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Family Asteraceae

Synonyms: Compositae APNI*

Description: Annual, biennial, or perennial herbs, shrubs or rarely climbers.

Leaves opposite and/or alternate, often in a basal rosette, margins entire to deeply lobed, membranous to leathery; stipules absent.

Inflorescence a solitary head on a scape, or several heads in a compound inflorescence; sometimes with the heads aggregated into compound heads; each head surrounded by an involucre of 1–several rows of bracts, sometimes spinose; florets ± sessile on a receptacle, sometimes each subtended by a scale, bisexual or unisexual, rarely in unisexual heads. Calyx modified as a pappus of scales, bristles, barbs, horns, scarious cup or ring or absent. Corolla of 3 types: (1) disc florets that are tubular with 3–5 equal lobes, usually fertile; (2) ray florets where the corolla tube is slit along one side and an extended limb forms the ray (ligule) of the floret; often female or neuter by abortion of styles; (3) outer female florets filiform with corolla tube slender and tapering to a minutely toothed apex; or corolla sometimes lacking. Within a single head flowers may be (1) all tubular, (2) tubular and filiform, (3) tubular and ligulate, (4) allligulate. Receptacle usually a fleshy flat disc, sometimes an elongated club-shaped structure. Stamens 5, alternate with petals and the lower part of filaments usually fused to the corolla tube; anthers 2-locular, usually cohering to form a cylinder. Ovary inferior, 1-locular; ovule solitary, basal; style with 2 stigmatic branches or unbranched in sterile florets.

Fruit an achene, often with a persistent pappus of hairs, bristles or scales; achenes produced by different floret types are often different.

Photo J. Plaza

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 1100 genera, 24 000 species, cosmopolitan. Australia: c. 205 genera, 970 species, all States.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Asteraceae, Order: Asterales)

Text by E. A. Brown and contributors as listed under genus headings
Taxon concept:

Head, florets, stamens and achenes in Asteraceae. A, head in L.S.; B, stamens with anthers tailed and with apical appendages; C, ray floret; D, filiform floret; E, disc floret; FK, achenes with pappus of different types; F, pappus of bristles; G, pappus of scales; H, pappus scales reduced to a cup; I, pappus of awns; J, achene with neck and pappus reduced to a thickened ring; K, achene beaked, pappus of bristles.

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Acroptilon,    Allittia,    Argentipallium,    Argyrotegium,    Bellis,    Calyptocarpus,    Coronidium,    Dimorphocoma,    Euchiton,    Gamochaeta,    Glebionis,    Gynura,    Hieracium,    Lordhowea,    Mauranthemum,    Oncosiphon,    Paenula,    Pentzia

 Key to the genera 
1Heads (i.e. whole inflorescence) forming burrs in fruit, or spiny and borne sessile in axils of leaves along stems11
Heads not forming burrs in fruit or if with stiff barbed bristles then borne in terminal heads2
2Flower heads with all florets ligulate (not including petaloid stigmas that sometimes look like ligules); with milky latex37
Flower heads with all florets tubular or some florets ligulate and some tubular; lacking milky latex
                       Back to 1
3All florets tubular and/or some filiform, or if some ligulate then ligules less than 3 mm long (involucral bracts sometimes coloured and resembling ligules or sometimes lobes of corolla long and resembling ligules)4
Outer florets with ligules more than 3 mm long
                       Back to 2
4Receptacle bearing inner tubular florets with scales or bristles; leaves usually spinose (thistles); styles with tuft of hairs below stigma branches60
Receptacle glabrous or if with scales then leaves not spinose; styles glabrous
                       Back to 3
5Leaves opposite, at least lower ones71
Leaves alternately arranged and/or in basal rosette
                       Back to 4
6Involucral bracts in 1 whorl, rarely with a few much shorter ones at base; usually fused, although sometimes only at the base; flower heads simple71
Involucral bracts in 2 or more whorls and free, or with compound flower heads
                       Back to 5
7Flower heads clustered into compound heads with scales or leaves more or less densely arranged around it, rarely without100
Flower heads solitary and/or stalked
                       Back to 6
8Pappus absent or reduced to a vestigial scarious cup121
Pappus of bristles or scales at least subequal to the achene
                       Back to 7
9Leaves opposite, at least lower ones11
Leaves alternately arranged and/or in basal rosette
                       Back to 3
10Pappus present and usually prominent202
Pappus absent, reduced to less than 1 mm or cup-like
                       Back to 9
11Fruit (i.e. achenes plus fused involucral bracts) spiny or burrs, in axils of leaves along stems (flower heads sometimes in spike-like inflorescences)12
Achenes not inside a fused fruit-like structure (sometimes enfolded by a conduplicate, unfused bract or scale); flower head not forming a burr, if spiny or with barbed hairs then borne in terminal heads
                       Back to 9
12Leaves opposite, sometimes alternate above; fruit consisting of 1 ray achene enveloped by one of the modified inner involucral bracts; 1–several borne on the common receptacle, within the outer involucral bractsAcanthospermum
All leaves spirally arranged or in basal rosette; all the involucral bracts united to form a hard burr or nut enclosing 1 or more achenes; 1–several fruits borne in the leaf axils
                       Back to 11
