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Order: Ericales

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 > Asterids

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.

Families encountered in southern Africa

Actinidiaceae (Kiwi Fruit family)

Three genera and about 360 species, native to the Asian and American tropics. They grow as either trees, shrubs or woody vines. Three species of Actinidia are cultivated in southern Africa, including Kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa).

Actinidia deliciosa (Kiwifruit)

Balsaminaceae (balsams / Impatiens family)

Widespread in tropical and subtropical climates, but not native to South America or Australia. A total of two genera and about 850 species. Almost all the species are in the genus Impatiens; in southern Africa there are six native species, two naturalised and a further 13 species that are cultivated in the region.

Impatiens

Clethraceae

Two genera and about 75 species, native from eastern Asia to Malesia and also from southern USA to northern South America. Three species of Clethra are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Ebenaceae

Two genera and about 495 species worldwide (tropics and subtropics). The genus Diospyros is by far the most diverse and widespread (about 475 species) whereas Euclea (about 20 species) is native to Africa, mainly southern Africa. Both genera occur in southern Africa, with a total of 46 species that are native and a further five species that are cultivated in the region.

Diospyros whyteana (Bladdernut)

Ericaceae (erica and rhododendron family)

About 126 genera and 3995 species, occurring worldwide but rare in lowland tropical regions. Two genera and 753 species are native to southern Africa, and an additional nine genera and 24 species are cultivated in the region. All except one of the native species are in the genus Erica, which is particularly diverse in fynbos.

Lecythidaceae (brazil nut family)

About 20 genera and 280 species worldwide (pantropical), with one species native to southern Africa and a further two genera and four species cultivated in the region.

Marcgraviaceae

Seven genera and 130 species, native to New World tropics. Norantea guianensis, native to French Guiana, has been recorded by Glen (2002) as being cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Polemoniaceae (phlox family)

A total of 18 genera and 385 species, native to the Americas and Eurasia. Six genera and 10 species cultivated in southern Africa.

Primulaceae (primula and cyclamen family)

Nine genera and about 900 species, mainly Northern Hemisphere but also SE Asia and the south temperate region of South America. Seven genera and 20 species are native to southern Africa, two species are naturalised and eight genera and 24 species are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Roridulaceae

One genus, Roridula, with two species that are endemic to the Western Cape, South Africa. They have a mutualistic association with mirid bugs in the genus Pameridea whereby the bugs feed on insects caught on the mucilage-tipped trichomes of the plant and the plant absorbs nutrients from the faeces produced by the bug. Hairs on the tarsi of the bugs enable them to move on the plant without being caught by the sticky mucilage.

 

Sapotaceae (White Milkwood family)

About 53 genera and 1100 species with a pantropical distribution. Nine genera and 22 species are native to southern Africa and a further one genus and 13 species are cultivated in the region.

the small flowers of White Milkwood (Sideroxylon inerme)

Sarraceniaceae

Three genera and about 15 species of insectivorous pitcher plants, native to the USA and northern South America (the Guayana highlands). Three species of Sarracenia are cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Styracaceae

About 11 genera and 160 species, native to the Americas, the Mediterranean, east and southeastern Asia. Three genera and three species are cultivated in southern Africa.

Symplocaceae

Two genera and about 320 species, native to tropical and subtropical regions but not Africa. Symplocos paniculata (native from India to Japan) has been recorded by Glen (2002) as being cultivated in southern Africa.

 

Theaceae (camellia family)

About seven genera and 195 species, native mainly from Southeast Asia to Malesia, but also to the southeastern USA. Three genera and four species are cultivated in southern Africa.

Camellia japonica (Common camellia)

Families not encountered in southern Africa: Cyrillaceae, Diapensiaceae, Fouquieriaceae, Mitrastemonaceae, Pentaphylacaceae, Sladeniaceae, Tetrameristaceae

 


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