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Angiospermae (flowering plants)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants)

(See alphabetical list of flowering plant families)

A total of 433 families of which 257 are encountered in southern Africa. There are 13389 genera and 265179 species worldwide, of which 2097 genera (15.7%) and 21808 species (8.2%) are native to southern Africa. An additional 304 genera and 958 species are naturalised, and an additional 1171 genera and 4552 species are recorded as being cultivated in southern Africa. Thus, in total, 3573 genera (26.7%) and 27329 species (10.3%) of flowering plants have been recorded as being native, naturalised or cultivated in southern Africa.

Classification

The classification below follows mainly that in the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Figures for number of families, genera and species are also from this source.

Order: Amborellales

Contains a single species, Amborella trichopoda, endemic to the island of New Caledonia and not encountered in southern Africa.

 

Order: Nymphaeales

Contains two families: the Cabombaceae and the Nymphaeaceae (water lily family). There are six genera and 74 species worldwide, with two genera and three species native to southern Africa.

Nymphaea nouchali (Blue waterlily)

Order: Austrobaileyales

Contains three families: Austrobaileyaceae, Schisandraceae (= Illiciaceae) and Trimeniaceae, none of which has indigenous representatives in southern Africa. However, Illicium verum (Star anise) in the Schisandraceae, is cultivated in the region. In total there are five genera and 100 species in the order.

 

Order: Chloranthales

Contains a single family, the Chloranthaceae (4 genera and 75 species), which is not encountered in southern Africa.

 

magnoliids

 
 

Order: Magnoliales

Five families of which four are encountered in southern Africa. About 154 genera and 2929 species of which ten genera and 24 species (all in Annonaceae) are native to southern Africa. An additional seven genera and 28 species are cultivated in the region.

 

Order: Laurales

Seven families of which four are encountered in southern Africa. Worldwide there are 91 genera and 2858 species of which six genera and 14 species are native to southern Africa, three genera and five species are naturalised, and an additional four genera and 12 species are cultivated in the region. The Lauraceae is the most diverse family in the region and includes Stinkwood as well as important cultivated species such as Avocado, Cinnamon and Bay laurel (yielding bay leaves).

 

Order: Canellales

Nine genera and about 88 species in two families. Warburgia salutaris (Pepper-bark tree) in the Canellaceae is the only species native to southern Africa. In addition, Drimys winteri (Winter's bark) in the Winteraceae is cultivated in the region.

 

Order: Piperales

Four families, all of which are encountered in southern Africa. Of the 17 genera and 4090 species worldwide, four genera and 15 species are native to southern Africa, two species are naturalised, and an additional 18 species are cultivated in the region.

monocots

 
 

Order: Acorales

Contains a single family, the Acoraceae, containing a single genus, Acorus, with 2-4 species. This genus was previously placed in the Araceae. Acorus calamus (Sweet-flag) is cultivated in southern Africa.

 
 

Order: Alismatales

With the exception of the Araceae (arum lily family), all families of the Alismatales that occur in southern Africa, are either aquatic or marsh-inhabiting plants. Members of the Araceae are often found in marshy situations and some member are aquatic (those previously in the family Lemnaceae) but many species can be found far from water. Nine of the 13 families are encountered in southern Africa. Of the 166 genera and 4560 species worldwide, 30 genera and 83 species are native to southern Africa, six genera and six species are naturalised, and an additional 19 genera and 43 species are cultivated in the region.

Zantedeschia aethiopica
 

Order: Petrosaviales

One family, Petrosaviaceae, with two genera and four species; not encountered in southern Africa.

 
 

Order: Dioscoreales

Three of the five families are encountered in southern Africa, Dioscoreaceae (yam family), being by far the largest. Worldwide there are about 21 genera and 1037 species, of which three genera and 25 species (mainly Dioscorea) are native to southern Africa. In addition one species in the genus Tacca is cultivated in the region.  

 

Order: Pandanales

Three of the five families are encountered in southern Africa. There are 36 genera and 1345 species worldwide of which three genera (Talbotia, Xerophyta and Pandanus), and 16 species are native to southern Africa. An additional genus and two species are cultivated in the region.

 

Order: Liliales

Four of the eleven families are encountered in southern Africa but only two of them are indigenous. There are about 67 genera and 1558 species, of which 10 genera and 87 species are native to southern Africa, with one genus and species naturalised. An additional five genera and 17 species are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Order: Asparagales 

Fourteen families of which nine are encountered in southern Africa. There are 1122 genera and 26070 species, of which 165 genera and 3381 species are native to southern Africa. An additional five genera and eleven species are naturalised, and an additional 154 genera and 533 species are recorded as being cultivated in southern Africa.

