Connaraceae is a pan-tropical plant family of 19[4] genera and more than 180 species[5] of largely evergreen trees, woody shrubs and climbers.

Agelaea lamarckii[1]
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Oxalidales
Family: Connaraceae

The family was first described by Robert Brown in 1816 and the name has been conserved.[2][3]


Connaraceae is a tropical family, the most important genera of which, Connarus (approximately 80 species) and Rourea (40-70 species) have a pan-tropical distribution.[6]:107 Their habitat is generally lowland tropical rain forest and savanna.


Connaraceae are typically evergreen trees, shrubs or climbers. Connarus is represented by species in all three lifeforms,[6] while Rourea species are climbers. Their leaves are pinnate, trifoliate or rarely entire, alternate, without stipules and with a pulvinus at the base of the petiole.

Connarus guianensis is economically important for its decorative wood, zebra wood.[7]


  • Agelaea
  • Burttia
  • Cnestidium
  • Cnestis
  • Connarus
  • Ellipanthus
  • Hemandradenia
  • Jaundea
  • Jollydora
  • Manotes
  • Paxia
  • Pseudoconnarus
  • Rourea
  • Roureopsis
  • Santalodes
  • Santaloides
  • Spiropetalum
  • Taeniochlaena
  • Vismianthus

Fossil record

Fossil leaflet impression described as Rourea miocaudata from India shows close resemblance to leaflets of the extant Rourea caudata, it has been recorded from the lower part of the Siwalik sediments (Dafla Formation, middle–upper Miocene) of Pinjoli area in West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh.[8] Permineralized wood of a stem with the distinctive anatomy of a liana has been described with fossil fruits from a locality in the lower Miocene (19 mya) Cucaracha Formation, where the formation is exposed by the Culebra Cut of the Panama Canal. The anatomy of this fossil wood matches the genus Rourea. Fossil record of Connaraceae is sparse, reliable occurrences indicate that the family originated as early as the late Cretaceous-Paleocene and was widespread by the early Miocene.[9]


  1. illustration circa 1820 from Pierre Jean François Turpin (1775-1840) - Dictionnaire des sciences naturelles. Planches … Botanique classée d’après la méthode naturelle de M. Antoine-Laurent vol. 5 plate 267
  2. "Connaraceae". Australian Plant Name Index, IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
  3. Brown, R. (1818). "Appendix No. V: Observations, systematical and geographical, on Professor Christian Smith's collection of plants from the vicinity of the River Congo". In Tuckey, J.H. (ed.). Narrative of an expedition to explore the river Zaire, usually called the Congo, in South Africa, in 1816. p. 431.
  4. "Connaraceae". The Plant List. Version 1.1. 2013. Retrieved 2016-09-18.
  5. Christenhusz, M. J. M. & Byng, J. W. (2016). "The number of known plants species in the world and its annual increase". Phytotaxa. Magnolia Press. 261 (3): 201–217. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.261.3.1.
  6. Heywood, V.H.; Brummitt, R.K.; Culham, A.; Seberg, O. (2007). Flowering plant families of the world. Firefly Books. ISBN 9781554072064.
  7. "Encyclopedia Britannica: Connaraceae plant family". Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  8. First fossil evidence of Connaraceae R. Br. from Indian Cenozoic and its phytogeographical significance by MAHASIN ALI KHAN and SUBIR BERA - Journal of Earth System Science - July 2016, Volume 125, Issue 5, pp 1079–1087
  9. A liana from the lower Miocene of Panama and the fossil record of Connaraceae by Nathan A Jud and Chris W Nelson - American Journal of Botany 2017 May 12;104(5):685-693.
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