monocots being the other. The remaining angiosperms include magnoliids and what are sometimes referred to as basal angiosperms or paleodicots, but these terms have not been widely or consistently adopted, as they do not refer to a monophyletic group.

The APG II system of plant classification is the second, now obsolete, version of a modern, mostly molecular-based, system of plant taxonomy that was published in April 2003 by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. It was a revision of the first APG system, published in 1998, and was superseded in 2009 by a further revision, the APG III system.

Commelinids important clade of plants (In APG II and III)

In plant taxonomy, commelinids is a name used by the APG IV system for a clade within the monocots, which in its turn is a clade within the angiosperms. The commelinids are the only clade that the APG has informally named within the monocots. The remaining monocots are a paraphyletic unit. Also known as the commelinid monocots it forms one of three groupings within the monocots, and the final branch, the other two groups being the alismatid monocots and the lilioid monocots.

Huerteales order of plants

Huerteales is the botanical name for an order of flowering plants. It is one of the 17 orders that make up the large eudicot group known as the rosids in the APG III system of plant classification. Within the rosids, it is one of the orders in Malvidae, a group formerly known as eurosids II and now known informally as the malvids. This is true whether Malvidae is circumscribed broadly to include eight orders as in APG III, or more narrowly to include only four orders. Huerteales consists of four small families, Petenaeaceae, Gerrardinaceae, Tapisciaceae, and Dipentodontaceae.

<i>Aphloia</i> genus of plants

Aphloia is a genus of flowering plants that contains a single species, Aphloia theiformis, the sole species of the monogeneric family Aphloiaceae. It is a species of evergreen shrubs or small trees occurring in East Africa, Madagascar, the Mascarene Islands and the Seychelles.

<i>Geissoloma</i> species of plant

Geissoloma is a genus of flowering plants in the monotypic family Geissolomataceae, native to the Cape Province of South Africa. The plants are xerophytic evergreen shrubs and are known to accumulate aluminum.

Mesangiospermae clade of plants

Mesangiospermae is a group of flowering plants (angiosperms), informally called "mesangiosperms". They are one of two main clades of angiosperms. It is a name created under the rules of the PhyloCode system of phylogenetic nomenclature. There are about 350,000 species of mesangiosperms. The mesangiosperms contain about 99.95% of the flowering plants, assuming that there are about 175 species not in this group and about 350,000 that are. While such a clade with a similar circumscription exists in the APG III system, it was not given a name.

The APG III system of flowering plant classification is the third version of a modern, mostly molecular-based, system of plant taxonomy being developed by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG). Published in 2009, it was superseded in 2016 by a further revision, the APG IV system.

Tanakaea radicans, the Japanese foam flower, is a member of the Saxifrage family native to Japan, and is the sole species in the genus Tanakaea. It is named after the Japanese botanist Tanaka Yoshio. It was initially described by Ludovic Savatier and Adrien René Franchet.

Superrosids clade of plants

The superrosids are members of a large clade of flowering plants, containing more than 88,000 species, more than a quarter of all angiosperms.


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