Date of this Version
Worldwide, there are more than 1,000 species belonging to the Fagaceae. All Fagaceae species are woody plants and are spread throughout the northern hemisphere, from the tropical to the boreal regions. The family comprises seven genera (Govaerts and Frodin 1998), and the number of species is extremely variable among genera: Castanea (12), Castanopsis (100 to 200), Chrysolepis (2), Fagus (11), Lithocarpus (300), Quercus (450 to 600), Trigonobalanus (3).Oaks (Quercus), chestnuts (Castanea), and beeches (Fagus) are widely used in forestry for wood products over the three continents (Asia, Europe, and America) and are important economic species. Consequently, they have received more attention in forest genetic research than other genera. In addition to their cultivation in forestry, chestnuts are also used for their fruit production and have been partially domesticated for that purpose. Castanopsis and Lithocarpus are important ecological components of the Asian flora and have recently been investigated for their biological diversity (Cannon and Manos 2003). The remaining genera comprise only a very few species and for the time being have been studied mainly in botany and taxonomy.