Aster (Family Asteraceae)
The Asteraceae or Compositae, also referred to as the Aster, Daisy,
or Sunflower Family, is the largest family of vascular plants. The
family has more than 22,750 currently accepted species, spread
across 1620 genera, and 12 subfamilies. The largest genera are
Senecio (1,500 species), Vernonia (1,000 species), Cousinia (600
species) and Centaurea (600 species).
Most members of the Asteraceae are herbaceous, but a significant
number are also shrubs, vines and trees. The family is distributed
throughout the world, and is most common in the arid and semi-arid
regions of subtropical and lower temperate latitudes.
Many economically important products come from composites,
including cooking oils, lettuce, sunflower seeds, artichokes, sweet-
ening agents, and teas. Several genera are also very popular with
the horticultural community, these include marigolds, chrysanthe-
mums, dahlias, zinnias, and heleniums.
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