Aster family (Asteraceae): characteristics, photos and representatives

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question will be one of the biggest families among dicots - Asteraceae (Asteraceae).Without noticing, we are faced with its representatives on a daily basis - at home, in the kitchen, and just on the street.Flowers aster family are perhaps the most common in our flower beds and gardens, and without sunflower oil does not do any one kitchen.

aster family: general characteristics

family includes a very large number of births, it is difficult to give an exact figure, it ranges from 1100 to 1300, and more than 20,000 species of plants most part pollinated by insects.The area of ​​distribution is quite broad, the representatives of this family are found in all climate zones: from hot and humid tropics to the cold of the tundra, high in the mountains and on the shores of the seas.They grow on the fertile black earth and sand deserts.A large number of species provided Astrov widely used in economic life.

distinctive feature of all the plants that includes the family Asteraceae - is a complex inflorescence - a basket that consists of many small and inconspicuous flowers, but together they form a very impressive picture.

structure of the flower blossoms

name as it speaks for itself: a basket, then there is a certain capacity, which is either folded.Capacity - is extended to the end of the peduncle, it may be flat, convex or concave.Just above it, and there are numerous small flowers.And around all surrounded by one or more rows of bracts.All colors of the family is divided into five types:

  • tubular, often much less androgynous and gay.They have the shape of a tube which extends to the end or has a limb.
  • Lozhnoyazychkovye flowers - they are formed by the merging of three petals and have the same number of teeth located on the upper edge.
  • Reed - Corolla has the shape of a truncated tube, which runs petals, fused together.As a rule, they have five stamens and one pistil.
  • funnel - flowers asymmetrical shape, sexless, whisk in the form of a long tube greatly expanded at the end of (funnel).
  • bilabiate flowers - corolla tube long enough, and it is bent by the two tabs (lips).There may be gay or bisexual.

If we take for example, the same sunflower, all of us are accustomed to perceive it as a separate lush and beautiful flower.And it is absolutely wrong in terms of botany.So in reality it is an inflorescence, which contains more than 1,000 individual small flowers (tubular), and wide petals and bright orange or yellow - a reed flowers.Surprisingly complex and delicate organization, the nature of thought to the smallest detail.

Representatives of the family have the following formula flower:

* Ca (0, fused) Co (5) A (5) G (2).

It is typical for the whole family Asteraceae.Floral formula is interpreted as follows: the flowers are bisexual, have several planes of symmetry, calyx, corolla of five petals, stamens 5, two pistil, ovary over them.

structure of the leaf and root

The structure of the leaves can be said only in general terms, as it is quite a large group of plants represented by the various forms of life.Sunflower, burdock, thistles, asters and zinnias, Jerusalem artichokes, tree shape, yarrow, wildflowers and many other - all the aster family.General characteristic is that the arrangement of leaves, usually regular, but may be simultaneously from opposite sides.The dimensions and the shape vary over a very wide range from a few millimeters up to 2-3 meters.Venation from members of the family often feathery.Leaves are hairy, the severity varies, many plants have thorns.

root is well developed and the majority of the plants has a rod structure (a well-developed taproot and many paranasal).For example, it is enough to recall the typical representative of the family - dandelion, with him and his root system familiar to many.There may be modified with thickened, reminding tuber, for example, in a mug.

What fruits are plants aster family?

Asteraceae (Asteraceae) are the fruit achenes.It is dry and contains one seed.Pericarp leathery and maturation is not interrupted.Widespread education achene different hairs, projections of original hooks, which in turn contribute to the spread of seeds in the wind (dandelion, wormwood), with animals or people's clothes (series, burdock).

Asteraceae Life form

Life forms are presented almost in full, and this is primarily due to a huge distribution area, but still bitmap (Asteraceae) - it's mostly herbaceous plants (annual or perennial).Dimensions vary within wide limits - from very tiny to giant representatives of several meters.

Many species are shrubs or bushes rather impressive size (up to 5-8 meters in height).For example, melampodium marsh, native to wet, marshy woods of Louisiana in the United States.

aster family has representatives among the trees, though they are all the inhabitants of the southern edge.For example, skaleziya in the Galapagos Islands, which can reach 20 meters in height, but it is endemic, and is no longer found in any corner of the planet.Or Brahilena plant of the genus from South Africa.Giant trees, which have a strong enough wood resistant to rot, for which he highly valued.

alpine meadows of New Zealand haatsiya pushkovidnaya forms a whole thicket.This tree-like form that thick carpet covers half a meter in height and fairly large areas (one plant can grow up to two meters in diameter).

found among the vines Asteraceae (mica, Mutisya), succulents and even a rare form of life as a tumbleweed (cornflower spreading, asteriskus dwarf).

Traditionally, all the aster family is divided into two subfamilies: trubkotsvetnye and reed.

subfamily bitmap (trubkotsvetnye)

vast majority of colors - tubular.This group of more than a thousand plant genera and more than twenty tribes (taxonomic rank in botany, which is lower than the value of the family, but the above order).For example, the most famous - is a bitmap, kalendulovye, sunflowers, anthemideae, barhattsevye and others.

subfamily chicory (or latukovye)

Their second title reed, unlike the previous families contain only seven tribes, and the number of births of about two hundred - a small part of the total number of plants belonging to the family Asteraceae.Representatives chicory grow on virtually every continent, our country's most famous view - is chicory ordinary, remarkable bright blue flowers and spread like a weed.Nevertheless, the plant is a good honey plant, a root used in cooking coffee.

aster family: nutritional value

Case studies of plants in this family has long been popular in cooking, the most famous example - a sunflower oilseed.His homeland - North America.He successfully acclimated in our area now sunflowers are grown on a commercial scale.The main product of it - is, of course, sunflower oil.But apart from that receive seeds, hydrogenated fat (tallow, used for making margarine and soap), waste products are used as animal feed.

Another bright and edible, but, unfortunately, we do not grow representative of the family - the artichoke (pictured).Traditionally, it is considered a vegetable, but actually it is unopened bud.As a separate dish or side dish it is widely distributed in the Mediterranean countries and in America.

Famous Sweet taste, cultivated not only as food but also as a technical and fodder plant.

ornamental and medicinal value

His decorative and flowering species of the aster family (photo) is known for a long time.

BREEDER derived almost countless varieties of garden flowers.Anyone familiar popular florists chrysanthemum and gerbera.At least once all who have flower beds, cultivated asters or daisies, zinnias and marigolds, dahlias and ageratum.

from medicinal plants are the most popular and helpful: chamomile, yarrow, arnica, series, thistle, wormwood, tansy, marigold and many others.Their curative effects on the tested and proven, decoctions or infusions of herbs are the most valuable homeopathic remedies.

aster family, whose members are known, perhaps, everyone gave the world an incredible amount of valuable business, ornamental and medicinal plants.