 

commelinids

 
   

Unplaced

Includes only the Dasypogonaceae (4 genera, 16 species), which is not encountered in southern Africa.

 
   

Order: Arecales (palms)

The Arecaceae is the only family in the order. There are 183 genera and 2361 species (cosmopolitan, mainly warmer regions), with five genera and six species native to southern Africa . An additional 103 genera and 276 species are cultivated in the region.

   

Order: Poales

Seventeen families of which 10 are encountered in southern Africa. There are 997 genera and 18325 species recorded worldwide, of which 250 genera and 1863 species are native to southern Africa. An additional 32 genera and 132 species are naturalised, and an additional 49 genera and 352 species are recorded as being cultivated in southern Africa.

   

Order: Commelinales

Five families of which three are encountered in southern Africa. There are 68 genera and 812 species recorded worldwide, of which 13 genera and 60 species are native to southern Africa. An additional three genera and four species are naturalised, and an additional four genera and 15 species are recorded as being cultivated in southern Africa.

   

Order: Zingiberales

Eight families of which seven are encountered in southern Africa. There are 92 genera and 2151 species recorded worldwide, of which six genera and 16 species are native to southern Africa. An additional two genera and four species are naturalised, and an additional 13 genera and 32 species are recorded as being cultivated in southern Africa.

Order: Ceratophyllales

Contains a single family, the Ceratophyllaceae, containing a single genus Ceratophyllum. There are about six species, of which three are native to southern Africa.

eudicotyledons

 

Order: Ranunculales

Seven families, four of which are encountered in southern Africa. Worldwide, there are 199 genera and 4445 species, with 20 genera and 57 species native to southern Africa, and four genera and 11 species naturalised. An additional 23 genera and 83 species are cultivated in the region.

 

Order: Sabiales

One family, Sabiaceae (3 genera, 100 species), not encountered in southern Africa.

 
 

Order: Proteales

There are three families in the Proteales and all are encountered in southern Africa, but only the Proteaceae is indigenous. Of the 85 genera and 1710 species worldwide, 14 genera and 361 species are native to southern Africa, mainly in fynbos. In addition, two genera and four species have become naturalised, and an additional 15 genera and 53 species are cultivated in the region.

 

Order: Trochodendrales

Two species: Trochodendron aralioides and Tetracentron sinense, native to east Asia and not present in southern Africa.

 
 

Order: Buxales

Two families, five genera and about 72 species worldwide, mainly in the Buxaceae, which is the only family represented in southern Africa. Two species of Buxus are native to southern Africa and an additional two genera and four species are cultivated in the region.

 

core eudicots

 
   

Order: Gunnerales

Contains two genera and 45 species worldwide. Gunnera perpensa (Gunneraceae) and Myrothamnus flabellifolius (Myrothamnaceae) are native to southern Africa. In addition, Gunnera manicata, native to Brazil and Colombia, is cultivated in the region.

 

Gunnera manicata
   

Order: Dilleniales

One family: Dilleniaceae, with 10 genera and about 300 species. Mainly tropical in distribution including tropical Africa but none of the species have distributions extending into southern Africa as defined here (south of Kuneni and Zambezi River). Tetracera boiviniana has a distribution extending into northern Mozambique, which is just outside the region. Two species are cultivated in southern Africa: Hibbertia scandens (from eastern Australia) and Dillenia indica (native distributon: India to Indonesia).

 
   

Order: Saxifragales 

There are 15 families, of which seven are encountered in southern Africa, with Crassulaceae containing the vast majority of species. Worldwide there are 112 genera and about 2500 species, of which eight genera and 276 species are native to southern Africa, mainly in fynbos. In addition, an additional 24 genera and 71 species are cultivated in the region. 

   

Order: Vitales

One family, Vitaceae with 14 genera and about 850 species worldwide. Five genera and 83 species in southern Africa. An additional four genera and 10 species are cultivated in southern Africa.

   

rosids

 
     

eurosid I

 
       

Order: Zygophyllales

Two families, Zygophyllaceae, which has a worldwide distribution, and Krameriaceae, which is native to the Americas. Worldwide, there are 27 genera and about 305 species of which seven genera and 54 species are native to southern Africa. An additional genus and species is cultivated in the region.

