Botany: herbs; petals absent; ovary connate, superior, 1 to 5 carpels; unilacunar nodes; stems often with concentric rings of xylem and phloem or of vascular bundles; phloem sieve tubes with plastids with a peripheral ring of proteinaceous filaments and a central protein crystal; betalains; loss of the intron in the plastid gene rpl2; a single perianth whorl; placentation secondarily free central to primarily basal; embryo curved around the seed; perisperm with scanty or no endosperm; pollen tricolpate, pantoporate, pantocolpate, with spinulose and tubuliferous punctate ektexine.
The Order Caryophyllales has long been recognised, by Cronquist 1981, Cronquist and Thorne 1994, Takhtajan 1997, Judd 2002, Cuénoud 2002. Caryophyllales comprise 19 families. Several families are clearly poly- or paraphyletic and require recircumscription.
In the Apg3 classification Caryophyllales is an Order closely related with Asteridae. Polygonales is included in the Caryophyllales but was recognised as a separate Order in the past. Several clades can be recognised in Caryophyllales.
A typical characteristic is that Caryophyllales have betacyanins as a red colour dye. This is in contrast to the rest of the Angiospermae that use anthocyanins as a red dye.
In the Plant theory the Order Caryophyllales is raised to the level of Subclass, Caryophyllidae, a Subclass of the Asteranae. Caryophyllidae are subdivided in 7 Orders. The Portulaca clade is treated as Portulacales. The Aizoaceae clade is treated as Aizoales. Amaranthaceae and Cheonopodicaeae are split off from the Caryophyllaceae and form a monophyletic Order Amaranthales. Caryophyllaceae becomes a monophyletic Order which could be named Caryophyllales were it not confusing with the Subclass. Polygonales and Droserales are two monophyletic clades. In older classifications they formed the Order Polygonales. Physenales is a group of in between families, which is polyphyletic.
Caryophyllidae have the emphasis on the Silicon series.
Cactaceae has clear aspects of the Lanthanides. Many cases are of therapists. The association with the Asteridae makes this aspect fall in place. Lanthanide aspects can also be seen in the other families of the Caryophyllales, although often less prominent, somewhat in the background. This is because the Lanthanide quality is at its beginning, not fully developed yet. Maybe it was more prominent in Cactaceae as they are loners, less mixed up with the things of other people.