Based on original observations and a critical literature survey, vestured pits are found in approximately 48 families according to the APG-system, including 14 families in which vestures were not recorded previously. Constancy in the presence or absence of vestured pits throughout the secondary xylem of a given specimen is generally supported. However, in some taxa that frequently show vestigial vestures, the occurrence is restricted to particular areas within the limits of a single wood sample. Phylogenetic hypotheses based on DNA sequences are frequently supported by the presence or absence of vestured pits in eudicots. The character is found to be relatively widespread at the base of the eurosids I (Zygophyllaceae, Fabales, very few Rosales, Malpighiales), eurosids II (Myrtales, Malvales, Brassicales), and euasterids I (Gentianales, Lamiales, Solanales), but the feature probably has been lost or originated independently in several more derived branches of these clades. Representatives from euasterids II always show nonvestured pits. Vestured pits characterise the orders Myrtales and Gentianales sensu APG. Other taxa that consistently show vestured pits include Malpighiaceae, Polygonaceae, Brassicaceae, and most Fabaceae. While numerous parallel origins undoubtedly underlie the occurrence of vestured pits, there are at least few instances where vestured pits most likely have been lost during evolution. Our results put major doubt on the earlier suggested homology of vestures and warts. Possible functions of both structures remain speculative or unclear.

Key words: eudicots, phylogeny, scanning electron microscopy, vestured pits, warts, wood anatomy