||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 groups, current research around the world,
bibliographic references, phylogenetics, melastomatologists, and other
I began this website as a way to organize my doctoral dissertation
research materials, and like a weedy melastome, it has steadily grown
(check out the recently updated images section!). There is, as yet,
no "Melastome Society" for enthusiasts, but given the amount
of traffic this site attracts, perhaps the time has come to initiate
one. Such organizations are of considerable benefit to graduate students
in that, among other activities, they provide a link between those
in the community who enjoy growing plants and those who study and
It is hoped that by creating this site, people conducting research
on this family will be drawn together, potential students will have
a resource easing their entry into investigations, and our overall
knowledge will advance more rapidly.
The Melastomataceae are the seventh largest family 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--identification
of the genera and species is, in some tribes, notoriously more difficult.
The Melastomataceae are particularly notable for their diversity of
hair types and modifications of the androecium (stamens). In many
areas, the family comprises a large percentage of the flora and is
generally of considerable ecological importance. Despite being a very
conspicuous component of most tropical ecosystems, their patterns
of explosive evolution, intriguing biogeography and natural history,
the Melastomataceae remain, to a large degree, an understudied family.