Order Myrtales / Myrtle Flowers

    Order Myrtales

    Myrtales, the Myrtle order, are trees, shrubs, herbs, and lianas primarily distributed in the tropics and warmer regions worldwide. Myrtales members have phloem tissue on each xylem side, 4 or 5 sepals, 4 or 5 petals, mostly bisexual flowers, and often non-endospermic seeds. Known species of Myrtales are myrtles, evening primroses, Fuschia, and Eucalyptus.

    Myrtales Families

    Evening Primroses

    APG III classification system places Order Myrtales under Eurosids with 9 families, 380 genera, and 13,000 species.

    • Alzateaceae
    • Combretaceae (White mangrove family).
    • Crypteroniaceae
    • Lythraceae (Loosestrife family)
    • Melastomataceae (Melastome family)
    • Myrtaceae (Myrtle family)
    • Onagraceae (Evening Primroses family).
    • Penaeaceae
    • Vochysiaceae

    Myrtales Distribution

    Evening Primroses Flowers

    The species of the order Myrtales are distributed in the tropics and the warmer regions worldwide. In addition, a few species are found in temperate regions.

    • The most numbered families of Myrtales are Melastomataceae (167 genera and 4,079 species[1] ) and Myrtaceae (144 genera and 5,774 species).
    • Melastomataceae is one of the most prominent families of flowering plants and is distributed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world.
    • The plants of Myrtacaea are mostly found in the Southern hemisphere.
    • The evening primrose family, Onagraceae (43 genera and 720 species), has a worldwide distribution.
    • The Combretaceae family (17 genera and 480 species)[2] are most abundant in the tropics and the subtropics.
    • Finally, the Lythraceae family with 31 genera and 604 species has a worldwide distribution.

    Myrtales Characteristics


    • Plant type: Members of the Myrtales are trees, shrubs, herbs, and lianas.
    • Stem: Each side of the xylem vessels has phloem tissue. There is a sievelike appearance in the pits of the vessels. Lignotubers are present in the Myrtaceae. Most of the stems are 4-sided.
    • Leaves: Most members of the Myrtales have opposite, simple, and entire leaves. Some species have alternate and whorled leaves. Most stipules are diminutive.
    • Flowers and Inflorescences: The flowers are mostly bisexual, and the inflorescence is a variable.
    • Sepals and Petals: Most flowers of Myrtales are 4 or 5-merous.
    • Stamens and Carpels: The stamens of the flowers vary in number. But often, they are in two whorls or grouped in bundles. The carpels of the flowers are 2-5.
    • Ovary and Fruit: The ovary is superior or inferior. The fruit is usually a berry or a capsule. Others are in drupe, nut, nutlet, or samara.
    • Seeds: Most seeds are non-endospermic and exalbuminous.

    Myrtales Flowers and Reproduction

    Fuschia Flowers

    Myrtales Family Differences

    Order Myrtales is comprised of 9 families. Therefore, the comparison in this section is just among the 5 families with the most numbered species.

    Pink Eucalyptus Flowers



    • The plants of the Melastomataceae are shrubs, herbs, trees, or lianas.
    • Most of the Melastomataceae have 4-sided stems.
    • Plants have simple, opposite, and rarely whorled leaves. Usually, the leaves are exstipulate.
    • The Melastomataceae flowers are bisexual, and the inflorescence is a cyme.
    • Usually, 4-5 valvate or calyptrate sepals and 4-5 convolute petals. Other species have 3-10 sepals and petals.
    • The biseriate stamens are typically 8 or 10, and the syncarpousWhat is syncarpous?Flowering having united carpels; Contrast apocarpous. gynoecium often has 3-5 carpels.
    • The ovary of the flowers is superior or inferior, and the fruit is a capsule or berry.
    • The seeds of the fruit are exalbuminous.


    • The species of Onagraceae are herbs and rarely trees or shrubs.
    • The leaves of the Onagraceae are alternate or opposite, simple, and exstipulate.
    • The flowers of the evening primroses are bisexual. They are solitary or in a raceme, spike, or panicle.
    • The sepals in the calyx are 4; separate. The petals in the corolla are 4, separate and clawed.
    • The androecium is uniseriate or biseriate, The stamens are 4 or 8. The gynoecium has 4 united carpels.
    • The Onagraceae flower’s ovary is inferior, and the fruit is a capsule. A few have nutlet or berry.
    • The seeds of the fruit are non-endospermic.


