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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Monocots
Cladus: Commelinids
Ordo: Poales
Familiae: BromeliaceaeCyperaceaeEcdeiocoleaceaeEriocaulaceaeFlagellariaceaeJoinvilleaceaeJuncaceaeMayacaceaePoaceaeRapateaceaeRestionaceaeThurniaceaeTyphaceaeXyridaceae

Note: Hydatellaceae were previously recognized in Poales but are now included in Nymphaeales.

Poales Small Fl. S.E. U.S. 48. (1903)

Typus: Poa L. Sp. Pl. 1: 67. (1753)


Avenales Bromhead (1838)
Bromeliales Dumort. (1829)
Centrolepidales R.Dahlgren ex Takht. (1997)
Cyperales Wettst. (1911)
Eriocaulales Nakai (1930)
Flagellariales Reveal & Doweld, Novon 9: 550. (1999)
Juncales Dumort. (1829)
Mayacales Nakai (1943)
Rapateales Reveal & Doweld, Novon 9: 551. (1999)
Restionales Hook.f. (1873)
Typhales Dumort. (1829)
Xyridales Lindl. (1846)


Small, J.K. 1903. Flora of the Southeastern United States, page 48.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group 1998. An ordinal classification for the families of flowering plants. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 85 (4): 531–553. pdf file
Reveal, J.L. & Doweld, A.B. 1999. Validation of some suprageneric names in Magnoliophyta. Novon 9(4): 549–553. BHL Reference page.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. 2003. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 141(4): 399–436. DOI: 10.1046/j.1095-8339.2003.t01-1-00158.x Open access Reference page.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. 2009. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161(2): 105–121. DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x Open access Reference page.
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. 2016. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 181(1): 1–20. DOI: 10.1111/boj.12385 Reference page.
Givnish, T.J., Ames, M., McNeal, J.R., McKain, M.R., Steele, P.R., dePamphilis, C.W., et al. 2010. Assembling the tree of the monocotyledons: plastome sequence phylogeny and evolution of Poales 1. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 97(4), 584-616. DOI: 10.3417/2010023 Full text PDF
International Plant Names Index. 2013. Poales. Published online. Accessed: 16 Sept. 2013.
Jones, T. 2014: Why is the lawn buzzing? Biodiversity data journal 2: e1101. DOI: 10.3897/BDJ.2.e1101 Reference page.
Stevens, P.F. 2001 onwards. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14, July 2017 [and more or less continuously updated since]. Online. Reference page.
Trias-Blasi, A., Baker, W.J., Haigh, A.L., Simpson, D.A., Weber, O. & Wilkin, P. 2015. A genus-level phylogenetic linear sequence of monocots. Taxon 64(3): 552-581. DOI: 10.12705/643.9. PDF available online from ResearchGate Reference page. Excludes Poaceae 2013. Poales. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2013 Sept. 16.

Vernacular names
العربية: قبئيات
azərbaycanca: Qırtıcçiçəklilər
башҡортса: Ҡыяҡлылар
беларуская: Метлюжкакветныя
català: Poal
Cebuano: Tanom nga balili
čeština: lipnicotvaré
dansk: Græs-ordenen
Deutsch: Süßgrasartige
Ελληνικά: Ποώδη
eesti: Kõrreliselaadsed
فارسی: گندم‌سانان
עברית: דגנאים
hrvatski: Travolike
magyar: Perjevirágúak
íslenska: Grasbálkur
日本語: イネ目
한국어: 벼목
kurdî: Koma genim û kurtîjan
lietuvių: Migliečiai
македонски: Тревовидни
polski: Wiechlinowce
русский: Злакоцветные
slovenčina: lipnicotvaré
svenska: Gräsordningen
ไทย: อันดับหญ้า
українська: Тонконогоцвіті
Tiếng Việt: Bộ Hòa thảo
中文: 禾本目

The Poales are a large order of flowering plants in the monocotyledons, and includes families of plants such as the grasses, bromeliads, and sedges. Sixteen plant families are currently recognized by botanists to be part of Poales.

Billbergia pyramidalis of family Bromeliaceae

The flowers are typically small, enclosed by bracts, and arranged in inflorescences (except in three species of the genus Mayaca, which possess very reduced, one-flowered inflorescences). The flowers of many species are wind pollinated; the seeds usually contain starch.

The APG III system (2009) accepts the order within a monocot clade called commelinids, and accepts the following 16 families:[1]

Restionaceae (including Centrolepidaceae)

The earlier APG system (1998) adopted the same placement of the order, although it used the spelling "commelinoids". It did not include the Bromeliaceae and Mayaceae, but had the additional families Prioniaceae (now included in Thurniaceae), Sparganiaceae (now in Typhaceae), and Hydatellaceae (now transferred out of the monocots; recently discovered to be an 'early-diverging' lineage of flowering plants).

The morphology-based Cronquist system did not include an order named Poales, assigning these families to the orders Bromeliales, Cyperales, Hydatellales, Juncales, Restionales and Typhales.

In early systems, an order including the grass family did not go by the name Poales but by a descriptive botanical name such as Graminales in the Engler system (update of 1964) and in the Hutchinson system (first edition, first volume, 1926), Glumiflorae in the Wettstein system (last revised 1935) or Glumaceae in the Bentham & Hooker system (third volume, 1883).
Evolution and phylogeny

The earliest fossils attributed to the Poales date to the late Cretaceous period about 66 million years ago, though some studies (e.g., Bremer, 2002) suggest the origin of the group may extend to nearly 115 million years ago, likely in South America. The earliest known fossils include pollen and fruits.

