Alseuosmiaceae

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Alseuosmiaceae

Distribution

Asia-Tropical:, New Guineapresent East Australia: present New Caledonia: present New Zealand: present
Until recently this small family was only known to occur in New Zealand and New Caledonia, but in 1982 I have shown that it occurs in New Guinea and in 1984 that it is also represented in East Australia.

Taxonomy

Its phytographic history is complicated through the former confusion about the systematic affinity. Wittsteinia was described by F. VON MUELLER (1861) as probably belonging to Ericaceae (or Pyrolaceae). Periomphale was described by BAILLON (1888) and has been affiliated to Caprifoliaceae or Gesneriaceae. In the 'Pflanzenfamilien' it was ranged among incertae sedis (Nachtr., 1897). GILG & SCHLECHTER (1906) described two other genera from New Caledonia which have appeared not to be different from Periomphale.
Recently I could show that Wittsteinia, which was by BURTT (1949) relegated to Epacridaceae, is the oldest name for Periomphale and that, in addition to Alseuosmia from New Zealand, there occurs in Queensland a new, peculiar, third genus, Crispiloba STEEN., of this family. The assemblage of the three genera is now a coherent, typically Australasian one.
In my mind the affinity is with Escalloniaceae cq. Grossulariaceae, and pending further systematic research in that group, we can maintain it as a family of its own, in agreement with CRONQUIST (1981).
I am particularly satisfied that recent anatomical work on the three genera by Dr. W.C. DICKISON, Chapel Hill (in litt.) endorses my opinion.