Sunflower Family, Compositae
The family Asteraceae (syn. Compositae), known as the aster, daisy or sunflower family, is a taxon of dicotyledonous flowering plants. The family name is derived from the genus Aster and refers to the star-shaped flower head of its members, exemplified by the daisy. The Asteraceae is the second largest family in the Division Magnoliophyta, with about 1,100 genera and over 20,000 species. Only the orchid family (Orchidaceae) is larger, with about 25,000 described species .
|Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture|
Compositae (name having reference to the aggregation of the flowers into heads or false flowers, i.e., composite flowers). Composite Family. Herbs, shrubs, or rarely trees, sometimes twining, often with milky juice: leaves alternate, opposite or whorled, very diverse in shape, size and texture : flowers bisexual or unisexual, regular or irregular, epigynous; subtended by a bract called chaff; aggregated into 1- to many- flowered involucrate heads; calyx (pappus) reduced to hairs, scales, awns, or a border, or wanting; corolla gamopetalous, normally regular, 4—5-lobed; the lobes valvate; in one tribe bilabiate; often enlarged and split down one side, and flattened out (ligulate or ray flowers); stamens usually 4-5, epipetalous, syngenesious, alternating with the corolla lobes; carpels 2; ovary 1-celled, 1-ovuled, inferior; style 1; stigmas 2, rarely 1: fruit an achene, often crowned by the persistent pappus; seed exalbuminous.
This is one of the largest families of flowering plants, distributed over all parts of the earth, each tribe usually having a definite center of distribution. The largest genera are: Senecio, 1,200 species; Centaurea, 470; Vernonia, 450; Hieracium, 400; Helichrysum, 300; Baccharis, 275; Cousinia, 210; Artemisia, 200; Crepis, 170; Erigeron, 150; Chrysanthemum, 140; Saussurea, 125; Gnaphalium, 120; Circium, 120; Scorzonera, 100; Anthemis, 100. The Compositae, taken in the broad sense, is a well-defined family not closely related to any other large families. Its affinities are with the Campanulaceae, Dipsacaceae, and Valerianaceae. In general, the involucrate heads, epigynous gamopetalous flowers, syngenesious stamens, 1-seeded dry fruits and exalbuminous seeds are distinctive. In some genera the heads have no ray flowers (discoid), in others they have a marginal row, and in still others all the flowers are ligulate. Except in the last case, the ray flowers are without stamens, and frequently without a pistil (neutral). The style-branches are very diverse, and are important in the characterization of tribes. They are often provided with sweeping hairs which push the pollen from the introrse anthers up out of the anther tube as the style elongates. The anthers are caudate in two tribes, and in some genera the filaments contract abruptly when stimulated by touch. In Ambrosia and Xanthium, the anthers are separate, and the bracts of the 1-2-flowered pistillate involucre are fused, woody, indehiscent, and covered with spines or hooks.
The family is divided by Hoffman into 13 tribes, several of which are by some authors considered separate families.
Sub-family I. Disk flowers not ligulate; no milky sap. Consists of twelve tribes, separated on a basis of style-branches, anther-tails, chaff on the receptacle, and so on, as follows: Ironweed Tribe, Boneset T., Aster T., Elecampane T., Sunflower T., Sneezeweed T., Chamomile T., Senecio T., Pot Marigold T., Arctotis T.. Thistle T., Mutisia T.
Sub-family II. All flowers ligulate; juice milky. One tribe,—the Dandelion or Lettuce Tribe.