13Leaves entire, toothed, or if lobed then fruits covered with recurved spinesXanthium
Leaves deeply divided
                       Back to 12
14Bracts and whole plant covered with glandular hairs15
Bracts and whole plant without glands
                       Back to 11
15Leaves linear, opposite below, alternate aboveMadia
Leaves lanceolate to elliptic, opposite
                       Back to 14
16Corolla of outer florets longer than 8 mm17
Corolla of outer florets up to 5 mm long
                       Back to 14
17Leaves entire, toothed, or shallowly lobed18
Leaves, at least lower ones, deeply lobed
                       Back to 16
18Leaves sessile and usually clasping stem19
Leaves petiolate or constricted towards base and not clasping stem
                       Back to 17
19Leaves usually entire; involucral bracts in at least 3 rowsZinnia
Leaves usually toothed; involucral bracts in 2 rows
                       Back to 18
20Pappus of many hairs21
Pappus of few hairs, absent, or otherwise
                       Back to 18
21Plants prostrateTridax
Plants erect shrubs or subshrubs
                       Back to 20
22Achenes wingedVerbesina
Achenes angled or compressed but without wings
                       Back to 20
23Receptacle conicalAcmella
Receptacle flat or convex
                       Back to 22
24Heads in groups of 3; leaves ovate to rhombic, toothedMelanthera
Heads solitary; leaves narrow-lanceolate, more or less entire to toothed or minutely lobed
                       Back to 23
25Lobes of leaves up to 2 mm wideCosmos
Lobes 4–50 mm wide
                       Back to 17
26Shrubs 1–4 m high; ligules of florets whiteMontanoa
Subshrubs less than 1 m high; ligules of florets yellow
                       Back to 25
27Receptacle naked28
Receptacle with scales or chaffy
                       Back to 16
28Involucral bracts in 1 row and fused; plant with pungent smellTagetes
Involucral bracts in several rows, free
                       Back to 27
29Pappus consisting of bristles or scales30
Pappus absent, rarely a cup, very short hairs or scales
                       Back to 27
30Leaves pinnately dividedBidens
Leaves entire or toothed
                       Back to 29
31Bracts covered with stalked glandsSigesbeckia
Bracts without glands
                       Back to 29
32Tubular florets sterile; involucral bracts in 1 row or if in 2 rows then outer row with 2–5 bracts33
All florets fertile; involucral bracts numerous, in 2 or more rows
                       Back to 31
33Leaves opposite; plants aquatic to semi-aquatic with soft creeping stems rooting at the nodesEnydra
Leaves alternate (lower ones often opposite) or clustered; lacking the above combination of features
                       Back to 32
34Involucral bracts enfolding the ray achenes, with shortly spiny tips, sparsely hairyHemizonia
Involucral bracts not enfolding the ray achenes, with membranous margins, woolly
                       Back to 33
35Receptacle conicalAcmella
Receptacle flat or slightly convex
                       Back to 32
36Outer achenes triangular in section, inner ones compressedEclipta
All achenes in flower head similar
                       Back to 35
37Florets blue or violet, rarely white38
Florets yellow
                       Back to 2
38Pappus of feathery hairsTragopogon
Pappus of minute scales
                       Back to 37
39Receptacle of flower head with scales40
Receptacle naked
                       Back to 37
40Stems with spiny wings; plants spinyScolymus
Stems without wings; soft herbs
                       Back to 39
41Involucral bracts in 1 whorl42
Involucral bracts in more than 1 whorl and often with much smaller ones at base of flower head
                       Back to 39
42Pappus featheryUrospermum
Pappus scaly or bristle-like
                       Back to 41
43All leaves in basal rosette44
Leaves basal and/or on erect stem (cauline leaves often much smaller)
                       Back to 41
44All, or most achenes with a filiform beak longer than the fertile portion; scaly-muricate or muricate-spinulose in upper partTaraxacum
Achenes lacking filiform beak or beak not filiform and less than half the length of the fertile portion
                       Back to 43
45Pappus of free scarious scales with acuminate apices produced into barbellate bristlesMicroseris
Pappus of numerous plumose or barbellate bristles
                       Back to 44
46Bristles barbellate; pappus of inner and outer achenes similarYoungia
Bristles plumose; pappus of inner and outer achenes frequently dissimilar
                       Back to 45
47Achenes drawn into long neck48
Achenes abruptly truncated at apex
                       Back to 43
48Pappus hairs feathery49
Pappus hairs simple
                       Back to 47
49Achenes tapered at apex or more or less truncate; hairs 2-fid, base not expandedPicris
Achenes abruptly narrowed at apex into a filiform beak; hairs 3–5-fid, base expanded
                       Back to 48
50Achenes strongly compressedLactuca
Achenes not compressed
                       Back to 48
51Achenes with at least 1 ring of teeth below beakChondrilla
Achenes without ring of teeth
                       Back to 50
52All achenes laterally compressed53
Achenes not laterally compressed, or sometimes the outer ones dorsiventrally compressed
                       Back to 47
53Achenes elliptic in outline, both ends narrowed, sometimes cylindrical, margins wingless or narrow-winged; ribs never raised to form small wingsSonchus
Achenes flask-shaped in outline, constricted at the apex, margins with broad flat wings; ribs may be raised to form smaller secondary wings
                       Back to 52
