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Subfamily: Mesembryanthemoideae (mesems in part)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Order: Caryophyllales > Family: Aizoaceae

The subfamilies Mesembryanthemoideae and Ruschioideae make up the group of succulents loosely termed the mesems that in some classifications are placed in a separate family, the Mesembryanthemaceae. In this classification they are placed in the Aizoaceae because evidence suggests that mesems were derived from within this group (see under Aizoaceae for more information).

Genera native to southern Africa

List from from Chesselet et al. (2000).


Four species, native mainly to the summer rainfall region of southern Africa. Grown widely as an ornamental.


Four species, native to karroid areas of Namibia and Western, Eastern and Northern Cape.  


One species: Aspazoma amplectens, native to Namaqualand.


Fourteen species, endemic to southern Africa.


One species: Caulipsolon rapaceum, native to Namaqualand.


One species, Dactylopsis digitata, endemic to the Western Cape.


Sixteen species, native to the arid western and central regions of southern Africa, extending into Namibia. Species in North Africa, the Mediterranean region, California, on the west coast of South America and in Australia, are thought to have been introduced to these regions.


Thirty-one species, native to southern Namibia and the western and central parts of southern Africa.


Six species, native to the karroid areas of Namibia and Western, Eastern and Northern Cape.


Thirteen species, native to the arid regions of South Africa, Namibia and southern Angola.


Eight species, native to the karroid areas of Northern, Western and Eastern Cape. 


One species: Synaptophyllum juttae, native to the fog zone near Luderitz in Namibia


  • Chesselet, P., Smith, G.F., Burgoyne, P.M., Klak, C., Hammer, S.A., Hartmann, H.E.K., Kurzweil, H., van Jaarsveld, E.J., van Wyk, B-E. & Leistner, O.A. 2000. Mesembryanthemaceae. In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 360-410. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.



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