Medicinal Plants: The Compositae are rich in ethereal oils, fatty oils, resins and bitter principles, and therefore many species are used in medicine. Among others of less importance, the following may be noted: Artemisia Absinthium (wormwood), tonic, febrifuge, anthelmintic; A. Cina which furnishes santonica from which santonin is extracted, anthelmintic, stimulant; A. vulgaris (mug-wort) has been used as an emmenagogue and for epilepsy; Anthemis nobilis (Roman chamomile), tonic, nervine, emmenagogue; Matricaria Chamomilla (German chamomile), with similar properties; Tanacetum vulgare (tansy), tonic, anthelmintic, emmenagogue, diuretic; Arnica montana (arnica, leopard's bane), skin stimulant, diuretic; Inula Helenium (elecampane), skin stimulant; Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset, thorough-wort), tonic; diaphoretic, laxative; many Eupatoriums of the tropics, famed remedies for snake-bites; Tussilago Farfara (coltsfoot), sedative; Arctium Lappa and A. minus (burdock), diaphoretic, alterative, used for rheumatism; Calendula officinalis (marigold), diaphoretic, alterative; Lactuca saliva (lettuce), the thickened juice a narcotic, a substitute for opium; L. virosa (wild lettuce), furnishing lactucarium or lettuce opium, a poisonous anodyne, hypnotic, and sedative; Taraxacum officinale (dandelion), tonic, but injurious to digestion; species of Grindelia, tonic, sedative, used for asthma and rheumatism; Erigeron canadense (fleabane), used for diarrhea and uterine hemorrhage; Anacyclus Pyrethrum (pellitory), skin irritant; Achillea Millefolium (yarrow), an old remedy, styptic, tonic, sudorific, antispasmodic. Brauneria (Echinacea), Prenanthes, Xanthium, Helenium, Spilanthes, Baccharis, and Chrysanthemum Leucanthemum have been used locally to some extent. The pollen of ragweed (Ambrosia artemisifolia), less commonly of species of Solidago and other Compositae, is said to be the cause of autumnal hay-fever.
The following are used for food, as salads or cooked in various ways: Young foliage of Circium (thistles), Cynara Cardunculus (cardoon), Taraxacum officinale (dandelion), Cichorium Intybus (chicory), Lactuca sativa (lettuce), Cichorium Endivia (endive, succory), Pacourina edulis, and Scolymus hispanicus, (Spanish oyster plant); young flower heads of Cynara Scolymus (globe artichoke); roots of Tragopogon porrifolius (vegetable oyster, salsify), Scorzonera hispanica (Scorzonera, black salsify), Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke). Roots of chicory, roasted, are a substitute for coffee.
The following yield dyes: Carthamus tinctorius, (safflower) yields the red dye, carthamine; Serratula tinctoria (dyer's savory) yields a yellow dye.
The powdered heads of species of Chrysanthemum furnish insect powder. An oil is obtained from the seeds of Guizotia abyssinica (niger seeds) of India and Abyssinia, used for food, painting, and burning. Seeds of Madia sativa furnish an oil similar to olive oil, edible, illuminating, and lubricating. The seeds of Helianthus annuus also furnish a commercial oil.
Many Compositae are ornamental. The species of Helichrysum, Anaphalis, and related genera, have papery involucres, and furnish well-known everlastings.
