Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 25, 2008

From: Philadelphia, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Nomenclatural puzzles
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants. I have been looking all day for this information. I am look for a plant that is in the genus Cucumis but not in the family Cucurbitacea. A plant that is in the family Cucurbitacea but not in the order Violales. And a plant that is in the order Violales but not in the subclass Dilleniidae. And a plant that is in the subclass Dilleniidae but not in the class Magnoliopsida. Please Help!!!! Thank you.

ANSWER:

In part, you may to be searching for an answer that doesn't exist.  Although, the heart of your question seems to be getting at the difficulty - and ongoing confusion - created by the various plant naming systems devised over the past 200 years or so.  Insofar as that is the case, we may be able to shed some light on the various parts of your specific question. 

In every classification scheme we know of, the genus Cucumis is placed in the family Cucurbitaceae.  Therefore, if a species is in that genus, it is also in the same family. Because the classification system is hierarchical, any given genus must belong to a single family. In other words the genus, Cucumis, cannot not be assigned to multiple families. It is possible that a species formerly classified in the genus Cucumis is now placed in a different genus outside of Cucurbitaceae but we do not know what it might be.

As for the higher classifications, various taxonomists have devised different classification schemes that often reassign families to different orders.  In the APG (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group) classification system, for example,, the order Violales does not even exist and the family, Cucurbitaceae is placed in order Cucurbitales.

In an older classification system known as the Bentham and Hooker System (named for its authors, George Bentham and Sir Joseph D. Hooker), Cucurbitaceae was placed in the Passiflorales, while placing Violarieae (an older spelling of Violaceae) in order Parietales.

In yet another system of classification, The Reveal System (named for it's author Dr. James Reveal), Dilleniidae is a subclass of the class Rosopsida, while in several other systems it is placed in the class Magnoliopsida.  Some classification system, such as APG, do not recognized classification levels above order.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Identification of a plant saprophytic on oaks
October 04, 2012 - What is name of plant poking up through the leaves near base of oak tree that appears as a cluster of yellow-brown stalks that resemble small pinecones or pineapples or cobs of corn?
view the full question and answer

Smoketree not flowering in Beverly Hills CA
June 29, 2011 - Why is my Smoke tree not flowering? It is big and the leaves are beautiful but no blooms.
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
April 25, 2009 - What is: square stalk perennial with bright yellow flowers at the top (mainly)? Starts growing first thing in spring, invades surrounding areas, puts out long serrated leaves along the 7-8 ft stalks....
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Beaumont TX
August 13, 2010 - I live in Beaumont Texas and have some trees on the land I hunt that look like a yaupon but put on a small blue berry that the deer devour in December. I have looked and searched the Internet but hav...
view the full question and answer

How to distinguish Malvaviscus arboreus from M. a. var. drummondii?
May 28, 2010 - I have a Turk's Cap plant. How do I tell if it is Malvaviscus arboreus or Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.