▪ plant familyalso called Compositaethe aster, daisy, or composite family of the flowering-plant order Asterales, with more than 1,600 genera and almost 24,000 species of herbs, shrubs, and trees distributed throughout the world.Asteraceae is one of the largest plant families and is important primarily for its many garden ornamentals, such as ageratums, asters, chrysanthemums, cosmos, dahlias, marigolds (Tagetes), and zinnias. Other well-known garden plants and wildflowers include Boltonia, Brachycome, burdock (Arctium), butterbur (Petasites), Calendula, catsear (Hypochoeris), cudweed (Filago and Gnaphalium), Gerbera, hawksbeard (Crepis), Inula, Matricaria, and Piqueria.Some genera include noxious weeds, such as dandelion (Taraxacum), ragweed (Ambrosia), and thistle (Carduus, Cirsium, and others). Artichoke (Cynara), endive (Cichorium), safflower (Carthamus), salsify (Tragopogon), lettuce (Lactuca), sunflower (Helianthus), and wormwood (Artemisia) are economically important for the products derived from their seeds, leaves, or tubers.Members of the family have flower heads composed of many small flowers, called florets, that are surrounded by bracts (leaflike structures). Bell-shaped disk florets form the centre of each head; strap-shaped ray florets extend out like petals from the centre and are sometimes reflexed (bent back). Some species have flowers with only disk or only ray florets. The sepals have been reduced to a ring of hairs, scales, or bristles that is called the pappus on the mature fruit. The one-seeded fruit (an achene) has a hard outer covering.
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