Classification: Matisieae

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The tribe Matisieae (or Quararibeae) is a group of two or three genera traditionally placed within Bombacaeae, but which molecular data places closer to Malva than to Bombax, and which therefore are placed within subfamily Malvoideae of the angiosperm family Malvaceae sensu APG, rather than in subfamily Bombacoideae. The correct classification of the Malvatheca clade (subfamilies Malvoideae and Bombacoideae) is unclear, and the contents of Malvoideae, defined as all taxa more closely related to Malva than to Bombax, uncertain, but of the taxa currently placed in Malvoideae, Matiseae, or possibly the combination of Pentaplaris and Matiseae, is the sister group to the remainder of the subfamily.

There are about 60 species in total, divided between the genera Phragmotheca, Matisia and Quararibea. All three genera are confined to the neotropics. Matisia and Quararibea are found from southern Mexico to Brasil and Peru, but Phragmotheca occurs no further north than Panama. The division between Matisia and Quararibea is unclear, and the genera have sometimes been combined.

Derived characteristics uniting the Matisieae are oppositifolious (which also occurs in the Lasiopetaleae) or less commonly cauliflorous (which also occurs in Herrania, some species of Theobroma, and a few species of Pavonia) inflorescences, drupaceous fruits (which also occur in Malvaviscus and Anotea), and a tendency to zygomorphous flowers (which also occur in Hibiscadelphus and a few species of Hibiscus), especially in Matisia. Matisia and Quararibea have verticillate branches.

Other characteristic features are the presence of a long staminal tube and the possession of simple ovate or elliptic leaves.

The genera into which the tribe is divided are Phragmotheca, Matisia and Quararibea. The division beween Matisia and Quararibea is unclear, and the genera are sometimes combined.


  1. K. Kubitzki and C. Bayer, The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants, Vol. 5 (2003)

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© 2007 Stewart R. Hinsley