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Family: Asteraceae / Compositae (daisy family)

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

There are 1528 genera and 22750 species worldwide (cosmopolitan), of which 201 genera and 2269 species are native to southern Africa. Another 59 genera and 157 species have become naturalised in the region, and 42 genera and 139 species are cultivated. 

See alphabetical list of genera

Tribes in the Asteraceae that occur in southern Africa

Based on Herman et al. (2000).

Arctoteae

Fifteen genera and 203 species are native to southern Africa.

Anthemideae

Twenty-eight genera and 298 species are native to southern Africa, with six genera and 10 species naturalised and nine genera and 37 species cultivated.

Cotula turbinata

Astereae

Twenty genera and 273 species are native to southern Africa, two genera and seven species naturalised and 10 genera and 20 species cultivated.

Pteronia divaricata

Calenduleae

Seven genera and 88 species are native to southern Africa, with one genus and species naturalised, and an additional two species cultivated.

Dimorphotheca pluvialis

Coreopsideae

Three species are cultivated southern Africa.

Cynareae

Six genera and 30 species have become naturalised in southern Africa, with an additional seven genera and 17 species cultivated.

Eremothamneae

Two genera and three species are native to southern Africa.

Eupatorieae

Three genera and eight species are native to southern Africa, with five genera and 10 species naturalised and an additional three genera and six species cultivated.

Gnaphalieae

Fifty-six genera and 561 species are native to southern Africa, with two genera and eight species naturalised and one genus and two species cultivated.

Helichrysum populifolium (Poplar Helichrysum)

Helenieae

One genus and two species are native to southern Africa, with an additional four genera and nine species naturalised and another genus and species cultivated.

Heliantheae

Seven genera and fourteen species are native to southern Africa, with nineteen genera and 41 species naturalised and an additional five genera and 22 species cultivated.

Bidens formosa

Inuleae

Eleven genera and 54 species are native to southern Africa, with two genera and two species naturalised.

Lactuceae

Four genera and 17 species are native to southern Africa, with 10 genera and 36 species naturalised and four genera and nine species cultivated in the region.

Taraxacum officinale (Common Dandelion)

Mutisieae

Seven genera and 51 species are native to southern Africa.

Plucheeae

Eight genera and 25 species are native to southern Africa.

Senecioneae

Twenty genera and 571 species are native to southern Africa, one species is naturalised and an additional 16 species are cultivated in the region.

Senecio littoreus

Stiffteae

One species cultivated in southern Africa - Stifftia chrysantha (native to Brazil).

Tarchonantheae

Two genera and 15 species are native to southern Africa.

Brachylaena discolor (Coastal silver oak)

Vernonieae

Nine genera and 77 species are native to southern Africa, two genera and two species are naturalised and an additional genus and two species are cultivated in the region.

Not assigned to tribe: Corymbium.
Not assigned to tribe: Cypselodontia.

 

Species that provide food and cullinary herbs

Anthemis nobilis (Chamomile)

 

Arctium lappa (Burdock, Gobo)

Native to Europe and introduced to Asia and North America. The roots are used medicinally for skin complaints, rheumatism and as a diuretic. Young roots are eaten as a vegetable. Cultivated mainly in Japan. Has been cultivated in southern Africa, but not well known here.

 

Artemisia dracunculus (Tarragon)

 

Cichorium (Endive, Chicory)

 

Cynara cardunculus (Cardoon)

The fleshy leaf bases are eaten as a vegetable and the dried flowers are used for curdling milk. Originates from southern Europe and Northwest Africa.

 

Cynara scolymus (Globe artichoke)

Originates from North Africa. The flowerhead can be pickled, baked, fried, boiled or stuffed. Young artichokes can be eaten raw. 

 

Helianthus annuus (Sunflower)

Sunflowers originate from North America and are now grown extensively for their seeds which produce vegetable oil that is used in cooking, salad oils and margarines. The residue after oil extraction provides a high protein food source for livestock. 

 
Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem Artichoke)

The tuber is eaten cooked in casseroles and sauces or eaten raw in salads. Originates from North America. Introduced to Europe in the 17th century.

 
Lactuca sativa (Lettuce)

Lettuce originates from the wild Lactuca serriola found in the Mediterranean and Near East and has been transformed from an erect plant with bitter leaves to various cultivars including ones with distinctive heads of chlorophyll deficient leaves. 

 

Publications

  • Bremer, K. 1994. Asteraceae, Cladistics & Classification. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.

  • Herman, P.P.J., Retief, E., Koekemoer, M. & Welman, W.G. 2000. Asteraceae (Compositae). In: Seed Plants of Southern Africa (ed. O.A. Leistner). Strelitzia 10: 101-170. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.

  • Hilliard, O.M. 1977. Compositae in Natal. University of Natal Press, Pietermaritzburg.

  • Hilliard, O.M. 1978. The geographical distribution of Compositae native to Natal. Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 36: 407–425.
  • Koekemoer, M. 1996. An overview of the Asteraceae in southern Africa. In: D.J.N. Hind & H.J. Beentje (eds), Compositae: Systematics. Proceedings of the International Compositae Conference, Vol. 1: 95–110. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Levyns, M.R. 1950. Compositae. In: Flora of the Cape Peninsula (eds R.S. Adamson & T.M. Salter). Juta & Co., Ltd., Cape Town, pp. -.

  • Merxmüller, H. 1967. Asteraceae. Prodromus einer Flora von Südwestafrika 139: 1-185.

  • Pope, G.V. 1992. 97. Compositae. Flora zambesiaca 6,1: 1-264.

  • Stirton, C.H. 1983. Nocturnal petal movements in the Asteraceae. Bothalia 14: 1003–1006.
  • Vincent, P.L.D. & Wilson, S.L. 1997. The systematic value of the surface micromorphology and anatomy of cypselae of some members of the Senecioneae, Liabeae and Vernonieae (Asteraceae). South African Journal of Botany 63: 382–399.
 

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