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Introduction

The magnoliid clade contains several thousand (~8500) species divided into 20 families, including several large, economically important families such as Magnoliaceae, Lauraceae, Piperaceae, and Annonaceae. Members of the magnoliid clade are widespread throughout tropical and temperate areas of the world and can be large trees, shrubs, vines, lianas, and occasionally herbs (Judd et al., 2002; D. Soltis et al., 2005). Economically important products derived from magnoliids include edible fruits, such as avocados (Persea americana) and guanabana, sour sop, cherimoya, and sweet sop (Annona spp.). Magnoliid species are also the source of spices (Judd et al., 2002; D. Soltis et al., 2005) such as black and white pepper (Piper nigrum), bay leaves (Laurus nigrus), nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), and camphor (Cinnamomum camphora). Other members are used as ornamentals or timber (e.g., Magnolia and Liriodendron; Judd et al., 2002; D. Soltis et al., 2005).

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