Chase, Mark W. Molecular Systematics Section, Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, Surrey, United Kingdom.
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An order of flowering plants composed of seven eumagnoliid families of tropical tree species that are important ecologically; some are shrubs. They include in total about 2500 species. They are most closely related to Magnoliales, from which they differ in their partly inferior ovaries and their biaperturate or inaperturate pollen, and then to Winterales and Piperales. Lauraceae (the laurel or cinnamon family) are the best known and largest, but Monimiaceae and its segregates (Atherospermataceae and Siparunaceae) are also important. Nearly all species have aromatic oils, which are important spices, perfumes, and medicines; their flowers are for the most part small and often arranged in distinct whorls, but some such as those of Calycanthaceae are large and much like those of Magnoliales in that parts are arranged spirally and intergrade.
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