Saururaceae Family:

Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ on 8-1-11, #68-25.

Saururaceae F.Voigt

The plant family Saururaceae F.Voigt was named and described as such by Friedrich Siegmund Voigt in Analyse Der Frucht Und Des Saamenkorns in 1811. 

Some sources suggest Saururaceae Rich. ex T.Lestib. is the correct scientific name of the family. It was described as such by Thémistocle Gaspard Lestiboudois in Botanographie Élémentaire in 1826. Mr. Lestiboudois gave Louis Claude Marie Richard credit for first naming and describing the family. 

Plants of the World Online uses Sauraceae F.Voigt which is also accepted by the APG IV system. HOWEVER, it is NOT listed on IPNI (International Plant Names Index). Saururaceae Rich. ex T.Lestib. could be nom. cons. (novum conservandum). That means even though the way the name was published and violated one or more rules preventing it from being legitimate, it can still be used. Novum conservandum means “a name to be conserved”… The IPNI doesn’t say the name is nom. cons., but it is listed as such on Tropicos (a database from the Missouri Botanical Garden).

As of 12-17-21 when I last updated this page, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 4 genera in the family which consist of a total of 6 species.

I only have experience with Houttuynia cordata ‘Chameleon’ which was given to me by a friend when I lived in Mississippi. I left it behind when I moved back to the family farm in west-central Missouri in 2013. Then, found a pot of it at a local greenhouse in 2019 but it didn’t make it through the winter. Hopefully, I can find it again because I enjoyed this species…

The family is sometimes referred to as the lizard’s-tail family.


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