More than 150 genera are in cultivation, or are important weeds. Many of our most important and most showy ornamental plants belong to the Compositae. Among these genera are: Achillea (Milfoil, Yarrow, Sneezewort); Ageratum; Anaphalis (Everlasting, Moonshine): Antennaria (Everlasting, Cat's-ear, Pussy's Toes, Ladies' Tobacco); Anthemis (Chamomile, Mayweed, Golden Marguerite); Arctium (Burdock); Arnica (Mountain Tobacco, Mountain Snuff); Artemisia (Wormwood, Tarragon, Estragon, Southernwood, Roman Wormwood, Old Man and Old Woman, Sage Brush); Aster (Aster, Starwort, Michaelmas Daisy); Bidens (Bur Marigold, Beggar's Ticks, Pitchfork Bur); Boltonia (False Chamomile); Brachycome (Swan River Daisy); Brickellia (Tassel Flower); Buphthalmum; Calendula (Marigold); Callistephus (China Aster); Cnicus or Carbenia (Blessed Thistle); Carthamus (Safflower, False Saffron); Centaurea (Centaury, Dusty Miller, Bachelor's Button, Cornflower, Knapweed, Bluebottle, Bluet, Ragged Sailor, Sweet Sultan, Basket Flower, Hardheads); Chaenactis; Chrysanthemum (Feverfew, Golden Feather, Turfing Daisy, Marguerite, Paris Daisy, Costmary, Mint Geranium, Giant Daisy, Ox-eye Daisy, White-weed); Cichorium (Chicory); Cineraria; Cirsium (common thistles); Coreopsis (Tick-seed, Golden Wave); Cosmos; Cynara (Artichoke, Cardoon); Dahlia; Doronicum (Leopard's-Bane); Echinacea or Brauneria (Purple Coneflower); Echinops (Globe Thistle); Emilia (Tassel Flower); Erigeron (Flea- bane, Poor Robin's Plantain); Eupatorium (Boneset, Joe-Pye Weed, Thoroughwort, White Snakeroot); Felicia (Blue Daisy, Blue Marguerite): Gaillardia; Gazania (Peacock Gazania); Grindelia (Gum Plant); Gynura (Velvet Plant); Helenium (Sneezeweed); Helianthus (Sunflower, Indian Potato, Jerusalem Artichoke); Helichrysum; Heliopsis; Helipterum; Hidalgoa (Treasure Vine); Hieracium (Hawkweed, Rattlesnake Weed, Devil's Paint-brush); Inula (Elecampane); Krigia (Dwarf Dandelion); Lactuca (Lettuce); Leontopodium (Edelweiss); Leptosyne; Liatris (Blazing Star, Button Snakeroot); Lonas (African Daisy); Madia (Tarweed); Matricaria; Mikania (Climbing Hempweed, Climbing Boneset); Onopordon (Cotton Thistle); Parthenium (American Feverfew, Prairie Dock); Pentachaeta; Petasites (Winter Heliotrope, Sweet Coltsfoot); Piqueria; Podolepis; Polymnia (Leaf-cup); Prenanthes (Rattle snake Root); Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan, Yellow Daisy, Coneflower, Golden Glow); Santolina (Lavender Cotton); Scolymus (Golden Thistle); Scorzonera (Black Salsify); Senecio (Groundsel, Canada Plant, Ragwort, German Ivy, Leopard Plant, Dusty Miller); Silphium (Rosin-Weed, Compass Plant, Prairie Dock, Cup Plant); Solidago (Goldenrod); Spilanthes(Para Cress); Stokesia (Stoke's Aster); Tagetes (French Marigold, African Marigold); Tanacetum (Tansy); Taraxacum (Dandelion) ; Thelysperma; Townsendia; Tragopogon (Salsify, Goat's Beard); Trilisa; Tussilago (Coltsfoot); Verbesina (Crownbeard); Vernonia (Ironweed); Zinnia (Zinnia). CH
- Tribe Arctotidae
- Tribe Cardueae
- Tribe Eremothamneae
- Tribe Lactuceae
- Tribe Liabeae
- Tribe Mutisieae
- Tribe Tarchonantheae
- Tribe Vernonieae
- Tribe Anthemideae
- Tribe Astereae
- Tribe Calenduleae
- Tribe Eupatorieae
- Tribe Gnaphalieae
- Tribe Helenieae
- Tribe Heliantheae
- Tribe Inuleae
- Tribe Plucheae
- Tribe Senecioneae
- Tribe Tageteae
See also List of Asteraceae genera
A typical Asteraceae flower head (here Bidens torta) showing the individual flowers
Flowers of a sunflower with different forms and phases (sterile ray flowers, disc flowers in female, male and unopened phases)
- Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, by L. H. Bailey, MacMillan Co., 1963
- w:Asteraceae. Some of the material on this page may be from Wikipedia, under the Creative Commons license.
- Asteraceae QR Code (Size 50, 100, 200, 500)
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