    • Members of the Lythraceae family are herbs, shrubs, and trees.
    • The leaves of the Lythraceae plants are usually opposite and rarely whorled or alternate. These leaves are stipulate (with small stipules) or exstipulate. The lamina and the lamina margins are both entire.
    • The flowers are bisexual. The Lythraceae flowers are solitary or aggregated in cymes, panicles, racemes, or verticils.
    • The sepals are 4, 6 or 8. The petals are also the same. Some species lack petals.
    • The stamens of Lythraceae flowers are twice as many as the petals. The carpels are usually 2 to 6.
    • The ovary of most species is positioned superior. The fruit is a capsule or capsular.
    • The seeds of the fruits are non-endospermic. Some genera are winged.


    • Species of Combretaceae are trees, shrubs, and lianas.
    • The leaves of the Combretaceae plants are simple, opposite, alternate, or whorled. The leaf and leaf margins are entire. The stipules are small or absent in some species.
    • The flowers are bisexual or sometimes unisexual. The flowers are in racemes, spikes, or heads.
    • The sepals and the petals are 4-5 in the calyx and the corolla, respectively. Other species lack corolla.
    • The androecium is often 10. Other species have 4-8, 11-100. There are 2-5 carpels in the gynoecium.
    • The ovary is inferior. The fruit is a drupe, capsule, or samara.
    • The seeds of the fruit are endospermic. Therefore, there is only 1 seed per fruit.

    Myrtales Example Species

    Yellow Evening Primroses

    Many plants of the Myrtales are economically and ecologically important. Below are some of the beneficial species under the Myrtales order.

    • Thailand powderpuff[7]: Thailand powderpuff is an ornamental flower with landscaping features. The roots of this species are medicinal.
    • Dactylocladus stenostachys: The tree’s wood is one of the most imported timbers in Borneo.
    • Purple loosestrife: Purple loosestrife is a plant widely used in traditional medicine.
    • Princess flower: The Princess flower is used as an ornamental plant. Also, it has medicinal and pharmaceutical uses.
    • Malabar melastome: The leaves and flowers of the plant have chemical contents and properties for medicinal uses.
    • True myrtle: True myrtle is an ornamental plant. It is also used as spices and culinary herbs. In addition, the plant produces dye and essential oils. The wood of the myrtle is used for timber. Further, the myrtle plant is used in traditional medicine.
    • Small-leaved Fuchsia: The fuchsia is usually used as an ornamental plant. The fruit is edible, raw, or cooked.
    • Dwarf fireweed/River beauty willowherb: The plants’ flowers, roots, shoots, and stems are edible. The entire plant of the River beauty willowherb is used in Tibetan medicine.
    • Evening primrose: The evening primroses are garden plants. They also produce oil and fats. Also, this plant is used in traditional medicine.
    • Southern blue gum: Environmental uses of this plant involve Agroforestry, erosion control, windbreak, and shade and shelter. The leaves of this species are processed to extract Eucalyptus oil. The timber of the Southern blue gum is used in construction. It is also used in making charcoal, fuelwood, furniture, and other wood products. Further, the Southern blue gum is also considered an ornamental plant. It is also used in traditional medicine.

    Cite This Page

    BioExplorer.net. (2023, September 26). Order Myrtales / Myrtle Flowers. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/order-myrtales/.
    BioExplorer.net. "Order Myrtales / Myrtle Flowers" Bio Explorer, 26 September 2023, https://www.bioexplorer.net/order-myrtales/.
    BioExplorer.net. "Order Myrtales / Myrtle Flowers" Bio Explorer, September 26 2023. https://www.bioexplorer.net/order-myrtales/.
    Key References
    • [1]“Melastomataceae – The Plant List”. Accessed May 28, 2022. Link.
    • [2]“Combretaceae – The Plant List”. Accessed May 28, 2022. Link.
    • [3]“Myrtaceae: Characters, Distribution and Types”. Accessed May 28, 2022. Link.
    • [4]“Melastomataceae – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics”. Accessed May 28, 2022. Link.
    • [5]“Melastoma malabathricum – Malabar Melastome”. Accessed May 28, 2022. Link.
    • [6]“Myrtaceae – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics”. Accessed May 28, 2022. Link.
    • [7]“NParks | Combretum constrictum”. Accessed May 28, 2022. Link.


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