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Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Santalales
Familiae: AptandraceaeBalanophoraceaeCoulaceaeErythropalaceaeLoranthaceaeMisodendraceaeOctoknemaceaeOlacaceaeOpiliaceaeSantalaceaeSchoepfiaceaeStrombosiaceaeXimeniaceae


Santalales R.Br. ex Bercht. & J.Presl Prir. Rostlin 234. (1829)

Typus: Santalum L. Sp. Pl. 1: 349. (1753)



Note: This order has been circumscribed using evidence presented by Nickrent et al. (2010 & 2019), Kuijt (2015) and the APW III website (Stevens et al., 2020). However, APG IV (2016) still prefer to keep a more traditional approach particularly for Olacaceae, whilst more evidence emerges.

Brown, R. 1829. O Prirozenosti Rostlin 234.
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.
Kuijt, J. 2015. Santalales. In K. Kubitzki [ed.], The families and genera of vascular plants, XII Flowering plants: eudicots Santalales, Balanophorales, vol. 12, 1–189. Springer International Publishing, Cham Switzerland. ISBN 3319092960
Nickrent, D.L., Malécot, V., Vidal-Russell, R. & Der, J.P. 2010. A revised classification of Santalales. Taxon 59(2): 538–558. DOI: 10.1002/tax.592019 JSTOR PDF. Reference page.
Nickrent, D.L. 1997-2019. The Parasitic Plant Connection, Department of Plant Biology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Online. Reference page.
Nickrent, D.L., Anderson, F. & Kuijt, J. 2019. Inflorescence evolution in Santalales: integrating morphological characters and molecular phylogenetics. American Journal of Botany 106(3): 402-414. DOI: 10.1002/ajb2.1250 PDF Reference page.
Stevens, P.F. 2001 onwards. Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Version 14, July 2017 [and more or less continuously updated since]. Online. Reference page.
Su, H.J., Hu, J.M., Anderson, F.E., Der, J.P. & Nickrent, D.L. 2015. Phylogenetic relationships of Santalales with insights into the origins of holoparasitic Balanophoraceae. Taxon 64(3): 491-506. DOI: 10.12705/643.2 PDF from ResearchGate Reference page. 2014. Santalales. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2014 Jan. 25.

Vernacular names
العربية: صندليات
azərbaycanca: Səndəlçiçəklilər
català: Santalal
čeština: santálotvaré
dansk: Sandeltræ-ordenen
Deutsch: Sandelholzartige
Esperanto: Santalaloj
فارسی: صندل‌سانان
עברית: סנטלניים
magyar: Szantálfavirágúak
日本語: ビャクダン目
한국어: 단향목
kurdî: Koma sendelan
lietuvių: Santaliečiai
македонски: Сандаловидни
polski: Sandałowce
português: Santalales
русский: Санталоцветные
slovenčina: santalotvaré
svenska: Sandelträdsordningen
ไทย: อันดับย่านตีเมีย
українська: Сандалоцвіті
Tiếng Việt: Bộ Đàn hương
Winaray: Santalales
中文: 檀香目

The Santalales are an order of flowering plants with a cosmopolitan distribution, but heavily concentrated in tropical and subtropical regions. It derives its name from its type genus Santalum (sandalwood). Mistletoe is the common name for a number of parasitic plants within the order.


Many of the members of the order are parasitic plants, mostly hemiparasites, able to produce sugars through photosynthesis, but tapping the stems or roots of other plants to obtain water and minerals; some (e.g. Arceuthobium) are obligate parasites, have low concentrations of chlorophyll within their shoots (1/5 to 1/10 of that found in their host's foliage), and derive the majority of their sustenance from their hosts' vascular tissues (water, micro- and macronutrients, and sucrose).

Most have seeds without testae (seed coats), which is unusual for flowering plants.

The APG IV system of 2016 includes seven families.[2] As in the earlier APG III system, it was accepted that Olacaceae sensu lato was paraphyletic but new family limits were not proposed as relationships were considered uncertain.[3][2] As of July 2021, this seven-family division of the Santalales was explicitly accepted by the World Flora Online,[1] and implicitly by Plants of the World Online, in that it accepted none of the extra families recognized by other sources. The seven families are:


When only these families are recognized, one possible phylogenetic relationship among them is shown below. Support for some of the nodes is weak,[4] and at least two families, Olacaceae s.l. and Balanophoraceae s.l., are not monophyletic:[4][5]


Olacaceae s.l.

Balanophoraceae s.l.





Santalaceae s.l.

A summary of the circumscription and phylogeny of the Santalales published in 2020 used 20 rather than seven families. Olacaceae s.l. was divided into seven families, Balanophoraceae s.l. was divided into two, and Santalaceae s.l. into seven.[5] As of July 2021, the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website accepted the families resulting from the division of Olacaceae s.l. and Balanophoraceae s.l. but not those from the division of Santalaceae s.l.[4]
Division of the sensu lato Santalales families according to Nickrent (2020)[5]

  • Olacaceae s.l.
    • Aptandraceae
    • Coulaceae
    • Erythropalaceae
    • Octoknemaceae
    • Olacaceae s.s.
    • Strombosiaceae
    • Ximeniaceae
  • Balanophoraceae s.l.
    • Balanophoraceae s.s.
    • Mystropetalaceae
  • Santalaceae s.l.
    • Amphorogynaceae
    • Cervantesiaceae
    • Comandraceae
    • Nanodeaceae
    • Santalaceae s.s.
    • Thesiaceae
    • Viscaceae

Earlier systems

In the classification system of Dahlgren, the Santalales were in the superorder Santaliflorae (also called Santalanae). The Cronquist system (1981) used this circumscription:[6]

order Santalales

family Medusandraceae – sole genus Medusandra now in family Peridiscaceae,[7] order Saxifragales[2]
family Dipentodontaceae – now in order Huerteales in APG IV[2]
family Olacaceae
family Opiliaceae
family Santalaceae
family Misodendraceae
family Loranthaceae
family Viscaceae - sunk into Santalaceae s.l. in the seven-family system
family Eremolepidaceae - sunk into Santalaceae s.l. in the seven-family system
family Balanophoraceae


"Santalales R.Br. ex Bercht. & J.Presl". World Flora Online. Retrieved 2021-07-20.
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.
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.
Stevens, P.F. "Santalales". Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Retrieved 2021-07-20.
Nickrent, Daniel L. (2020). "Parasitic angiosperms: How often and how many?". Taxon. 69 (1): 5–27. doi:10.1002/tax.12195.
Cronquist, A. (1981). An integrated system of classification of flowering plants. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-03880-5.

"Medusandra Brenan". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2021-07-20.

Hawksworth, FG (1996). Dwarf mistletoes : biology, pathology, and systematics. USDA For. Serv. Agric. Handb. p. 409.
Soltis, Douglas E.; Soltis, Pamela S.; Endress, Peter K.; Chase, Mark W. (2005-06-15). Phylogeny & Evolution of Angiosperms. Sinauer Associates. p. 370. ISBN 978-0-87893-817-9.
Santalales on the Parasitic Plant Connection web page
NCBI Taxonomy Browser

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