Moraceae is a family of flowering plants commonly known as the mulberry or fig family. It comprises about 40 genera and over 1000 species of plants widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, less common in temperate climates. The only synapomorphy within Moraceae is presence of lactifers and milky sap in all parenchymatous tissues, but generally useful field characters include 2 carpels sometimes with 1 reduced, compound inconspicuous flowers, and compound fruits. Included are well-known plants such as the fig, banyan, breadfruit, mulberry, and osage-orange. The 'flowers' of Moraceae are often pseudanthia (reduced inflorescences).


Formerly positioned within the now defunct order Urticales, recent genetic studies have resulted in its placement within Rosales in a clade called the urticalean rosids that also includes Ulmaceae, Celtidaceae, Cannabaceae and Urticaceae. Cecropia, which were variously placed in the Moraceae, the Urticaceae, or an own family Cecropicaceae, have turned out to belong in the Urticaceae.

Moraceae includes 5 tribes: Artocarpeae, Moreae, Dorstenieae, Ficeae, and Castilleae. With the exception of Moreae, which is large, morphologically diverse, and has a wide geographic distribution, these tribes are monophyletic. Based on molecular analyses of the phylogeny of these tribes, Moraceae is thought to have diverged 73-110 mya (unit). Results from molecular analyses of Moraceae phylogeny have also suggested that contrary to the conventional principle that dioecy evolves from monoecy, dioecy was the primitive state in Moraceae and monoecy evolved within in it up to four times.Genera

  • Ficus - Fig trees, Banyans
  • Helianthostylis
  • Helicostylis
  • Hullettia
  • Maclura - Osage-orange
  • Maquira
  • Mesogyne
  • Metatrophis
  • Milicia
  • Morus - Mulberry
  • Naucleopsis
  • Olmedia
  • Olmediopsis
  • Parartocarpus
  • Perebia
  • Poulsenia
  • Prainea
  • Pseudolmedia
  • Scyphosyce
  • Sorocea
  • Sparattosyce
  • Streblus
  • Treculia
  • Trilepisium
  • Trophis
  • Trymatococcus
  • Utsetela
  • References

    • (2008): Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach. Sinauer Associates, Inc. Sunderland, MA.
    • (2002): Urticalean rosids: Circumscription, rosid ancestry, and phylogenetics based on rbcL, trnL-F, and ndhF sequences. American Journal of Botany 89(9): 1531-1536. PDF full text
    • (2005): Biogroegraphy and divergence times in the mulberry family (Moraceae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37(2): 402-416. doi|10.1016/j.ympev.2005.07.004 PDF full text
    • (2004): On the origin of the fig:Phylogenetic relationships of Moraceae from ndhF sequences. American Journal of Botany 91(5): 767-777. PDF full text

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