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Order: Gentianales

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 > Euasterid I

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 110 species are cultivated in the region.

Families encountered in southern Africa

Apocynaceae (oleander, frangipani, periwinkle, milkweed and asclepiad family)

About 415 genera and 4555 species, native mainly to tropical and warm temperate regions, with 104 genera and 764 species native to southern Africa, an additional five genera and six species naturalised, and an additional 19 genera and 56 species that are cultivated in the region.

Catharanthus roseus


Two genera and 11 species, native to South East Asia, America and Africa but not to southern Africa. However, Gelsemium rankinii (Yellow jessamine) (native to the southeastern USA) is cultivated in the region.


Gentianaceae (gentians)

About 87 genera and 1655 species, with a nearly worldwide distribution. Ten genera and 83 species are native to southern Africa, there are no naturalised species, and a further four genera and 11 species are cultivated in the region.

Orphium frutescens

Loganiaceae (strychnine family)

Worldwide there are 29 genera and about 600 species in this family. The only genus native to southern Africa is Strychnos (with 17 species native to the region) sometimes placed, together with two other genera, in a separate family, the Strychnaceae. 

Strychnos decussata flowers

Rubiaceae (gardenia, coffee and quinine family)

A large family of 630 genera and about 10200 species found worldwide but particularly in tropical and warm regions. Eighty genera and 349 species are native to southern Africa, an additional two genera and six species are naturalised, and an additional 18 genera and 42 species that are cultivated in the region.

Alberta magna

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