tribe of plants

Heliantheae is the most well known tribe of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The name comes from the Greek word for sun flower. The Heliantheae is the third largest tribe in the sunflower family, which has 190 genera and about 2500 species. Only the tribes Senecioneae and Astereae are larger. Most Heliantheae come from North America and South America, and Mexico. A few genera come from tropical areas.

Scientific classification

Cassini, 1819

See text.

About 190 genera and 2500 species

Most Heliantheae are herbs or shrubs, but there are some that grow to the size of small trees. Leaves are usually hairy and arranged in opposite pairs. The anthers are usually black.


Heliantheae can be grown on farms. These include sunflowers and jerusalem artichokes. Many garden flowers are also in this group, such as Coreopsis, Cosmos, Echinacea, Rudbeckia, and Zinnia.

There are also some weeds in the family. Species of Ambrosia (ragweed) produce lots of pollen. Each plant can produce about a billion grains of pollen over a season, and the plant is wind-pollinated. It is one of the main causes of hay fever.


In 1981 Harold Ernest Robinson came up with a new way to describe the tribe. He divided Heliantheae into 35 subtribes:


  • Bremer, Kåre. (1994). Asteraceae: Cladistics & Classification. Portland, OR: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-275-7.
  • Cassini, Alexandre de (1794–1823). "unknown". Journal de Physique, de Chimie et d'Histoire Naturelle. Paris. 88: 196. J. Phys. Chim. Hist. Nat. Arts. Retrieved 2008-06-30. Cite uses generic title (help)CS1 maint: date format (link)
  • Robinson, Harold Ernest. (1981). A Revision of the Tribal and Subtribal Limits of the Heliantheae (Asteraceae). Smithsonian Contributions to Botany: 51.
  • Strother, John L. (1991). Taxonomy of Complaya, Elaphandra, Iogeton, Jefea, Wamalchitamia, Wedelia, Zexmenia, and Zyzyxia (Compositae - Heliantheae - Ecliptinae). Systematic Botany Monographs: 33. ISBN 0-912861-33-9.

Other websitesEdit

  Media related to Heliantheae at Wikimedia Commons