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List of the largest genera of flowering plants

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A buttercup flower, with three yellow petals out of five.
Agamospecies in the Ranunculus auricomus complex help to swell the number of species in the genus Ranunculus.

There are ??? genera of flowering plants estimated to contain at least 500 described species. The largest of these is currently the legume genus Astragalus (milk-vetches), with over 3,000 species.

The sizes of plant genera vary widely from those containing a single species to genera containing thousands of species, and this disparity became clear early in the history of plant classification. The largest genus in Carl Linnaeus' seminal Species Plantarum was Euphorbia, with 56 species; Linnaeus believed that no genus should contain more than 100 species.[1]

Part of the disparity in genus sizes is attributable to historical factors. According to a hypothesis published by Max Walters in 1961, the size of plant genera is related to the age, not of the taxon itself, but of the concept of the taxon in the minds of taxonomists.[2] Plants which grew in Europe, where most of the early taxonomy was based, were therefore divided into relatively small genera, while those from the tropics were grouped into much larger and more heterogeneous genera.[2][3] Likewise, plants which shared common medicinal properties, such as the many species of Euphorbia, were united into a single genus, while plants of diverse uses, such as the grasses, were split into many genera.[2] Where there were many classical names for groups of plants, such as in Apiaceae / Umbelliferae or Brassicaceae / Cruciferae, small genera were defined, whereas groups not subdivided by classical authors remained as larger genera, such as Carex.[2][3] A number of biological factors also influence the number of species. For instance, the occurrence of apomixis allows the recognition of large numbers of agamospecies, and such taxa have helped to bolster genera such as Ranunculus and Potentilla.[1]

The introduction of infrageneric taxa (such as the subgenus, section and series) in the 19th century by botanists including Augustin Pyrame de Candolle allowed the retention of large genera that would otherwise have become unwieldy. E. J. H. Corner believed that studying large genera might enable greater insights into evolutionary biology, and he concentrated his efforts on large tropical genera such as Ficus.[1]

Largest genera

A total of ??? genera of flowering plants contain at least 500 species, according to a 2004 analysis by the botanical taxonomist David Frodin.[1] The actual numbers of species are imprecisely known, as many of the genera have not been the subject of recent monographs.[3] For instance, estimates of the number of species in the orchid genus Pleurothallis range from 1,120 to 2,500. Genera from other groups of vascular plants, but which have similarly large numbers of species, include Selaginella, Asplenium and Cyathea.[1]

