The superasterids are members of a large clade (monophyletic group) of flowering plants, containing more than 122,000 species.

The clade is divided into 20 orders as defined in APG IV system. These orders, in turn, together comprise about 146 families.[1]

The name is based upon the name "Asteridae", which had usually been understood to be a subclass.

Temporal range: Cretaceous–recent
Torenia fournieri at Kudayathoor
Torenia fournieri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Core eudicots
Clade: Superasterids


The asterids, Berberidopsidales, Santalales, and Caryophyllales form the superasterids clade.[2] This is one of three groups that compose the Pentapetalae (core eudicots minus Gunnerales),[3] the others being Dilleniales and the superrosids (Saxifragales and rosids).[2]


The phylogeny of superasterids shown below is adapted from the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group website.[2]


























  1. ^ a b Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2016). "An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG IV". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 181 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1111/boj.12385.
  2. ^ a b c Peter F. Stevens (2001), Angiosperm Phylogeny Website
  3. ^ Philip D. Cantino; James A. Doyle; Sean W. Graham; Walter S. Judd; Richard G. Olmstead; Douglas E. Soltis; Pamela S. Soltis & Michael J. Donoghue (2007), "Towards a phylogenetic nomenclature of Tracheophyta" (PDF), Taxon, 56 (3): 822–846, doi:10.2307/25065865, JSTOR 25065865

External links

APG IV system

The APG IV system of flowering plant classification is the fourth version of a modern, mostly molecular-based, system of plant taxonomy for flowering plants (angiosperms) being developed by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG). It was published in 2016, seven years after its predecessor the APG III system was published in 2009, and 18 years after the first APG system was published in 1998. In 2009, a linear arrangement of the system was published separately; the APG IV paper includes such an arrangement, cross-referenced to the 2009 one.Compared to the APG III system, the APG IV system recognizes five new orders (Boraginales, Dilleniales, Icacinales, Metteniusales and Vahliales), along with some new families, making a total of 64 angiosperm orders and 416 families. In general, the authors describe their philosophy as "conservative", based on making changes from APG III only where "a well-supported need" has been demonstrated. This has sometimes resulted in placements that are not compatible with published studies, but where further research is needed before the classification can be changed.

Angiosperm Phylogeny Group

The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, or APG, is an informal international group of systematic botanists who collaborate to establish a consensus on the taxonomy of flowering plants (angiosperms) that reflects new knowledge about plant relationships discovered through phylogenetic studies.

As of 2016, four incremental versions of a classification system have resulted from this collaboration, published in 1998, 2003, 2009 and 2016. An important motivation for the group was what they considered deficiencies in prior angiosperm classifications since they were not based on monophyletic groups (i.e., groups that include all the descendants of a common ancestor).

APG publications are increasingly influential, with a number of major herbaria changing the arrangement of their collections to match the latest APG system.


In the APG IV system (2016) for the classification of flowering plants, the name asterids denotes a clade (a monophyletic group). Common examples include the forget-me-nots, nightshades (including potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and tobacco), the common sunflower, petunias, morning glory and sweet potato, coffee, lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, honeysuckle, ash tree, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, table herbs such as mint, basil, and rosemary, and rainforest trees such as Brazil nut.

Most of the taxa belonging to this clade had been referred to the Asteridae in the Cronquist system (1981) and to the Sympetalae in earlier systems. The name asterids (not necessarily capitalised) resembles the earlier botanical name but is intended to be the name of a clade rather than a formal ranked name, in the sense of the ICBN.


Berberidopsidales is an order of Southern Hemisphere woody flowering plants. The name is newly accepted in the APG III system of plant taxonomy. APG II system, of 2003, mentions the possibility of recognizing the order, as comprising the families Berberidopsidaceae and Aextoxicaceae. However, APG II left the families unplaced as to order, assigning them to the clade core eudicots. The APG III system of 2009 formally recognized the order.The family Aextoxicaceae is a monotypic family native to Chile; Berberidopsidaceae is a family of 2 genera and 3 species native to Chile and eastern Australia.


Caryophyllales ( KARR-ee-oh-fil-AY-leez) is an order of flowering plants that includes the cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, beets, and many carnivorous plants. Many members are succulent, having fleshy stems or leaves.


The dicotyledons, also known as dicots (or more rarely dicotyls), are one of the two groups into which all the flowering plants or angiosperms were formerly divided. The name refers to one of the typical characteristics of the group, namely that the seed has two embryonic leaves or cotyledons. There are around 200,000 species within this group. The other group of flowering plants were called monocotyledons or monocots, typically having one cotyledon. Historically, these two groups formed the two divisions of the flowering plants.

Largely from the 1990s onwards, molecular phylogenetic research confirmed what had already been suspected, namely that dicotyledons are not a group made up of all the descendants of a common ancestor (i.e. they are not a monophyletic group). Rather, a number of lineages, such as the magnoliids and groups now collectively known as the basal angiosperms, diverged earlier than the monocots did, in other words monocots evolved from within the dicots as traditionally defined. The traditional dicots are thus a paraphyletic group. The eudicots are the largest clade within the dicotyledons. They are distinguished from all other flowering plants by the structure of their pollen. Other dicotyledons and monocotyledons have monosulcate pollen, or forms derived from it, whereas eudicots have tricolpate pollen, or derived forms, the pollen having three or more pores set in furrows called colpi.


