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Tilia cordata

Tiliaceae ( /ˌtɪliˈsii/ ) is a family of flowering plants. It is not a part of the APG, APG II and APG III classifications, being sunk in Malvaceae mostly as the subfamilies Tilioideae, Brownlowioideae and Grewioideae, but has an extensive historical record of use.


All through its existence the family has had a very lively history, with various authors taking very different views on what should be part of this family. As a result, it is recommended when this name is encountered to check what the author means.

However, in the northern temperate regions the name is unambiguous as the only representative is Tilia , the lime or linden.

APG II system

The APG II system, does not recognise this as a family but submerges it in the Malvaceae sensu lato, which unites the four families Bombacaceae, Malvaceae sensu stricto, Sterculiaceae and Tiliaceae. Modern botanical taxonomy, such as the relevant volume in the Kubitzki series which conforms to APG, treats most of the plants that traditionally constitute the family (see above) in the subfamilies Tilioideae, Brownlowioideae, and Grewioideae within this extended family Malvaceae sensu lato. Cladistically, the traditional family Tiliaceae is polyphyletic.

de Candolle system

In the de Candolle system the circumscription of the family was:

According to APG II system, the current placement of these genera is mostly in the Malvaceae sensu lato, but with Gyrostemon moved to family Gyrostemonaceae, Muntingia to family Muntingiaceae, Sloanea to family Elaeocarpaceae, Vatica to family Dipterocarpaceae and Wikstroemia to family Thymelaeaceae (possibly reduced to a synonym of Daphne ). The genus Abatia is assigned to the family Salicaceae sensu lato.

Bentham & Hooker system

The family reached perhaps its widest circumscription in the Bentham & Hooker system:

According to APG II system, the current placement of these genera is perhaps mostly in the Malvaceae sensu lato, but with Muntingia moved to family Muntingiaceae, while tribes VI and VII form the core of family Elaeocarpaceae and tribe V has been moved to the family Salicaceae sensu lato.

The Hutchinson system follows the Bentham & Hooker system rather closely.

Cronquist system

In the Cronquist system (1981) the family includes some fifty genera, totalling around seven hundred species of trees and shrubs, rarely herbs, with a subcosmopolitan distribution. It may be separated from Malvaceae sensu stricto by the smooth surface of the pollen grains, bilocular anthers, and the stamens free or in bundles (but not monadelphous)

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