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Order: Caryophyllales

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

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.

Families encountered in southern Africa

Aizoaceae

(= Mesembryanthemaceae; vygies)

Worldwide there are about 1854 species in 135 genera in the family Aizoaceae, and most of these species are native to southern Africa (1735 species in 134 genera in southern Africa). The vast majority of species are succulents, falling in the previously recognised family Mesembryanthemaceae and loosely termed mesems. The arid regions of southern Africa have been the centre of speciation for mesems and have given rise to a huge array of forms, including flat disk-like species that look like stones.  

Amaranthaceae (sugarbeet, spinach family)

About 174 genera and 2050 species (cosmopolitan) of which 33 genera and 206 species are native to southern Africa, an additional six genera and 42 species are naturalised, and an additional five genera and 21 species are cultivated in the region.

Atriplex semibaccata

Basellaceae

Four genera and about 20 species (mainly tropical and subtropical South America but also in Africa and Asia), with two genera and two species naturalised in southern Africa and a further genus and two species that are cultivated in the region.

Cactaceae (cacti)

About 111 genera and 1500 species (mainly arid tropical America but also Old World), with one species (Rhipsalis baccifera) native to southern Africa, a further 10 genera and 23 species that are naturalised, and a further 29 genera and 131 species that are cultivated in the region. Some of the naturalised species are serious plant invaders. 

Caryophyllaceae (carnation family)

About 86 genera and 2200 species (cosmopolitan but mainly north temperate regions, especially Mediterranean and Irano-Turanean region), with 12 genera and 51 species native to southern Africa, a further 11 genera and 22 species that are naturalised, and a further two genera and 37 species that are cultivated in the region.

Silene gallica

Didiereaceae

Seven genera and about 16 species, native to Africa and Madagascar, with two genera and six species native to southern Africa and an additional two genera and three species that are cultivated in the region.

 

Droseraceae (sundew and Venus' fly trap family)

Four genera and about 100 species (cosmopolitan), with two genera and 21 species native to southern Africa and a further genus and seven species that are cultivated in the region. Insectivorous.

Drosera hilaris

Drosophyllaceae

One species: Drosophyllum lusitanicum, native from Portugal through to Morocco and cultivated in southern Africa. Previously placed in the Droseraceae.

 

Frankeniaceae

Two genera and 81 species (most continents but patchily distributed), with one genus (Frankenia) and three species native to southern Africa.

Limeaceae

Two genera and 23 species (Africa, S Asia and Australia), with one genus and 17 species native to southern Africa. Members of this family were previously placed in the Molluginaceae.

 

Lophiocarpaceae

Two genera and six species (Africa), with one genus (Corbichonia) and two species native to southern Africa. Members of this family were previously placed in the Molluginaceae.

 

Molluginaceae

About 12 genera and 91 species (tropics and subtropics, mainly in southern Africa), with nine genera and 68 species native to southern Africa.

Montiaceae

Claytonia perfoliata is native to western USA and Mexico and is cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Nepenthaceae (pitcher plants)

One genus, Nepenthes, and about 90 species. Insectivorous plants that are native to Madagascar, SE Asia and northern Australia. There are no native species in southern Africa but 11 species have been recorded as being cultivated in the region.

Nyctaginaceae (Bougainvillea family)

About 30 genera and 395 species (warm regions, mainly Americas), with four genera and 15 species native to southern Africa, an additional genus and five species that are naturalised, and an additional genus and three species that are cultivated in the region.

Bougainvillea sp.

Phytolaccaceae

Eighteen genera and about 65 species (mainly neotropical, also Old World and temperate regions), with three genera and eight species native to southern Africa, an additional genus and three species that are naturalised, and another genus and species that is cultivated in the region.

Plumbaginaceae (Plumbago family)

About 27 genera and 836 species (cosmopolitan), of which four genera and 24 species are native to southern Africa and a further two genera and eight species are cultivated in the region.

Plumbago auriculata

Polygonaceae (rhubarb family)

About 43 genera and 1110 species, occurring worldwide, with four genera and 35 species native to southern Africa, an additional three genera and 14 species that are naturalised, and an additional seven genera and 11 species that are cultivated in the region.

Portulacaceae

The family in the composition represented here is considered paraphyletic. Three genera and 41 species are native to southern Africa and a further genus and two species are naturalised in the region.

Simmondsiaceae

One species: Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba), which is native to the southern USA and Mexico and is cultivated in southern Africa (Glen 2002).

 

Talinaceae

Two genera of which one, Talinum, is native to southern Africa. There are about 40 species of Talinum, distributed in Africa and the Americas, with five species native to southern Africa, in summer rainfall areas, and a further species that has become naturalised in the region. 

 

Tamaricaceae (tamarisks)

Four genera and about 75 species (Old World, mainly Northern Hemisphere). There is one species of Tamarix that is native to southern Africa, four species that are naturalised, and a further three species that are cultivated in the region.

Families not encountered in southern Africa: Achatocarpaceae, Ancistrocladaceae, Asteropeiaceae, Barbeuiaceae, Didiereaceae, Dioncophyllaceae, Giseckiaceae, Halophytaceae, Physenaceae, Rhabdodendraceae, Sarcobataceae, Stegnospermataceae

  


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