The eudicots, Eudicotidae or eudicotyledons are a clade of flowering plants that had been called tricolpates or non-magnoliid dicots by previous authors. The botanical terms were introduced in 1991 by evolutionary botanist James A. Doyle and paleobotanist Carol L. Hotton to emphasize the later evolutionary divergence of tricolpate dicots from earlier, less specialized, dicots. The close relationships among flowering plants with tricolpate pollen grains was initially seen in morphological studies of shared derived characters. These plants have a distinct trait in their pollen grains of exhibiting three colpi or grooves paralleling the polar axis. Later molecular evidence confirmed the genetic basis for the evolutionary relationships among flowering plants with tricolpate pollen grains and dicotyledonous traits. The term means "true dicotyledons", as it contains the majority of plants that have been considered dicots and have characteristics of the dicots. The term "eudicots" has subsequently been widely adopted in botany to refer to one of the two largest clades of angiosperms (constituting over 70% of the angiosperm species), monocots being the other. The remaining angiosperms include magnoliids and what are sometimes referred to as basal angiosperms or paleodicots, but these terms have not been widely or consistently adopted, as they do not refer to a monophyletic group.

The other name for the eudicots is tricolpates, a name which refers to the grooved structure of the pollen. Members of the group have tricolpate pollen, or forms derived from it. These pollens have three or more pores set in furrows called colpi. In contrast, most of the other seed plants (that is the gymnosperms, the monocots and the paleodicots) produce monosulcate pollen, with a single pore set in a differently oriented groove called the sulcus. The name "tricolpates" is preferred by some botanists to avoid confusion with the dicots, a nonmonophyletic group.Numerous familiar plants are eudicots, including many common food plants, trees, and ornamentals. Some common and familiar eudicots include members of the sunflower family such as the common dandelion, the forget-me-not, cabbage and other members of its family, apple, buttercup, maple, and macadamia. Most leafy trees of midlatitudes also belong to eudicots, with notable exceptions being magnolias and tulip trees which belong to magnoliids, and Ginkgo biloba, which is not an angiosperm.

The name "eudicots" (plural) is used in the APG system, of 1998, and APG II system, of 2003, for classification of angiosperms. It is applied to a clade, a monophyletic group, which includes most of the (former) dicots.

"Tricolpate" is a synonym for the "Eudicot" monophyletic group, the "true dicotyledons" (which are distinguished from all other flowering plants by their tricolpate pollen structure). The number of pollen grain furrows or pores helps classify the flowering plants, with eudicots having three colpi (tricolpate), and other groups having one sulcus.Pollen apertures are any modification of the wall of the pollen grain. These modifications include thinning, ridges and pores, they serve as an exit for the pollen contents and allow shrinking and swelling of the grain caused by changes in moisture content. The elongated apertures/ furrows in the pollen grain are called colpi (singular colpus), which, along with pores, are a chief criterion for identifying the pollen classes.

Flowering plant

The flowering plants, also known as angiosperms, Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants, with 64 orders, 416 families, approximately 13,000 known genera and 300,000 known species. Like gymnosperms, angiosperms are seed-producing plants. However, they are distinguished from gymnosperms by characteristics including flowers, endosperm within the seeds, and the production of fruits that contain the seeds. Etymologically, angiosperm means a plant that produces seeds within an enclosure; in other words, a fruiting plant. The term comes from the Greek words angeion ("case" or "casing") and sperma ("seed").

The ancestors of flowering plants diverged from gymnosperms in the Triassic Period, 245 to 202 million years ago (mya), and the first flowering plants are known from ~140 mya. They diversified extensively during the Early Cretaceous, became widespread by 120 mya, and replaced conifers as the dominant trees from 100 to 60 mya.

List of plant orders

This article lists the orders of the Viridiplantae.


The rosids are members of a large clade (monophyletic group) of flowering plants, containing about 70,000 species, more than a quarter of all angiosperms.The clade is divided into 16 to 20 orders, depending upon circumscription and classification. These orders, in turn, together comprise about 140 families.Fossil rosids are known from the Cretaceous period. Molecular clock estimates indicate that the rosids originated in the Aptian or Albian stages of the Cretaceous, between 125 and 99.6 million years ago.


The Santalales are an order of flowering plants with a cosmopolitan distribution, but heavily concentrated in tropical and subtropical regions. It derives its name from its type genus Santalum (sandalwood). Mistletoe is the common name for a number of parasitic plants within the order.


The Saxifragales are an order of flowering plants. Their closest relatives are a large eudicot group known as the rosids, following the definition of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification system. Saxifragales is one of the groups that compose the core eudicots, which consists of the Dilleniaceae, superasterids and superrosids, the latter consisting of the Saxifragales and rosids.

The Saxifragales order, as it is now understood, is based upon the results of molecular phylogenetic studies of DNA sequences. It is not part of any of the classification systems based on plant morphology. The group is much in need of comparative anatomical study, especially in light of the recent expansion of the family Peridiscaceae to include Medusandra, a genus that before 2009 had usually not been placed in Saxifragales.The order is divided into suprafamilial groups as shown on the phylogenetic tree below. These groups are informal and are not understood to have any particular taxonomic rank.


The superrosids are members of a large clade (monophyletic group) of flowering plants, containing more than 88,000 species, more than a quarter of all angiosperms.The clade is divided into 18 orders as defined in APG IV system. These orders, in turn, together comprise about 155 families.The name is based upon the name "Rosidae", which had usually been understood to be a subclass.


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