54Pappus hairs feathery55
Pappus hairs simple or absent
                       Back to 52
55Achenes with a pale thickened hollow base c. a third as long as acheneScorzonera
Achenes not thickened at base
                       Back to 54
56Pappus absent, achenes with 20 ribsLapsana
Pappus present, rarely absent and then achenes with 4 ribs
                       Back to 54
57Achenes with 6 to several ribs58
Achenes rough and 4-ribbed
                       Back to 56
58Involucral bracts and upper peduncle with glandular hairsCrepis
Involucral bracts and upper peduncle glabrous
                       Back to 57
59Pappus scale-like broadened at the baseTolpis
Pappus fine silky hairs
                       Back to 57
60Flower heads with 1 floret, grouped into globose (compound) headsEchinops
Flower heads usually with many florets, not grouped into compound heads
                       Back to 4
61Receptacle of flower head glabrousOnopordum
Receptacle with scales or bristles
                       Back to 60
62Receptacle with scales63
Receptacle with bristles
                       Back to 61
63Achenes more or less cylindrical and ribbedHemisteptia
Achenes compressed or flat
                       Back to 62
64Involucral bracts with spreading spinesCirsium
Involucral bracts without spines and recurved or hooked
                       Back to 63
65Involucral bracts loose and leaf-likeCarthamus
Involucral bracts scale-like and more or less appressed
                       Back to 62
66Achenes obliquely attached to receptacleCentaurea
Achenes vertically attached to receptacle
                       Back to 65
67Leaves white-veined or variegated above; achenes compressed; anther filaments joined into a tube which encloses the basal appendages of the anthersSilybum
Leaves usually uniformly coloured above; achenes terete, sometimes ribbed; anther filaments free
                       Back to 66
68Pappus 2 rows of bristles; the outer long and scabrous, the inner much shorter (less than half as long) and ciliateCnicus
Pappus not composed of 2 rows of bristles of markedly differing length
                       Back to 67
69Involucral bracts ending in spines70
Involucral bracts not ending in spines
                       Back to 68
70Pappus hairs simpleCarduus
Pappus hairs feathery
                       Back to 69
71Leaves opposite at least at base, rarely in whorls72
Leaves alternately arranged and/or radical
                       Back to 6
72Flower heads compound100
Flower heads simple
                       Back to 71
73Leaves lobed to deeply divided74
Leaves entire or toothed
                       Back to 72
74Pappus absent; water plant with soft branches; involucral bracts 4 and freeEnydra
Pappus hair-like or with bristles or scales; not a water plant; involucral bracts more than 4 or fused
                       Back to 73
75Upper leaves clasping stem; pappus of fine hairsEmilia
All leaves not clasping; pappus of few bristles or of scales
                       Back to 74
76Involucral bracts fused into tube; plant with pungent smellTagetes
Involucral bracts free; plants usually odourless
                       Back to 75
77Pappus of 2–4 stiff, barbed awns; receptacle scales present, but not persistentBidens
Pappus of 8–10 membranous scales (sometimes darkly striated at the apex); receptacle scales absent
                       Back to 76
78Achenes narrow-cylindrical with a long straight or curved beak; outer florets strongly decurved and overhanging involucreMillotia
Achenes and florets lacking the above combination of characters
                       Back to 73
79Pappus absent or very small80
Pappus at least half as long as achenes or gland-tipped
                       Back to 78
80Flower head covered with glandular hairs81
Flower heads without glands
                       Back to 79
81Style branches slightly exserted but not petaloid; ray florets with very small ligules; receptacle with somewhat persistent scalesSigesbeckia
Style branches long-exserted and petal-like; all florets tubular; receptacle naked
                       Back to 80
82Achenes flat with involute herbaceous wings with large incurved appendages at the apex; small annual herbsCeratogyne
Achenes lacking involute wings with apical appendages; large annual to perennial herbs
                       Back to 80
83Receptacle naked (occasionally with innermost involucral bracts scale-like or scales sporadic); all florets tubular; inconspicuous pappus presentAgeratum
Receptacle with scales; ray florets shortly ligulate; pappus absent
                       Back to 82
84Involucral bracts fused at base and with glandular hairs; flower heads with 4 or 5 floretsStevia
Involucral bracts not as above; flower heads with numerous florets
                       Back to 79
85Involucral bracts membranous86
Involucral bracts herbaceous sometimes with membranous margins
                       Back to 84
86All florets bisexualRutidosis
Few outer florets female
                       Back to 85
87Pappus hairs gland-tippedAdenostemma
Pappus without glands
                       Back to 85
88Leaves linear to oblong, entire89
Leaves lanceolate to ovate, toothed
                       Back to 87
89Involucral bracts linear to linear-lanceolateGlossocardia
Involucral bracts broad
                       Back to 88
90Pappus of 5 or more fragile bristles, soon falling from the acheneAgeratina
Pappus of scales, awns or rudimentary
                       Back to 88
91Pappus of scales, usually with awnsAgeratum
Pappus 2–4 stiff, retrorsely barbed awns
                       Back to 90
92Pappus purplish-mauveErechtites
Pappus white or almost so
                       Back to 71
