Back to Biodiversity Explorer main pageGo to Iziko Museums of Cape Town home pageAbout Biodiversity Explorer - history, goals, etc.Send us your questions about southern African biodiversityPeople who have contributed content and images.Search Biodiversity Explorer

Order: Asparagales 

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

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.

Families encountered in southern Africa

Amaryllidaceae

About 73 genera and 1605 species (warm temperate and tropical regions worldwide), of which 21 genera and 263 species native to southern Africa (the region with the highest diversity of amaryllids in the world). An additional three genera and four species are naturalised, and an additional 13 genera and 43 species are cultivated in southern Africa.

Asparagaceae (asparagus family)

About 153 genera and 2480 species, found worldwide except polar regions. Twenty seven genera and 768 species are native to southern Africa, one genus and four species are naturalised, and a further 25 genera and 60 species are cultivated in the region. The family at one time contained only the genus Asparagus but has been expanded considerably with the incorporation of Agavaceae, Hyacinthaceae and some other previous families (see Angiosperm Phylogeny Website for more).

Doryanthaceae

One genus (Doryanthes), native to eastern Australia. Doryanthes palmeri is cultivated in southern Africa. Previously included in the Amaryllidaceae.

 

Hypoxidaceae

There are nine genera and about 130 species worldwide of which seven genera and 79 species are native to southern Africa. An additional species is naturalised, and two species are cultivated in the region. Southern Africa is the region with the highest diversity of hypoxids but the family is also native to South America, Australia and tropical Asia.

[photo Colin Paterson-Jones ]

Iridaceae (iris family)

There are about 70 genera and 1800 species (cosmopolitan), of which 33 genera and 1133 species are native to southern Africa, which is the region of the world with the highest diversity of this family. An additional genus and species is naturalised, and 10 genera and 25 species are cultivated in southern Africa.

Lanariaceae

The family contains a single species: Lanaria lanata, which is endemic to southern Africa (Western Cape and Eastern Cape).

Orchidaceae (orchid family)

There are about 800 genera and 20 000 (cosmopolitan, but mainly in moist regions), of which 63 genera and about 682 species are native to southern Africa. An additional 100 genera and 390 species are cultivated in the region.

Bonatea speciosa

Tecophilaeaceae

Nine genera and 23 species (Africa, Chile and California), with three genera and 10 species native to southern Africa.

Cyanella alba

Xanthorrhoeaceae (aloe family)

Thirty-five genera and about 900 species, with a world-wide distribution (excluding polar regions). A total of 10 genera and 446 species are native to southern Africa, one species is naturalised and an additional five genera and 17 species are cultivated in the region. Families Asphodelaceae and Hemerocallidaceae have been included as subfamilies within the Xanthorrhoeaceae.

Aloe ferox

Families not encountered in southern Africa

Aphyllanthaceae, Asteliaceae, Blandfordiaceae, Boryaceae, Ixioliriaceae, Xanthorrhoeaceae, Xeronemataceae. 

 


Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search