The phylogenetic position of Poales within the commelinids was difficult to resolve, but an analysis using complete chloroplast DNA found support for Poales as sister group of Commelinales plus Zingiberales.[2] Major lineages within the Poales have been referred to as bromeliad, cyperid, xyrid, graminid, and restiid clades. A phylogenetic analysis resolved most relationships within the order but found weak support for the monophyly of the cyperid clade.[3] The relationship between Centrolepidaceae and Restoniaceae within the restiid clade remains unclear; the first may actually be embedded in the latter.[3][4]



Bromeliad clade



Cyperid clade






Xyrid clade



Graminid clade





Restiid clade





The four most species-rich families in the order are:

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

Diversity of Poales
Typha inflorescence

Typha latifolia, Typhaceae
Carex demissa inflorescence

Carex demissa, Cyperaceae
Xyris deplanata flower

Xyris complanata, Xyridaceae
Elegia capensis stand

Elegia capensis, Restionaceae
Unripe millet panicles

Foxtail millet, Poaceae

Historic taxonomy
Cyperus javanicus

Cyperales was a name for an order of flowering plants. As used in the Engler system (update, of 1964) and in the Wettstein system it consisted of only the single family. In the Cronquist system it is used for an order (placed in subclass Commelinidae) and circumscribed as (1981):[5]

order Cyperales

family Cyperaceae
family Poaceae (or Gramineae)

The APG system now assigns the plants involved to the order Poales.
Eriocaulon decangulare

Eriocaulales is a botanical name for an order of flowering plants. The name was published by Takenoshin Nakai. In the Cronquist system the name was used for an order placed in the subclass Commelinidae. The order consisted of one family only (1981):

order Eriocaulales
family Eriocaulaceae

The APG IV system now assigns these plants to the order Poales.


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 the starch staples barley, maize, millet, rice, and wheat as well as bamboos (mostly used structurally, like wood, but somewhat as vegetables), and a few "seasonings" like sugarcane and lemongrass. Graminoids, especially the grasses, are typically dominant in open (low moisture but not yet arid, or also fire climax) habitats like prairie/steppe and savannah and thus form a large proportion of the forage of grazing livestock. Possibly due to pastoral nostalgia or simply a desire for open areas for play, they dominate most Western yards as lawns, which consume vast sums of money in upkeep (artificial grazing—mowing—for aesthetics and to keep the allergenic flowers suppressed, irrigation, and fertilizer). Many Bromeliaceae are used as ornamental plants (and one, the pineapple, is internationally grown in the tropics for fruit). Many wetland species of sedges, rushes, grasses, and cattails are important habitat plants for waterfowl, are used in weaving chair seats, and (especially cattails) were important pre-agricultural food sources for man. Two sedges, chufa (Cyperus esculentus, also a significant weed) and water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) are still at least locally important wetland starchy root crops.

Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2009). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG III". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 161 (2): 105–121. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2009.00996.x.
Barrett, Craig F.; Baker, William J.; Comer, Jason R.; Conran, John G.; Lahmeyer, Sean C.; Leebens-Mack, James H.; Li, Jeff; Lim, Gwynne S.; Mayfield-Jones, Dustin R.; Perez, Leticia; Medina, Jesus; Pires, J. Chris; Santos, Cristian; Wm. Stevenson, Dennis; Zomlefer, Wendy B.; Davis, Jerrold I. (2015). "Plastid genomes reveal support for deep phylogenetic relationships and extensive rate variation among palms and other commelinid monocots". New Phytologist. 209 (2): 855–870. doi:10.1111/nph.13617. ISSN 0028-646X. PMID 26350789.
Bouchenak-Khelladi, Yanis; Muasya, A. Muthama; Linder, H. Peter (2014). "A revised evolutionary history of Poales: origins and diversification". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 175 (1): 4–16. doi:10.1111/boj.12160. ISSN 0024-4074. open access
Briggs, Barbara G.; Marchant, Adam D.; Perkins, Andrew J. (2014). "Phylogeny of the restiid clade (Poales) and implications for the classification of Anarthriaceae, Centrolepidaceae and Australian Restionaceae". Taxon. 63 (1): 24–46. doi:10.12705/631.1. ISSN 0040-0262.

D.J. Mabberley. 2000. The Plant-Book, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 858 p. [H. Pfefferkorn/H. Pfefferkorn/H. Pfefferkorn]


Bremer, K (2002). "Gondwanan Evolution of the Grass Alliance of Families (Poales)". Evolution. 56 (7): 1374–1387. doi:10.1111/j.0014-3820.2002.tb01451.x. PMID 12206239.
Judd, W. S., C. S. Campbell, E. A. Kellogg, P. F. Stevens, M. J. Donoghue (2002). Plant Systematics: A Phylogenetic Approach, 2nd edition. pp. 276–292 (Poales). Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, Massachusetts. ISBN 0-87893-403-0 .
Linder, H. Peter; Rudall, Paula J. (2005). "Evolutionary History of the Poales". Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. 36: 107–124. doi:10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.36.102403.135635.
Small, J. K. (1903). Flora of the Southeastern United States, 48. New York, United States

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