Tribulus terrestris
       

Order: Celastrales

Includes: Celastraceae, Lepidobotryaceae, Parnassiaceae, Pottingeriaceae. Only Celastraceae is encountered in southern Africa. There are about 92 genera and 1350 species worldwide of which 25 genera and 91 species are native to southern Africa. An additional one genus and 12 species are cultivated in the region.

Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus
        Order: Oxalidales

Seven familes of which four are encountered in southern Africa. Worldwide, there are 60 genera and about 1815 species, of which seven genera and 211 species are native to southern Africa. An additional two species that are naturalised, and seven genera and 19 species cultivated in the region.  Oxalidaceae is the largest family with two genera and 204 species native to the region.

        Order: Malpighiales

About 39 families, 716 genera and 15935 species of which 19 families, 160 genera and 974 species are encountered in southern Africa. Of these, 120 genera and 800 species are native, an additional eight genera and 47 species are naturalised, and an additional 32 genera and 128 species are cultivated in the region.  

        Order: Cucurbitales

Seven families, 129 genera and 2295 species, of which four families, 28 genera and 125 species are encountered in southern Africa. Of these two families, 18 genera and 104 species are native to the region, two genera and three species are naturalised, and eight genera and 39 species are cultivated.

        Order: Fagales

Eight families, 33 genera and 1055 species, of which six families, 17 genera and 108 species are encountered in southern Africa. Of these only one family (Myricaceae) with one genus and 12 species is native to southern Africa. An additional two genera and three species are naturalised, and 14 genera and 93 species are cultivated in the region. The order includes familiar trees such as birches, casuarinas, chestnuts, oaks, walnuts, pecans and southern beeches.

Quercus robur
        Order: Fabales

Four families of which three are encountered in southern Africa. Worldwide, there are 754 genera and 20080 species, the vast majority of which fall in the bean family (Fabaceae). There are 146 genera and 2045 species native to southern Africa, a further 25 genera and 115 species naturalised, and a further 89 genera and 430 species that are cultivated in the region.

        Order: Rosales

Nine families, seven of which are encountered in southern Africa. There are 261 genera and 7725 species distributed worldwide, of which 43 genera and 414 species are native to southern Africa, 11 genera and 33 species are naturalised, and an additional 47 genera and 275 species that are cultivated in the region.

     

eurosid II

 
     

 

Order: Geraniales

Five families of which three are encountered in southern Africa. Of the 17 genera and 836 species, eight genera and 326 species are native to southern Africa, seven species are naturalised, and an additional genus and 18 species are cultivated in the region.

Pelargonium salmoneum
        Order: Myrtales

Six of the nine families are encountered in southern Africa. There are about 380 genera and 11027 species worldwide, with 34 genera and 190 species native to southern Africa, an additional 11 genera and 44 species naturalised, and an additional 40 genera and 368 species cultivated in the region.

Lagerstroemia indica
       

Order: Crossosomatales

Seven families of which two are encountered in southern Africa. Of the 12 genera and 66 species, two genera and two species are native to southern Africa.

 
       

Order: Picramniales

One family: Picramniaceae, which does not occur in southern Africa.

 
        Order: Sapindales

Seven of the nine families are encountered in southern Africa. Of the 471 genera and 6070 species, 67 genera and 510 species are native to southern Africa, seven genera and nine species are naturalised, and an additional 50 genera and 103 species are cultivated in the region. 

Acmadenia mundiana (Rutaceae)
       

Order: Huerteales

Not encountered in southern Africa.

 
       

Order: Brassicales

Eight of the 18 families in this order are encountered in southern Africa. There are 398 genera and 4765 species worldwide, with 23 genera and 192 species native to southern Africa, an additional 22 genera and 44 species naturalised, and an additional 18 genera and 58 species that are cultivated in the region.

Lobularia maritima (Sweet alyssum, Sweet alison)
       

Order: Malvales

Ten families of which eight are encountered in southern Africa. There are about 338 genera and 6005 species worldwide, of which 42 genera and 583 species are native to southern Africa, eight genera and 20 species are naturalised and a further 41 genera and 118 species are cultivated in the region.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (Hibiscus, Chinese Cotton Rose)
       

Order: Santalales

Twelve families of which four are encountered in southern Africa. Includes many species that are root parasites. There are 151 genera and about 1992 species worldwide, of which 26 genera and 292 species are native to southern Africa; a further species in another genus is cultivated in the region.

       

Order: Berberidopsidales

Two families, Aextoxicaceae and Berberidopsidaceae, neither of which is encountered in southern Africa.

