The goal of this website is to provide a centralized clearinghouse for information about the Melastomataceae. Included herein are pages providing images, descriptions of various taxonomic groups, current research around the world, bibliographic references, phylogenetics, melastomatologists, and other topics.
With about 170 genera and more than 5000 species, the Melastomataceae are among the ten largest families of flowering plants. They are liberally distributed throughout tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. Most species are instantly recognizable as melastomes by the acrodromous (“checkerboard”) venation, but identification of the genera and species is notoriously more difficult.
The Melastomataceae are particularly notable for their diversity of hair types and modifications of the androecium (stamens). In many regions, the family comprises a large percentage of the flora and has considerable ecological importance. Despite being a very conspicuous component of most wet tropical ecosystems, their patterns of explosive evolution, intriguing biogeography, plant-animal associations, and natural history, the Melastomataceae remain, to a large degree, an understudied family.