93Florets orange to deep red or purple at least at top94
Florets yellow to white
                       Back to 92
94Leaves clasping upper stemsEmilia
Leaves not clasping stems
                       Back to 93
95Marginal florets sterileArrhenechthites
Marginal florets fertile
                       Back to 93
96Achenes narrow-cylindrical with a long straight or curved beak; outer florets strongly decurved and overhanging involucreMillotia
Achenes and florets lacking the above combination of characters
                       Back to 95
97Outer achenes flattenedCineraria
Outer achenes not flattened
                       Back to 96
98Plants erect or decumbent, occasionally prostrate but never scandent, twining nor diffuse99
Plants scandent semi-succulent twiners or trailers
                       Back to 97
99Annual to perennial herbs, or shrubs with ligulate ray floretsSenecio
Shrubs or small trees, florets all tubular
                       Back to 98
100Leaves opposite; dichotomously branching (repeatedly branching from below terminal inflorescence)Flaveria
Leaves all or mostly alternate, or crowded
                       Back to 72
101Leaves 1–2-pinnatifid; margins spinoseEchinops
Leaves with margins toothed or entire, margins not spinose
                       Back to 100
102Branches with herbaceous wings extending from leaf bases down the internode; leaves mostly toothedPterocaulon
Branches not winged; leaves entire
                       Back to 101
103Common involucre surrounding the compound head of numerous scarious, opaque white or yellow bractsMyriocephalus
Common involucre of few green leaves, scales or absent
                       Back to 102
104Heads with 2 types of florets (tubular and more or less filiform)105
Heads with 1 type of floret
                       Back to 103
105Leaves spathulate with petiole usually distinctly longer than the broad-circular to broad-obovate laminaStuartina
Leaves linear, lanceolate, or oblanceolate
                       Back to 104
106Plants with erect stemsGnaphalium
Plants stemless
                       Back to 105
107Inflorescence sessile at ground level, usually in a rosette of leaves108
Inflorescence terminal on aerial stems or scapes
                       Back to 104
108Pappus of 4 or 5 stiff bristles fused at the baseActinobole
Pappus absent
                       Back to 107
109Pappus absent110
Pappus present
                       Back to 107
110Corolla hairy; common involucre absent; florets 20–40 per individual headEriochlamys
Corolla lacking hairs; common involucre present; florets 1 or 2 per head
                       Back to 109
111Involucral bracts papillate at tips; leaves hairy at the base onlyPogonolepis
Involucral bracts not papillate at tips; leaves usually densely hairy
                       Back to 110
112Pappus of 8–12 subplumose bristles, united at the base for about half the length of corolla tube. Plants prostrate, with reddish, somewhat wiry stems terminating in very woolly compound headsLemooria
Pappus absent or not as above; plants lacking the above combination of features
                       Back to 111
113General receptacle with long bristlesTrichanthodium
General receptacle glabrous
                       Back to 112
114Achenes with dense, entwined hairsGnephosis
Achenes papillose, glabrous
                       Back to 113
115Bracts subtending heads more or less similar to involucral bracts (except sometimes more concave); achenes brownAngianthus
Bracts subtending heads unlike involucral bracts; achenes pink or purple
                       Back to 114
116Achenes tapering to long terminal beakWaitzia
Achenes otherwise
                       Back to 109
117Pappus much shorter than the corollaGnephosis
Pappus more or less equal in length to corolla
                       Back to 116
118Achenes glabrous to papilloseCalocephalus
Achenes hairy
                       Back to 117
119Inflorescence branching, heads and branches subtended by large cordate leaves or bracts that ± enclose the headElephantopus
Inflorescence simple, rarely branching from within the heads; heads with or without small enclosing bracts that in no way envelope the heads
                       Back to 118
120Heads pedunculate within the compound head; bracts and pappus hairs white (or bracts brown-tinged)Craspedia
Heads sessile within the compound head; bracts and pappus hairs yellow
                       Back to 119
121Leaves entire or toothed122
Leaves deeply divided and pinnatifid
                       Back to 8
122Achenes drawn into a terminal beak123
Achenes more or less abruptly truncated at apex
                       Back to 121
123Rosette forming perennial124
Erect or low-growing annual, biennial or perennial
                       Back to 122
124Ray florets with small but well-developed ligules; beak of achenes well-developed, often densely glandular, apex with a thickened pale collarLagenophora
Ray florets with ligules rudimentary or absent; beak of achenes rudimentary or absent, glands lacking or rarely with a few near the apex, thickened apical collar absent
                       Back to 123
125Achenes with short beaks (less than a quarter the length of achene), glandular near apex; erect herb 30–60 cm high, flower heads noddingCarpesium
Achenes with long beaks (more than half the length of achene), woolly near apex; small more or less prostrate herb with stems 1–4 cm long, flower heads erect
                       Back to 123
126Florets blue to purple127
Florets yellow or white to light green, sometimes tinged red
                       Back to 122
127Achenes usually 4-angled or ribbed; glandular, with thickened apical ring resembling pappusEthulia