 
       

Order: Caryophyllales

Thirty-four families of which 22 are encountered in southern Africa. Worldwide there are 811 genera and 11510 species, of which 217 genera and 2240 species are native to southern Africa (mainly mesems in the Aizoaceae). An additional 35 genera and 117 species are naturalised, and an additional 54 genera and 240 species are cultivated in the region. The order includes sugarbeet, spinach, cacti, carnations, sundews, venus flytrap, and Bougainvillea.

   

asterids

 
     

Order: Cornales

Six families, all of which are encountered in southern Africa. Worldwide there are 51 genera and 590 species, of which four genera and six species are native to southern Africa. An additional eight genera and 27 species are cultivated in the region.

     

Order: Ericales

Eighteen of the 25 families are encountered in southern Africa. Worldwide there are 346 genera and about 11515 species, of which 23 genera and 850 species (mainly Erica) are native to southern Africa. Four species are naturalised, and an additional 37 genera and 111 species are cultivated in the region. 

     

euasterid I

 
       

Unplaced

Icacinaceae. About 24 genera and 149 species, pantropical in distribution, with four genera and 12 species native to southern Africa.

Boraginaceae (forget-me-not and borage family). About 148 genera and 2740 species, widespread in temperate and tropical regions of the world, with 17 genera and 107 species native to southern Africa, an additional four genera and 17 species that are naturalised, and an additional six genera and 17 species that are cultivated in the region.

Vahliaceae. One genus, Vahlia, with five species, native to Africa and Madagascar, with three species native to southern Africa.

Oncothecaceae (1 genus, 2 species) and Metteniusaceae (1 genus, 7 species). Not encountered in southern Africa

Lobostemon belliformis (Eight-day-healing-bush)
       

Order: Garryales

One of the two families, Garryaceae, is native to western North America, Central America and eastern Asia, and has two species cultivated in southern Africa, each in one of the two genera in the family.

 
       

Order: Gentianales

Five families, all of which are encountered in southern Africa. Of the 1118 genera and 16637 species, 195 genera and 1213 species are native to southern Africa, a further seven genera and 12 species are naturalised, and a further 42 genera and 111 species are cultivated in the region.

Orphium frutescens
       

Order: Lamiales 

There are 24 families of which 17 occur in southern Africa. Worldwide, there are 1059 genera and 23810 species, of which 205 genera and 1976 species are native to southern Africa, 22 genera and 65 species are naturalised and 126 genera and 432 species are cultivated in the region.

Barleria obtusa
       

Order: Solanales

Five families, of which three occur in southern Africa. Worldwide,there are about 165 genera and 4080 species, with 22 genera and 192 species native to southern Africa, 12 genera and 60 species naturalised and an additional 14 genera 99 species cultivated in the region.

 
     

asterid II

 
        Order: Aquifoliales

Of the five families in this order, only the Aquifoliaceae occurs in southern Africa. Worldwide, there are 21 genera and 536 species in the Aquifoliales, with one species, Ilex mitis (Cape Holly), native to southern Africa and a further nine species of Ilex cultivated in the region.   

Ilex mitis (African holly, Cape holly)
        Order: Asterales

Eleven families, of which four occur in southern Africa. Worldwide, there are about 1743 genera and 26870 species, with 224 genera and 2689 species native to southern Africa, 59 genera and 157 species naturalised and an additional 56 genera 178 species cultivated in the region.

 
       

Order: Escaloniales

One family, Escaloniaceae, with nine genera and 130 species worldwide. There are no indigenous representatives in southern Africa but there are two genera and five species that are cultivated in the region.

 
        Order: Bruniales

Two families: Bruniaceae is endemic to southern Africa, and the Columelliaceae is native to South America. Worldwide, there are 14 genera and 79 species, with nine genera and 57 species native to southern Africa.

 
       

Order: Apiales

Seven families, of which three occur in southern Africa. Worldwide, there are 494 genera and 5489 species, of which 43 genera and 232 species are native to southern Africa, 8 genera and 15 species are naturalised and 34 genera and 60 species cultivated in the region.

 
        Order: Paracryphiales

One family, three genera and 36 species. Does not occur in southern Africa.

 
        Order: Dipsacales

Previously split into a number of families but now reduced to two, both of which occur in southern Africa. Worldwide there are 47 genera and 1090 species, with four genera and 25 species native to southern Africa, three genera and three species naturalised, and eight genera and 53 species cultivated in the region.

Abelia sp.

Publications

  • Angiosperm Phylogeny Group 1998. An ordinal classification for the families of flowering plants. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 85: 531-553. 
  

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