Following his collecting trips to New Caledonia in 1979 and 1981, William C. Dickison published a series of papers focused on the anatomy, morphology, and systematic relationships of the monogeneric, endemic families Strasburgeriaceae, Oncothecaceae, and Paracryphiaceae. He and his collaborators concluded that Paracryphia, Oncotheca, and Strasburgeria should each be treated as distinct families positioned near Sphenostemonaceae, Theaceae, and Ochnaceae, respectively. These anatomical data proved to be a valuable source of systematic characters, but the precise phylogenetic positions of these enigmatic families continue to be in doubt. In fact, even the ordinal classification of flowering plants published by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG, 1998) left uncertain the position of two of these three families. More recently, however, phylogenies for eudicots based on multiple-gene data sets firmly place Oncothecaceae within Garryales, a position that has never been suggested previously. In the case of Paracryphiaceae, molecular data support the most often cited, historical placement of the family within Dipsacales. New molecular data presented here support the position of Strasburgeriaceae as sister to Ixerbaceae within Crossosomatales. This is one of several historical placements suggested for the family, but a placement that has not been cited in recent years. A comparison of anatomy/morphology between Strasburgeria and Ixerba is presented in the context of this molecular phylogenetic hypothesis.
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