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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 20 | Asteraceae

187k. Asteraceae Martinov tribe Astereae Cassini, J. Phys. Chim. Hist. Nat. Arts. 88: 195. 1819.

Annuals, biennials, perennials, subshrubs, shrubs, or trees. Leaves usually cauline, sometimes mostly basal; alternate [opposite, whorled]; usually petiolate, sometimes sessile; margins entire or dentate to pinnatifid (often gland-dotted, especially in xerophytes). Heads homogamous (discoid; unisexual in Baccharis) or heterogamous (disciform or radiate), usually in corymbiform, paniculiform, racemiform, or spiciform arrays, sometimes borne singly. Calyculi 0. Phyllaries persistent or falling, usually in 3–5+ series (usually in spirals, sometimes in vertical ranks), distinct, unequal, and herbaceous to chartaceous or scarious or margins and/or apices notably scarious, sometimes in 1–2 series, distinct, subequal, and herbaceous with margins and/or apices barely to notably scarious. Receptacles usually flat to conic, sometimes concave, usually epaleate, rarely paleate (often foveolate, socket margins often fimbrillate; paleate in Eastwoodia and Rigiopappus). Ray florets 0 or in 1(–2+) series, usually pistillate, rarely neuter or styliferous and sterile; corollas usually yellow, cyanic, or white (laminae sometimes very reduced, e.g., Conyza spp.). Peripheral (pistillate) florets 0 or (in disciform heads) in 1–3+ series; corollas usually present, usually yellow, sometimes white, ochroleucous, or reddish to cyanic. Disc (inner) florets usually bisexual and fertile, rarely functionally staminate (e.g., Benitoa); corollas usually yellow, sometimes white, ochroleucous, or cyanic, actinomorphic, not 2-lipped, lobes (4–)5; anther bases obtuse or rounded, not tailed, apical appendages usually triangular to linear, sometimes none; styles abaxially glabrous and smooth or papillate (distally), branches ± linear, adaxially stigmatic in 2 lines from bases to apices or appendages, appendages usually deltate to lanceolate (abaxially papillate to hispidulous, adaxially smooth, glabrous). Cypselae monomorphic or dimorphic within heads, usually ± columnar to prismatic and 5-ribbed, sometimes compressed and 2-ribbed, rarely beaked, bodies smooth, muricate, ribbed, or rugulose (glabrous or hairy, hairs often glandular); pappi (rarely 0) usually persistent, usually of barbellulate to barbellate bristles in (1–)2–3+ series, sometimes of scales (scales sometimes aristate), rarely of both scales and bristles or of awns.

Genera 170, species 2800+ (77 genera, 719 species in the flora): almost worldwide, mostly temperate.

The classification and phylogeny of tribe Astereae has been the object of recent work, both morphologic (K. Bremer 1994; G. L. Nesom 1994, 2000) and molecular (notably the seminal paper by R. D. Noyes and L. H. Rieseberg 1999). Noyes and Rieseberg showed that most genera present in North America belong to a single monophyletic clade, called the North American clade. A series of subsequent studies done in various generic groups or subtribes led to a redefinition of many genera (see literature cited in each genus) and to the transfer of species between genera. The current treatment of the tribe reflects much of these novelties, many presented in a floristic work for the first time. Nesom and H. Robinson (unpubl.) present a worldwide overview of the classification of the tribe.

Large genera such as Erigeron, Symphyotrichum, and Solidago all originated on the continent and subsequently spread to Eurasia or South America. A few genera entered North America from neighboring continents, such as Aster in the strict sense (from Eurasia) or Baccharis (from Central America). A majority of Astereae genera in the flora of North America are endemic to the continent (more so if Mexico were included).

The generic order of the present treatment attempts to reflect the phylogenetic relationships established in recent molecular phylogenetic work.


