Mainly herbs with opposite or whorled, exstipulate leaves. Flowers bisexual in involucrate heads. Common receptacle bracteate or setose. Individual flowers surrounded by a tubular involucel. Calyx limb cupular or of linear pappus-like segments or setae. Corolla gamopetalous, 4-5-lobed. Stamens usually 4, epipetalous. Ovary inferior, unilocular, with 1 pendulous ovule. Fruit an achene, crowned by the persistent corona and enclosed within the 4- or 8-ribbed involucel.
A family of 8 genera and c. 260 species; chiefly N. temperate Europe and Asia, the eastern Mediterranean region, tropical E. and S. Africa. Represented here by 5 genera and about 10 species.
Acknowledgements: We are grateful to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for financing this research under P.L. 480. Thanks are also due to Messrs. B.L. Burtt, I.C. Hedge, Miss J. Lamond of Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh and Dr. S.M.H. Jafri of Karachi University Herbarium, for going through the manuscript and giving valuable suggestions. We are grateful to Mr. C.C. Townsend, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, for the latin diagnosis of the new species.