Achenes 8 to 10 ribs; non-glandular, pappus of bristles (often caducous)
                       Back to 126
128Receptacle with scales; flower head usually surrounded by numerous white, papery involucral bracts 5–10 mm longAmmobium
Receptacle naked; flower head, if surrounded by white involucral bracts, with a pappus of non-persistent bristles
                       Back to 126
129All florets tubular to campanulate130
Outer florets reduced, filiform or with a small ligule; differing in shape from the inner florets
                       Back to 128
130Achenes dark brown to black, tuberculate; herb to c. 60 cm high, more or less woollyAcomis
Achenes not dark brown to black, nor tuberculate; habit various
                       Back to 129
131Involucral bracts multiseriate132
Involucral bracts in 2 rows
                       Back to 130
132Shrubs; glabrous to minutely glandular hairy, viscid; involucral bracts pale golden brown to straw-colouredHaeckeria
Biennial herbs; more or less woolly, aromatic; involucral bracts pale brown tinged with pink, occasionally almost colourless
                       Back to 131
133Annual herbs with wiry stems; corolla woolly at base, glandular near apexEriochlamys
Annual or perennial herbs lacking wiry stems; corolla glabrous and non-glandular
                       Back to 131
134Leaves lyrate-pinnatifid; outer florets tubular, inner ones campanulateDichrocephala
Leaves entire to pinnate; florets tubular
                       Back to 133
135Achenes pedicellate, dimorphic; outer glandular-hairy, winged; inner sparsely glandular-hairy, with narrow marginal ridgeCotula
Achenes non-pedicellate; outer glabrous, not winged; inner failing to develop
                       Back to 134
136Pappus of bristle-like hairs present when flowering, caducous at achenes maturity137
Pappus absent or minute throughout floral development
                       Back to 129
137Achenes sparsely to densely hairy; involucral bracts never clawed, herbaceous with scarious marginsBlumea
Achenes glabrous; involucral bracts with scarious claw, inner bracts with white or coloured lamina
                       Back to 136
138Flower heads sessile; achenes with spines (2 ciliate horns) at apexCeratogyne
Flower heads on a distinct stalk; if sessile, achenes without horns
                       Back to 136
139All leaves in a basal rosette140
Leaves along erect or creeping stems and at base
                       Back to 138
140Ray florets with small but well-developed ligules; beak of achenes well-developed, often densely glandular, apex with a thickened pale collarLagenophora
Ray florets with ligules rudimentary or absent; beak of achenes rudimentary or absent, glands lacking or rarely with a few near the apex, thickened apical collar absent
                       Back to 139
141Flower heads solitary on terminal pedunclesCotula
Flower heads either in terminal panicles, racemes or axillary and almost sessile
                       Back to 139
142Ray florets with small, deeply 3-lobed, yellow ligulesMadia
Ray florets tubular to filiform
                       Back to 141
143Achenes with 3–5 obtuse ribs which frequently fail to extend to the apex, usually pubescentCentipeda
Achenes with 8–10 fine ribs reaching to the apex, glabrous except for a few bristles at the base
                       Back to 142
144Shrub with persistent woody stemsArtemisia
Annual or perennial herbs, rarely subshrubs with a short woody base
                       Back to 121
145Flower heads sessile among the leaves; achenes with 1 or more apical spinesSoliva
Flower heads pedunculate; achenes spineless
                       Back to 144
146Flower heads numerous in dense compound corymbs or large terminal panicles147
Flower heads solitary or in corymbs of 2 or 3
                       Back to 145
147Receptacle scales absentTanacetum
Receptacle scales present
                       Back to 146
148Florets sessile on the receptacle, which appears slightly pitted when the achenes have fallen; plants erect to ascendingMatricaria
Florets raised above the receptacle on minute pedicels which persist when the achenes have fallen, plants erect; or florets sessile, plants creeping
                       Back to 146
149Disc florets usually fertile, style bifid; achenes with blunt uniseriate hairs on surface; plants usually erect or decumbentCotula
Disc florets sterile, style ending in circular disc; achenes glabrous; plants usually prostrate creeping herbs rooting at the nodes
                       Back to 148
150Plants dioecious (i.e. individual plants with flower heads containing either male or female florets)151
Plants monoecious (i.e. flower heads usually with some bisexual flowers or male and female flowers on same plant)
                       Back to 8
151Plants low-growing soft herbs152
Plants shrubs or undershrubs with persistent woody stems
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152Achenes glabrous, dimorphic; pappus persistent; outer involucral bracts scariousParantennaria
Achenes with appressed hairs; pappus not persistent; outer involucral bracts papery white at tip
                       Back to 151
153Flower heads terminal, solitary; leaves sessileCratystylis
Flower heads in panicles; leaves petiolate
                       Back to 151
154Leaves crowded, spathulate, indented at apex and clasping stemFacelis
Leaves not as above
                       Back to 150
155Pappus a cup or scales; margin of scales sometimes hair-like and feathery156
Pappus of simple, barbed or feathery bristles
                       Back to 154
156Receptacle scales presentAmmobium
Receptacle scales absent
                       Back to 155
