Asteraceae and some more scientific background (part 2)

The post on Asteraceae went through the entire classification and might have been a little tedious for you?

However, I do hope you find it fascinating like myself how classification does make sense, especially in large families such as the Composites or Asteraceae.

It neatly groups similar looking plants together and when these plants ‘look similar’ they most likely also have the same properties and uses.

This week we start with the uses of this family.

Of course weeds or native plants as I like to call them, are ALWAYS useful in any habitat situation, soil and indeed for other living creatures apart from ourselves.

When we pull out the dandelion or ragwort we are taking away a valuable food source for multiples of creatures. Is it really worth that?

In the following few blogs about this family I once again will copy a lot of interesting information from ‘The Medicinal Flora of Britain and Northwestern Europe’ by J. Barker.  Please get a copy for yourself as you won’t regret it!

Here are links to all the different posts on Asteraceae:


General Information and

Introduction to the Composites by Julian Barker

  • their anatomy

Some main crops and their uses:

  • as food and fodder
  • as dye
  • as ornamental

Medicinal Uses

Xanthium strumarium or Common Cocklebur

Continue reading “Asteraceae and some more scientific background (part 2)”

Asteraceae part 1

Yarrow and Ragwort are 2 different members of the large ‘Aster’ family – All images are with thanks from Matt Summers

Today and in several future posts I will be talking about members of the Asteraceae. This was called the Compositae for a very long time, which I think is a lot more descriptive about this largest dicotyledon family on Earth!

The first post is all about the classification which is extensive but makes good sense you will discover on the next page!

More information will be given in post 4, 5, 6 below as well as their known uses:

  1. The Dandelion
  2. Asteraceae (part 1) (This post!)
  3. About the Common Ragwort or Jacobaea vulgaris
  4. More science behind the Asteraceae! (part 2)
  5. the more common Asteraceae and their uses (part 3)
  6. the less common members (part 4)


General information

1) Subfamily Carduoideae

Tribe 1: Cynareae

The flowers are rarely yellow, usually red to blue. Mostly thistles or very thistle-like.

2) Subfamily Cichorioideae

Tribe 2: the Cichorieae

Plants often produce the white latex, the flowers are usually yellow.

Tribe 3: the Arctotideae

with 2 genera but both are not native

3) Subfamily Asteroideae

The Third Subfamily is the largest one in this family and called Asteroideae, it has 13 tribes and 66 genera! But many are ornamental plants or garden escapes.

Tribe 4: the Gnaphalieae 

Tribe 5: Inuleae Tribe6: the Astereae    Tribe 7: Anthemideae Tribe 8: the Senecioneae Tribe 9: the Calenduleae  Tribe 10: Heliantheae  Tribe 11: Millerieae Tribe 12: Coreopsideae  Tribe 13: Tageteae  Tribe 14: Bahieae Tribe 15: Helenieae  Tribe 16: Eupatorieae 

Continue reading “Asteraceae part 1”