Asteraceae - Asteraceae

Aster Family

Melanthera nivea (L.) Small, an herb in the Asteraceae. Note the characteristic structure of the inflorescences. An herb. Note the characteristic structure of inflorescences.

Description: One of the most vegetatively diverse families, the Asteraceae are impossible to characterize Easily Asteraceae can be either simple or compound-leaved, opposite or alternate. The leaf margins are frequently serrate or dentate, but they can be whole. Some genera can be identified by a vegetative odor, either sweet like sunflower leaves or rather sharp and unpleasant like some temperate species of Hieracium . Some generates lack an odor, though. They are united by floral morphology, having a highly derived inflorescence structure consisting of a closely packed cluster of small flowers (disk florets) and usually some flowers with very large bracts (ray florets) at the edge of the flower head- basically, like a Daisy The majority of Asteraceae at La Selva are herbaceous, but there are a number of important genera of woody plants: the large canopy liana Piptocarpha poeppigiana , and several genera of shrubs or small trees.

Economic uses: Some species are grown as ornamentals.

Economic uses: They are grown as ornamental.

An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie
In general, only the information you provide, or the choices you make while visiting a web site, can be stored in the cookie. If your computer's clock shows a date before 1 Jan 1970, the browser will automatically forget the cookie.

(1), Bidens (1), Chaptalia (1), Chromolaena (1), Conyza (1) 2), Cyanthillium (1), Eclipta (1), Elephantopus (1), Eleutheranthera (1) (1), Emilia (2), Erechtites (1), Fleischmannia (2), Galinsoga (1), Hebeclinum (1), Heterocondylus (1), Jaegeria (1), (1), (2), Melanthera (1), Neurolaena (1), Pseudelephantopus (1) (2), Psuedogynoxys (1), Schistocarpha (1), Sinclair (1), Spiracantha (1), Struchium (1), Synedrella (1), Youngia (1) Vines (occasionally woody) (1) Clibadium (1) Shrubs / shrubs: Mikania (8) Lianas / woody lianas: Piptocarpha (1), Erimocephala (1), Koanophyllon (1), Vernonia (3), Zexmenia (1).

FIELD MARKS - alternate or opposite, simple, usually serrate, perma-press leaves (crush them and they rebound to original shape free of wrinkles) commonly 3-veined, abundant pith in center of stems, composite flowers of ray and disc florets.

Youngia japonica in flower. Photo by O. Vargas courtesy of The Digital Flora of the Jungle. Youngia japonica composite flower consisting of disc (


center) and ray (showy yellow at periphery) florets. Photo by O. Vargas courtesy of The Digital Flora of the Jungle. Piptocarpha peoppigiana is a liana with light gray

undersides to the leaves due to dense coating of hairs.