157Achenes densely hairy158
Achenes glabrous or with short globose hairs
                       Back to 156
158Tufted herb; flower heads basal, sessile, densely crowded amongst long linear leavesIsoetopsis
Decumbent to ascending herb; flower heads terminal, pedunculate, overtopping short linear leaves
                       Back to 157
159Leaves deeply dissected to pinnate; ray floret ligulate, solitary, yellow; pappus scales darkly striated at apexSchkuhria
Leaves entire; ray florets absent; pappus scales not darkly striated at apex
                       Back to 157
160Shrubs with persistent woody stems161
Annual or perennial herbs, rarely subshrubs with a short woody base
                       Back to 155
161Branches spine-tippedAcanthocladium
Branches not spine-tipped
                       Back to 160
162Flower heads with outer fertile female florets surrounding bisexual or functionally male florets163
Flower heads with all florets similar
                       Back to 161
163Female florets uniseriate; inner florets fertile, producing achenesOlearia
Female florets multiseriate; inner florets functionally male, not producing achenes
                       Back to 162
164Tips of involucral bracts straight to incurved; receptacle with scalesCassinia
Tips of involucral bracts spreading; receptacle lacking scales
                       Back to 162
165Ray florets with small ligules166
Ray florets absent or lacking ligules
                       Back to 160
166Outer involucral bracts sessile; inner bracts with scarious lamina on longer more or less herbaceous to hardened clawsPodolepis
Outer involucral bracts not differing markedly from the inner ones; inner bracts lacking claws
                       Back to 165
167Ligules and disc florets all yellow168
Ligules white to blue, purple or pink; disc florets usually a contrasting colour, typically yellow or violet
                       Back to 166
168Dwarf shrub with terete more or less succulent leavesKippistia
Herbs with flat non-succulent leaves
                       Back to 167
169Annual, sticky and aromatic due to glandular hairs; anthers tailed at the baseSolidago
Perennial with rhizomes, non-glandular; anthers obtuse at the base
                       Back to 168
170Achenes with long neckIxiochlamys
Achenes lacking a long neck
                       Back to 167
171Disc florets sterile, producing abortive achenesMinuria
Disc florets fertile
                       Back to 170
172Involucral bracts a dark purple-brown, with white marginsDichromochlamys
Involucral bracts green
                       Back to 171
173Flower heads numerous in paniclesConyza
Flower heads solitary or in loose groups of 2–4
                       Back to 172
174Involucral bracts reflexed in fruit; disc florets yellow; achenes flattenedErigeron
Involucral bracts not reflexed in fruit; disc florets purple; achenes terete
                       Back to 173
175Leaves serrate to dissected or lobed176
Leaves entire
                       Back to 165
176Inner involucral bracts with fringed apices, far exceeded by the floretsRhaponticum
Inner involucral bracts with entire apices, subequal to the florets
                       Back to 175
177Fertile achenes lacking a pappus of bristles (aborted achenes sometimes with 2–5 weak barbellate bristles)Epaltes
Achenes with a pappus of free bristles
                       Back to 176
178Inner florets functionally male; achenes sterilePluchea
Inner florets bisexual or functionally female, capable of producing fertile achenes
                       Back to 177
179Pappus uniseriateBlumea
Pappus 2-seriate; outer bristles shorter than the inner ones
                       Back to 178
180Involucral bracts (at least the outer ones) with ciliate margin181
Involucral bracts lacking a ciliate margin (but outer ones sometimes woolly or lacerate)
                       Back to 175
181Lamina of the involucral bracts conspicuous, petaloid, papery, white to coloured; achenes with a distinct filiform, sterile beakWaitzia
Lamina of the involucral bracts inconspicuous, scarious to plumose, if conspicuously petaloid and white or coloured then achenes lacking beak
                       Back to 180
182Flower heads terminal on long peduncles; not surrounded by a cluster of leaves183
Flower heads terminal on short branches, sessile; usually surrounded by a cluster of leaves
                       Back to 181
183Corollas overhanging the margin of the involucre; achenes 3- or 4-ribbed, often with a distinct sterile beakLeptorhynchos
Corollas not overhanging the involucre; achenes without ribs and lacking a beak
                       Back to 182
184Involucral bracts uniseriate or almost so, equal, herbaceousMillotia
Involucral bracts multiseriate, frequently with inner bracts longer then the outer ones, herbaceous to scarious or coloured
                       Back to 180
185Involucral bracts with lamina never petaloid, white or brightly coloured186
Involucral bracts with lamina petaloid, papery, white to brightly coloured
                       Back to 184
186All florets filiformScorzonera
Florets tubular and filiform or all tubular
                       Back to 185
187Outer filiform florets in 2 to several whorls188
Filiform florets few to absent
                       Back to 186
188Flower heads sessile to subsessile in dense globose to spicate clusters, frequently subtended by a whorl of leaves; involucral bracts scarious; plants woolly, especially lower leaf surfaceGnaphalium
Flower heads pedunculate, usually in large panicles, not subtended by a whorl of leaves; involucral bracts herbaceous, sometimes with scarious margin; plants not woolly
                       Back to 187