A legume with inflorescences of up to 40 elongated, ivory-coloured flowers, and pinnate leaves with many pairs of leaflets.
Astragalus is the largest flowering plant genus, with more than 3,200 species, including Astragalus agnicidus.
Five orchid flowers, each with spotted tepals and a pink labellum.
Bulbophyllum is the second largest flowering plant genus, with more than 2,000 species, including Bulbophyllum guttulatum.
A shrub with large, leathery, simple leaves, and bearing clusters of round, green fruit.
Psychotria is the third largest flowering plant genus, with more than 1,900 species, including Psychotria mariniana.
A group of unbranched herbs grow beside a plant label. The upper leaves and bracts grade from green to yellow.
Euphorbia is the fourth largest flowering plant genus, with more than 1,800 species, including Euphorbia amygdaloides.
Several small, grass-like plants with thin leaves, each with a stalk bearing a cluster of small round fruits.
Carex is the fifth largest flowering plant genus, with more than 1,700 species, including Carex pilulifera.
Genera of flowering plants with at least 500 species[1]
Rank Genus Species Family Species list
# Hieracium 9,608 Asteraceae / Compositae List of Hieracium species
# Rubus 6,836 Rosaceae
# Astragalus 4,199 Fabaceae / Leguminosae List of Astragalus species
# Carex 3,305 Cyperaceae List of Carex species
# Rosa 3,217 Rosaceae List of Rosa species
# Piper 3,021 Piperaceae List of Piper species
# Taraxacum 2,895 Asteraceae / Compositae
# Euphorbia 2,680 Euphorbiaceae List of Euphorbia species
# Solanum 2,370 Solanaceae List of Solanum species
# Begonia 2,347 Begoniaceae List of Begonia species
# Psychotria 2,330 Rubiaceae List of Psychotria species
# Bulbophyllum 2,214 Orchidaceae List of Bulbophyllum species
# Ranunculus 2,151 Ranunculaceae List of Ranunculus species
# Epidendrum 1,915 Orchidaceae List of Epidendrum species
# Anthurium 1,890 Araceae List of Anthurium species
# Acacia 1,867 Fabaceae / Leguminosae List of Acacia species
# Peperomia 1,831 Piperaceae List of Peperomia species
# Dendrobium 1,809 Orchidaceae List of Dendrobium species
# Senecio 1,762 Asteraceae / Compositae List of Senecio species
# Eugenia 1,701 Myrtaceae
# Cyperus 1,591 Cyperaceae List of Cyperus species
# Croton 1,557 Euphorbiaceae List of Croton species
# Justicia 1,549 Acanthaceae
# Ficus 1,522 Moraceae
# Centaurea 1,480 Asteraceae / Compositae
# Potentilla 1,441 Rosaceae List of Potentilla species
# Rhododendron 1,439 Ericaceae List of Rhododendron species
# Salvia 1,416 Lamiaceae / Labiatae List of Salvia species
# Miconia 1,410 Melastomataceae
# Syzygium 1,353 Myrtaceae
# Silene 1,328 Caryophyllaceae
# Phyllanthus 1,317 Phyllanthaceae List of Phyllanthus species
# Impatiens 1,281 Balsaminaceae
# Lepanthes 1,236 Orchidaceae List of Lepanthes species
# Pleurothallis 1,230 Orchidaceae List of Pleurothallis species
# Allium 1,222 Amaryllidaceae List of Allium species
# Quercus 1,221 Fagaceae List of Quercus species
# Erica 1,152 Ericaceae
# Mimosa 1,129 Fabaceae / Leguminosae
# Crotalaria 1,102 Fabaceae / Leguminosae
# Cirsium 1,096 Asteraceae / Compositae
# Indigofera 1,092 Fabaceae / Leguminosae
# Habenaria 1,051 Orchidaceae
# Eucalyptus 1,050 Myrtaceae List of Eucalyptus species
# Ardisia 1,046 Primulaceae
# Polygala 1,013 Polygalaceae
# Vernonia 1,000 Asteraceae / Compositae
# Diospyros 975 Ebenaceae List of Diospyros species
# Panicum 974 Poaceae / Gramineae List of Panicum species
# Ipomoea 972 Convolvulaceae
# Dioscorea 955 Dioscoreaceae
# Festuca 913 Poaceae / Gramineae
# Poa 905 Poaceae / Gramineae
# Oxalis 898 Oxalidaceae
# Pandanus 873 Pandanaceae
# Galium 856 Rubiaceae List of Galium species
# Tillandsia 856 Bromeliaceae List of Tillandsia species
# Cyrtandra 845 Gesneriaceae
# Cousinia 835 Asteraceae / Compositae
# Erigeron 813 Asteraceae / Compositae
# Philodendron 804 Araceae List of Philodendron species
# Helichrysum 750 Asteraceae / Compositae
# Berberis 749 Berberidaceae List of Berberis species
# Hypericum 727 Hypericaceae List of Hypericum species
# Campanula 726 Campanulaceae List of Campanula species
# Ixora 712 Rubiaceae
# Cassia 692 Fabaceae / Leguminosae
# Lobelia 683 Campanulaceae
# Oncidium 680 Orchidaceae
# Juncus 677 Juncaceae
# Baccharis 674 Asteraceae / Compositae
# Schefflera 674 Araliaceae List of Schefflera species
# Ocotea 661 Lauraceae
# Artemisia 657 Asteraceae / Compositae
# Aster 643 Asteraceae / Compositae
# Aristolochia 638 Aristolochiaceae
# Bauhinia 617 Fabaceae / Leguminosae
# Saussurea 598 Asteraceae / Compositae
# Litsea 597 Lauraceae
# Eriocaulon 589 Eriocaulaceae
# Eragrostis 574 Poaceae / Gramineae List of Eragrostis species
# Calamus 570 Arecaceae
# Convolvulus 546 Convolvulaceae
# Rhynchospora 522 Cyperaceae
# Pitcairnia 513 Bromeliaceae
# Eria 500 Orchidaceae


  1. ^ a b c d e f David G. Frodin (2004). "History and concepts of big plant genera". Taxon. 53 (3): 753–776. doi:10.2307/4135449. JSTOR 4135449. 
  2. ^ a b c d Max Walters (1961). "The shaping of angiosperm taxonomy". New Phytologist. 60 (1): 74–84. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.1961.tb06241.x. JSTOR 2429789. 
  3. ^ a b c David J. Mabberley (2008). "Introduction". Mabberley's Plant-book: a Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classification and Uses (3rd ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. vii–xv. ISBN 978-0-521-82071-4. 

This page was last edited on 7 August 2018, at 11:20
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