The Vitaceae are a family of flowering plants, with 14 genera and around 910 known species,[1] including common plants such as grapevines (Vitis spp.) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia). The family name is derived from the genus Vitis.

Vitis vinifera, wine grapes
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Vitales
Juss. ex Bercht. & J.Presl
Family: Vitaceae
Juss., nom. cons.

Most Vitis species have 38 chromosomes (n=19), but 40 (n=20) in subgenus Muscadinia, while Ampelocissus, Parthenocissus, and Ampelopsis also have 40 chromosomes (n=20) and Cissus has 24 chromosomes (n=12).

The family is economically important as the berries of Vitis species, commonly known as grapes, are an important fruit crop and, when fermented, produce wine.

Species of the genus Tetrastigma serve as hosts to parasitic plants in the family Rafflesiaceae.


The name sometimes appears as Vitidaceae, but Vitaceae is a conserved name and therefore has priority over both Vitidaceae and another name sometimes found in the older literature, Ampelidaceae. In the APG III system (2009) onwards, the family is placed in its own order, Vitales. Molecular phylogenetic studies place the Vitales as the most basal clade in the rosids.[2] In the Cronquist system, the family was placed near the family Rhamnaceae in order Rhamnales.

Plants of the World Online currently includes the following genera, placed in two subfamilies:


  • Leea D.Royen: previously placed in its own monotypic family, Leeaceae, was included in Vitaceae by APG IV (2016)[2] and the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website.


Five tribes are now recognised in this subfamily:[3]

Ampelopsis glandulosa var. heterophylla
  1. Ampelopsis A.Rich. ex Michx. (pepper-vines)
  2. Clematicissus Planch.
  3. Nekemias Raf.
  4. Rhoicissus Planch.
Tetrastigma leucostaphylum
  1. Acareosperma Gagnep.
  2. Causonis Raf.
  3. Cayratia Juss.
  4. Cyphostemma (Planch.) Alston
  5. Pseudocayratia J.Wen, L.M.Lu & Z.D.Chen
  6. Tetrastigma (Miq.) Planch.
Cissus nodosa
  1. Cissus L. (treebinds) - widespread in tropics & subtropics
Parthenocissus quinquefolia
  1. Parthenocissus Planch.
  2. Yua C.L.Li
  1. Ampelocissus Planch.
  2. Vitis L. (includes grape vine)
tribe incertae sedis
  1. Pterisanthes Blume (Indochina, Malesia)

Earliest fossil history

Well preserved-fruits of Indovitis chitaleyae containing seeds with similar morphology to the Vitaceae have been recovered from Late Cretaceous Deccan Intertrappean beds of several sites in central India. These fruits and their dispersed seeds found in the same sediments, about 66 million years old, represent the oldest known fossils of the grape family. The fossil fruits containing 4 to 6 seeds are very similar to extant Vitis.[4]


  1. 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.
  2. Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2016). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV" (PDF). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 181 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1111/boj.12385.
  3. Wen J, Lu LM, Nie ZI, Liu XQ, Zhang N, Ickert‐Bond S, Gerrath J, Manchester SR, Boggan J, Chen ZD (2018) A new phylogenetic tribal classification of the grape family (Vitaceae). Journal of Systematics and Evolution 56(4): 262-272.
  4. Manchester, Steven R.; Kapgate, Dashrath K.; Wen, Jun (September 2013). "Oldest fruits of the grape family (Vitaceae) from the Late Cretaceous Deccan cherts of India". Am. J. Bot. 100 (9): 1849–59. doi:10.3732/ajb.1300008. JSTOR 23596215. PMID 24036414..
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