189Creeping, aromatic herb with glandular hairs; achenes on short pedicels which persist on the receptacle; florets tubularPodotheca
Habit not creeping, lacking the above combination of characters
                       Back to 187
190Receptacle with scales; plant a white-tomentose aromatic herb with amplexicaul leavesApalochlamys
Receptacle lacking scales; plant lacking the above combination of characters
                       Back to 189
191Pappus 2-seriate; outer bristles shorter than the inner; not fusedVernonia
Pappus uniseriate; shortly fused at the base
                       Back to 190
192Achenes with a slender sterile beak below the pappusLeptorhynchos
Achenes without a slender sterile beak below the pappus
                       Back to 191
193Outer bracts often extending down the peduncle, broad and membranous, the herbaceous base reduced and broadly triangularLeptorhynchos
Outer bracts never extending down the peduncle, linear or oblong, green and herbaceous throughout except for membranous apex
                       Back to 192
194Outer and inner involucral bracts uniformly scarious, never clawed; flower heads yellowPseudognaphalium
Inner and intermediate involucral bracts divided into a cartilaginous-herbaceous basal claw and a conspicuous lamina; colour of bracts various
                       Back to 185
195Pappus plumose from the base (broader basal region sometimes lacks ornamentation)196
Pappus either barbellate from the base, or plumose only at apex, or more or less subplumose at the base and barbellate at apex
                       Back to 194
196Achenes hairyRhodanthe
Achenes glabrous
                       Back to 195
197Achenes ellipsoid, verrucose; pappus persistent, eventually breaking shortly above base; leaves with more or less flat laminaLeucochrysum
Achenes oblong to obovoid, smooth or papillose; pappus united in a ring at the base and falling as a unit; leaves more or less terete
                       Back to 196
198Florets purple, at least apicallyVellereophyton
Florets yellow
                       Back to 195
199Inflorescence a dense terminal cluster of small subsessile heads; female florets more numerous than the disc floretsPseudognaphalium
Inflorescence not as above; female florets less numerous than the disc florets
                       Back to 198
200Pappus bristles shortly plumose at the apexAnemocarpa
Pappus bristles barbellate
                       Back to 199
201Achenes prismatic, glabrous with papus yellow throughout; flower heads large, with many florets; involucral bracts numerous, all brightly colouredXerochrysum
Achenes lacking the above combination of characters; flower heads usually smaller with few florets; outer involucral bracts hyaline, brownish or white
                       Back to 200
202Involucral bracts in 1 whorl, rarely with a few much shorter bracteoles at base; often slightly fused at base203
Involucral bracts in 2 to several whorls, usually free
                       Back to 10
203Pappus scale-like; heads solitary on long scapeGazania
Pappus of hairs; heads usually in terminal clusters, rarely solitary on long scapes
                       Back to 202
204Leaves palmately veined; woody shrubsRoldana
Plants lacking the above combination of characters
                       Back to 203
205Achenes not compressedSenecio
Achenes, at least those of the ray florets, compressed
                       Back to 204
206Receptacle with scales207
Receptacle rough or pitted but without scales
                       Back to 202
207Plants usually more than 1 m high and with 1 to several erect branches208
Plants with basal rootstock, somewhat branched and with branches shorter than 50 cm long
                       Back to 206
208Leaves deeply dividedTithonia
Leaves entire or toothed
                       Back to 207
209Pappus of short bristles; apex of ligule of florets lobed or distinctly toothedVerbesina
Pappus of non-persistent scales; apex of ligule of florets scarcely toothed
                       Back to 208
210Ligules of ray florets scarcely longer than involucral bractsGlossogyne
Ligules large and spectacular, much longer than involucral bracts
                       Back to 207
211Involucral bracts fused into tubeGazania
Involucral bracts in several rows, free
                       Back to 206
212Leaves, at least some of them, divided or lobed213
Leaves entire or toothed
                       Back to 211
213Ray florets female, fertile214
Ray florets sterile
                       Back to 212
214Achenes with 3 wing-like ridges on one side; pappus of pinkish scalesArctotis
Achenes variously ribbed but lacking wing-like ridges; pappus of white to brownish bristles
                       Back to 213
215Pappus double; outer obovate scales, inner bristlesUrsinia
Pappus of small scales
                       Back to 213
216Inner involucral bracts dry and membranous, with or without an herbaceous base217
All involucral bracts herbaceous or sometimes with dry membranous margin
                       Back to 212
217Achenes abruptly constricted below a short neck below the broader apexDittrichia
Achenes ellipsoid to cylindrical
                       Back to 216
218Ray florets in 2 or more rows219
Ray florets in 1 row
                       Back to 216
219Achenes with a long neckIxiochlamys
Achenes lacking a long neck
                       Back to 218
220Tubular florets sterile; sterile achenes with pappus of long free barbellate bristles and shorter bristles often fused into scales or a cupMinuria
All florets fertile (but not always, producing achenes); pappus not as above
                       Back to 219