Anderson, L. C. and J. B. Creech. 1975. Comparative leaf anatomy of Solidago and related Asteraceae. Amer. J. Bot. 62: 486–493. Beck, J. B. et al. 2004. Is subtribe Solidagininae (Asteraceae) monophyletic? Taxon 53: 691–698. Brouillet, L., L. E. Urbatsch, and R. P. Roberts. 2004. Tonestus kingii and T. aberrans are related to Eurybia and the Machaerantherinae (Asteraceae: Astereae) based on nrDNA (ITS and ETS) data: Reinstatement of Herrickia and a new genus, Triniteurybia. Sida 21: 889–900. Cronquist, A. and D. D. Keck. 1957. A reconstitution of the genus Machaeranthera. Brittonia 9: 231–239. Fiz, O., V. Valcárcel, and P. Vargas. 2002. Phylogenetic position of Mediterranean Astereae and character evolution of daisies (Bellis, Asteraceae) inferred from nrDNA ITS sequences. Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 25: 157–171. Hall, H. M. 1928. The genus Haplopappus: A phylogenetic study in the Compositae. Publ. Carnegie Inst. Wash. 389. Hartman, R. L. 1976. A Conspectus of Machaeranthera (Compositae: Astereae) and a Biosystematic Study of the Section Blepharodon. Ph.D. dissertation. University of Texas. Hartman, R. L. 1990. A conspectus of Machaeranthera (Asteraceae: Astereae). Phytologia 68: 439–465. Jones, A. G. 1980. A classification of New World species of Aster (Asteraceae). Brittonia 32: 230–239. Jones, A. G. and D. A. Young. 1983. Generic concepts of Aster (Asteraceae): A comparison of cladistic, phenetic and cytological approaches. Syst. Bot. 8: 71–84. Kapoor, B. M. and J. R. Beaudry. 1966. Studies on Solidago. VII. The taxonomic status of the taxa Brachychaeta, Brintonia, Chrysoma, Euthamia, Oligoneuron, and Petradoria in relation to Solidago. Canad. J. Genet. Cytol. 8: 422–443. Lane, M. A. 1982. Generic limits of Xanthocephalum, Gutierrezia, Amphiachyris, Gymnosperma, Greenella, and Thurovia. (Compositae: Astereae). Syst. Bot. 7: 405–416. Lane, M. A. et al. 1996. Relationships of North American genera of Astereae, based on chloroplast DNA restriction site data. In: D. J. N. Hind et al., eds. 1996. Proceedings of the International Compositae Conference, Kew, 1994. 2 vols. Kew. Vol. 1, pp. 49–77. Morgan, D. R. 1997. Reticulate evolution in Machaeranthera (Asteraceae). Syst. Bot. 22: 599–615. Morgan, D. R. 2003. nrDNA external transcribed spacer (ETS) sequence data, reticulate evolution, and the systematics of Machaeranthera (Asteraceae). Syst. Bot. 28: 179–190. Morgan, D. R. and R. L. Hartman. 2003. A synopsis of Machaeranthera (Asteraceae: Astereae), with recognition of segregate genera. Sida 20: 1837–1416. Morgan, D. R. and B. B. Simpson. 1992. A systematic study of Machaeranthera (Asteraceae) and related groups using restriction site analysis of chloroplast DNA. Syst. Bot. 17: 511–531. Nesom, G. L. 1991b. A phylogenetic hypothesis for the goldenasters (Asteraceae: Astereae). Phytologia 71: 136–151. Nesom, G. L. 1993b. Taxonomic infrastructure of Solidago and Oligoneuron (Asteraceae: Astereae) and observations on their phylogenetic position. Phytologia 75: 1–44. Nesom, G. L. 1994. Subtribal classification of the Astereae (Asteraceae). Phytologia 76: 193–274. Nesom, G. L. 1994b. Review of the taxonomy of Aster sensu lato (Asteraceae: Astereae), emphasizing the New World species. Phytologia 77: 141–297. Nesom, G. L. 1997. Taxonomic adjustments in North American Aster sensu latissimo (Asteraceae: Astereae). Phytologia 82: 281–288. Nesom, G. L. 2000. Generic Conspectus of the Tribe Astereae (Asteraceae) in North America, Central America, the Antilles, and Hawaii. Fort Worth. [Sida Bot. Misc. 20.] Noyes, R. D. 2000. Biogeographical and evolutionary insights on Erigeron and allies (Asteraceae) from ITS sequence data. Pl. Syst. Evol. 220: 93–114. Noyes, R. D. and L. H. Rieseberg. 