Asteraceae and connections

Hugh Wilson h-wilson at TAMU.EDU
Mon Oct 4 08:51:22 CDT 1999

The new Synthesis of the North American Flora (see
provides a quick view of relative diversity across U.S. states and
Canada for any taxon of vascular plants.  With mouse selection of
'Asteraceae' and 'query taxon', this digital product displays
color-coded 'summary' diversity maps for all ranks and these show the
U.S. states on the Mexican border as most diverse in terms
generic/species diversity and endemism.  Unfortunately, the likely
center of diversity for this any many other North American vascular
plant families - Mexico - is not included.  The system does, however,
allow boolean operators for geographic queries, and user selection of
regions (states/provinces).  These options should allow a close look
at relative diversity among various "North American" areas (coastal
plain, great plains, etc.) for taxa at any rank.

A general overview, without the detailed query options, is also
available on the web at:

(select 'browse families', 'A', scroll to Asteraceae)

The 'connections' aspect of this information is relevant only if one
assumes a relationship between diversity and origin.  One must also
assume that the classification system employed for this type of
digital product has biological significance.  If systematics should
move toward 'rankless' classifications or away from the fundamental
objective of producing classifications, our ability to create and use
powerful informatics tools - such as this product - is diminished.

> Date:          Sun, 3 Oct 1999 11:13:14 +1000
> Reply-to:      Mike Crisp <Mike.Crisp at ANU.EDU.AU>
> From:          Mike Crisp <Mike.Crisp at ANU.EDU.AU>
> Subject:       Re: Asteraceae and connections

> The prevailing view on the 'centre' of origin of the Asteraceae is
> somewhere in the (south) Pacific, eg Bremer (1992), and not in north
> America.  Here are some references:
> Bentham, G. (1873). notes on the classification, history and
> geographic distribution of Compositae. Journal of the Linnean
> Society, London, Botany 13, 355-577.
> Bremer, K. (1992). Ancestral areas: a cladistic reinterpretation of
> the center of origin concept. Systematic Biology 41, 436-445.
> Bremer, K. (1993). Intercontinental relationships of African and
> South American Asteraceae: a cladistic biogeographic analysis. In
> 'Biological Relationships between Africa and South America'. (Ed. P.
> Goldblatt.)  pp. 105-135. (Yale University Press: New Haven.)
> Heads, M. (1999). Vicariance biogeography and terrane tectonics in
> the South Pacific: analysis of the genus Abrotanella (Compositae).
> Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 67, 391-432.
> Morrone, J. J., Katinas, L., and Crisci, J. V. (1996). On temperate
> areas, basal clades and biodiversity conservation. Oryx 30, 187-194.
> Turner, B. L. (1977). Fossil history and geography. In 'The Biology
> and Chemistry of the Compositae'. (Eds V. Heywood, J. Harborne and
> B. L. Turner.)  Vol. 1. pp. 21-39. (Academic Press: London.)
> Mike Crisp
> ________________________________________
> On Wed, 29 Sep 1999 08:34:28 -0600,
> Richard L. Brown wrote:
> >
> >I am interested in knowing more about geographic origin of Asteraceae and
> >connections between the Great Plains and eastern U.S., e.g., Piedmont and
> >Coastal Plain.  I have assumed that Asteraceae diversified in Great Plains,
> >but I recall a paper several years ago that suggested that the group
> >originated in eastern U.S.  Can anyone advise me about the citation of the
> >latter paper or other references regarding biogeographic relationships of
> >Asteraceae.
> >
> >There are distributional data of moths to support an extension of
> >grasslands from the Great Plains into New York and the eastern coast via an
> >area north of Lake Erie and south of Lake Ontario (either that or a
> >concentration of collectors picking up vagrant species in the area).  Does
> >anyone know of references to support a connecting grasslands between the
> >upper midwest and upper Atlantic coast?  Thanks,
> >
> >Richard L. Brown
> >Mississippi Entomological Museum
> >Box 9775
> >Mississippi State, MS 39762
> >phone: (662) 325-2085
> >fax: (662) 325-8837
> >e-mail: moth at
> ______________________________________

Hugh D. Wilson
Texas A&M University - Biology
h-wilson at (409-845-3354)

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