221Involucral bracts of fruiting flower heads clasping; dark purple brown with white marginsDichromochlamys
Involucral bracts of fruiting flower heads spreading or recurved; herbaceous, with or without a scarious margin
                       Back to 220
222Ligules absent or inconspicuous i.e. more or less as long as pappus; flower heads numerous, in panicles223
Ligules exceeding the pappus; flower heads usually solitary or in loose groups of 2–4
                       Back to 221
223Plant glabrous; involucral bracts tinged purple at apex and marginsAster
Plant pubescent to scabrous, at least on the upper stem; if glabrous then with a purple spot at the apex of the involucral bracts
                       Back to 222
224Corolla of disc florets as long as or longer than the pappus, persistingCamptacra
Corolla of disc florets usually as long as or shorter than the pappus, not persisting
                       Back to 222
225Plant glabrousAster
Plant pubescent to scabrous
                       Back to 224
226Achenes variously hairy but always with a basal tuft of hairs; base of corolla swollen around swollen style base; style branches flattened, with triangular appendagesErigeron
Achenes variously hairy but lacking a basal tuft of hairs; base of corolla not swollen; style branches not as above
                       Back to 225
227Receptacle convex; achenes always with a basal tuft of hairs, bristles freeVittadinia
Receptacle flat; achenes hairy but lacking a basal tuft of hairs, bristles joined at the base
                       Back to 226
228Pappus double row of bristles; inner long, barbellate; outer short and inconspicuous; brick red to rust colouredHeterotheca
Pappus lacking the above combination of characters
                       Back to 218
229Plants more or less resinous; involucral bracts 4–8-seriate, graduated, more or less indurated, middle and outer with spreading green tipsGrindelia
Plants lacking the above combination of characters
                       Back to 228
230Pappus of scales and/or awns or absent231
Pappus 1 or 2 rows of barbellate bristles
                       Back to 229
231Pappus of rigid, usually barbed awns, often alternating with scales, occasionally an entire scarious collar, or rarely absent; achene faces sometimes hairy but not enveloped in wool; plants not fleshy, leaves variously hairy but not tomentoseCalotis
Pappus of scales; achenes enveloped in wool; plants fleshy, leaves tomentose, especially on lower surface
                       Back to 230
232Pappus less than a quarter as long as the achenesBrachyscome
Pappus about as long as achenes or longer
                       Back to 230
233Herbs with a basal rosetteCelmisia
Shrubs and subshrubs; if herbaceous, lacking a basal rosette
                       Back to 232
234Perennial with seasonal stems arising from a woody rootstock; corolla of disc florets persisting on mature achenes; anther appendages lanceolate, with central strand of darker tissueCamptacra
Shrubs and undershrubs; corolla of disc florets not persisting on mature achenes; anther appendages acute, lacking central strand of darker tissue
                       Back to 233
235Achenes drawn into short beakLagenophora
Achenes abruptly truncated at apex
                       Back to 10
236Receptacle with scales237
Receptacles naked
                       Back to 235
237Flower heads small and in terminal clustersAchillea
Flower heads larger and individually stalked or solitary
                       Back to 236
238Leaves lobed to almost entireCymbonotus
Leaves deeply divided
                       Back to 237
239Receptacle scales longer than outer florets, becoming hardened with ageErodiophyllum
Receptacle scales shorter than florets
                       Back to 238
240All florets producing achenes241
Only outer florets producing achenes
                       Back to 236
241Achenes from outer and inner florets different242
Achenes all alike
                       Back to 240
242At least inner achenes curved to C-shapedCalendula
All achenes straight or almost so
                       Back to 241
243Annuals covered with glandular hairsDimorphotheca
Perennials without glandular hairs
                       Back to 242
244Ligules pale to golden yellow, rarely white but then usually yellow toward baseChrysanthemum
Ligules completely white
                       Back to 243
245Receptacle flat, ray florets yellow; leaves grey-white, tomentose beneath, less hairy and more or less green aboveCymbonotus
Receptacle convex to conical, ray florets various; leaves concolorous, green
                       Back to 241
246Achenes triquetrous; inner surface with 3 ribs; outer surface wrinkled, with 2 glands at apex; pappus a small crenulate corona; leaves mostly 3-pinnatisect, feathery in appearanceTripleurospermum
Achenes lacking the above combination of characters; leaves various
                       Back to 245
247Plants aromatic, with chamomile-like odour; involucral bracts thinly scarious with expanded obtuse apices248
247Plants sometimes with sparse glands but never aromatic; involucral bracts usually with narrow scarious hyaline margins249
248Perennial with rhizomes; flower heads in dense compound corymbsTanacetum
Annual; flower heads in loose cymes
                       Back to 247
249Plant a shrub; involucral bracts in 1 row, fused below; ligules yellowEuryops
Plant lacking the above combination of characters
                       Back to 247
250Achenes with fleshy outer tissueChrysanthemoides
Achenes all dry
                       Back to 240
251Achenes with prominent wingsOsteospermum
Achenes without wings
                       Back to 250

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