(incl. Sambucus, Viburnum)

As a result of recent molecular phylogenetic research the familial circumscription of Adoxaceae has considerably changed. As currently accepted it includes Sambucus and Viburnum (Mabberley 2008, APGIII 2009); both were formerly included in Caprifoliaceae or Sambucaceae as a family of its own (see Bolli 1994). This taxonomic viewpoint was recently followed, for instance, by van der Meijden (2005) but remarkably neglected – without obvious reason – by Stace (2010 a,b).

1       Delicate herbaceous perennial, up to 15 cm tall. Leaves once to 3-ternate. Stamens 4-5, all divided nearly to base (and thus appearing 8-10 in number) (native) === Adoxa

         Woody or herbaceous, shrub- or tree-like perennials, much taller. Leaves simple or pinnate, never ternate. Stamens 5, all undivided === 2

2       Leaves pinnate === Sambucus

         Leaves simple (but sometimes deeply lobed) === Viburnum


APG III (2009) An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants. APG III. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 161(2): 105-121. [available online at:]

Bolli R. (1994) Revision of the genus Sambucus. Diss. Bot. 223: 1-227.

Mabberley D.J. (2008) Mabberley’s plant-book (3th ed.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: XVIII + 1021 p.

Stace C. (2010a) New flora of the British Isles, 3th ed.: XXXII + 1232 p. Cambridge University Press.

Stace C.A. (2010b) Classification by molecules: What’s in it for field botanists ? Watsonia 28(2): 103-122. [available online at:]

Van der Meijden R. (2005) Heukels’ Flora van Nederland (23e druk). Wolters-Noordhoff, Groningen: 685 p.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith