Asteraceae  

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The family Asteraceae consists of over 32,000 known species of flowering plants in over 1,900 genera within the order Asterales. Commonly referred to as the aster, daisy, composite, or sunflower family, Compositae were first described in the year 1740. The number of species in Asteraceae is rivaled only by the Orchidaceae, and which is the larger family is unclear as the quantity of extant species in each family is unknown.

Most species of Asteraceae are annual, biennial, or perennial herbaceous plants, but there are also shrubs, vines, and trees. The family has a widespread distribution, from subpolar to tropical regions, in a wide variety of habitats. Most occur in hot desert and cold or hot semi-desert climates, and they are found on every continent but Antarctica. Their primary common characteristic is flower heads, technically known as capitula, consisting of sometimes hundreds of tiny individual florets enclosed by a whorl of protective involucral bracts.

The oldest known fossils are pollen grains from the Late Cretaceous (Campanian to Maastrichtian) of Antarctica, dated to Template:Circa million years ago (mya). It is estimated that the crown group of Asteraceae evolved at least 85.9 mya (Late Cretaceous, Santonian) with a stem node age of 88–89 mya (Late Cretaceous, Coniacian).

Asteraceae is an economically important family, providing food staples, garden plants, and herbal medicines. Species outside of their native ranges can be considered weedy or invasive.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Asteraceae" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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