Poales
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Poales
Small
families

See text

Poales is a taxonomic order of flowering plants in the monocotyledons. The order includes families of plants such as the grasses, bromeliads, and sedges.

The earliest fossils attributed to the Poales date to the late Cretaceous period about 66 million years ago, though some suggest the origin of the group may be 115 million years ago in South America. The earliest known fossils include pollen and fruits.

The flowers are typically small, enclosed by bracts, and arranged in inflorescences (except in the genus Mayaca, with solitary terminal flowers). The flowers of many species are wind pollinated; the seeds usually contain starch.

One recent classification lists these families:

  • order Poales
    family Anarthriaceae
    family Bromeliaceae
    family Centrolepidaceae
    family Cyperaceae
    family Ecdeiocoleaceae
    family Eriocaulaceae
    family Flagellariaceae
    family Joinvilleaceae
    family Juncaceae
    family Mayacaceae
    family Poaceae
    family Rapateaceae
    family Restionaceae
    family Thurniaceae
    family Typhaceae
    family Xyridaceae

Uses

The Poales are the most economically important order of monocots and possibly the most important order of plants in general. Within the order, by far the most important family economically is the family of grasses (Poaceae, syn. Gramineae), which includes barley, maize, millet, rice, and wheat. It is also the largest family in the order, far outnumbering the other families:

  • Poaceae: 12,070 species
  • Cyperaceae: 5,500 species
  • Bromeliaceae: 3,170 species
  • Eriocaulaceae: 1,150 species

Images


Poales for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.