The Ericales are a large and diverse order of dicotyledons, including for example tea, persimmon, blueberry, Brazil nut, and azalea. The order includes trees and bushes, lianas and herbaceous plants. Together with ordinary autophytic plants, the Ericales include chlorophyll-deficient myco-heterotrophic plants (e. g. Sarcodes sanguinea) and carnivorous plants (e. g. genus Sarracenia).

Many species have five petals, often grown together. Fusion of the petals is a trait that was traditionally used to place the order in the subclass Sympetalae.

Mycorrhiza is an interesting property, frequently associated with the Ericales. Indeed, the symbiosis with root fungi is quite common among the order representatives, and there are even three kinds of it which can be found exclusively among Ericales (namely, ericoid, arbutoid and monotropoid mycorrhiza). In addition, some families among the order are notable for their exceptional ability to accumulate aluminum (Jansen et al., 2004).

Ericales are a cosmopolitic order. Areas of distribution of families vary largely - while some are restricted to tropics, others exist mainly in Arctic or temperate regions. The entire order contains over 8000 species, of which the Ericaceae account for 2000-4000 species (by various estimates).

Read more about Ericales:  Economic Importance, Classification

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