1999. ITS sequence data support a single origin for North American Astereae (Asteraceae) and reflect deep geographic divisions in Aster s.l. Amer. J. Bot. 86: 398–412. Ruffin, J. 1974. A taxonomic evaluation of the genera Amphiachyris, Amphipappus, Greenella, Gutierrezia, Gymnosperma, Thurovia, and Xanthocephalum (Compositae). Sida 5: 301–333. Ruffin, J. 1977. Palynological survey of the genera Amphiachyris, Amphipappus, Greenella, Gutierrezia, Gymnosperma, and Xanthocephalum (Compositae). Contr. Gray Herb. 207: 117–131. Semple, J. C. and L. Brouillet. 1980. A synopsis of North American asters: The subgenera, sections and subsections of Aster and Lasallea. Amer. J. Bot. 67: 1010–1026. Semple, J. C., S. B. Heard, and L. Brouillet. 2002. Cultivated and Native Asters of Ontario (Compositae: Astereae). Aster L. (Including Asteromoea Blume, Diplactis Raf. and Kalimeris (Cass.) Cass.), Callistephus Cass., Galatella Cass., Doellingeria Nees, Oclemena E. L. Greene, Eurybia (Cass.) S. F. Gray, Canadanthus Nesom, and Symphyotrichum Nees (Including Virgulus Raf.). Waterloo. [Univ. Waterloo Biol. Ser. 41.] Semple, J. C. and J. L. A. Hood. 2005. Pappus variation in North American Asters. I. Double, triple and quadruple pappus in Symphyotrichum and related aster genera (Asteraceae: Astereae). Sida 21: 2141–2159. Semple, J. C., G. S. Ringius, and J. J. Zhang. 1999. The Goldenrods of Ontario: Solidago L. and Euthamia Nutt., ed. 3. Waterloo. [Univ. Waterloo Biol. Ser. 39.] Semple, J. C. and L. Tebby. 1999. A cladistic analysis of subtribe Chrysopsidinae (Asteraceae: Astereae). In: International Botanical Congress. [1999.] Abstracts. XVI International Botanical Congress, St. Louis, USA, August 1–7, 1999. [St. Louis.] Abstr. 2852, poster 401. Solbrig, O. T. 1960. The status of the genera Amphiachyris, Amphipappus, Greenella, Gutierrezia, Gymnosperma, and Xanthocephalum (Compositae). Rhodora 62: 43–53. Suh, Y. and B. B. Simpson. 1990. Phylogenetic analysis of chloroplast DNA in North American Gutierrezia and related genera (Asteraceae: Astereae). Syst. Bot. 660–670. Turner, B. L. 1987b. Taxonomic study of Machaeranthera, sections Machaeranthera and Hesperastrum (Asteraceae). Phytologia 62: 207–266. Urbatsch, L. E., R. P. Roberts, and V. Karaman. 2003. Phylogenetic evaluation of Xylothamia, Gundlachia, and related genera (Asteraceae, Astereae) based on ETS and ITS nrDNA sequence data. Amer. J. Bot. 90: 634–649. Xiang, C. and J. C. Semple. 1996. Molecular systematic study of Aster sensu lato and related genera (Asteraceae: Astereae) based on chloroplast DNA restriction site analyses and mainly North American taxa. In: D. J. N. Hind et al., eds. 1996. Proceedings of the International Compositae Conference, Kew, 1994. 2 vols. Kew. Vol. 1, pp. 393–423. Zanowiak, D. J. 1991. An Analysis of Systematic and Phyletic Relationships within Baccharidinae (Asteraceae: Astereae). Ph.D. dissertation. Texas A&M University. Zhang, J. J. 1996. A Molecular Biosystematic Study on North American Solidago and Related Genera (Asteraceae: Astereae) Based on Chloroplast DNA RFLP Analysis (Phylogenetics). Ph.D. dissertation. University of Waterloo.

Key to Genera of Tribe Astereae

1 (1) Trees, shrubs (sometimes clambering, sprawling, or vinelike), or subshrubs   Key A, p. 5
+ Annuals, biennials, or perennials   (2)
2 (1) Annuals or biennials   Key B
+ Perennials   Key C

List of Keys

  • List of lower taxa


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