Families of Flowering Plants of Australia
Suppose you have found a plant that you cannot identify. You may wish to know more about it – how common or rare it is, for example, or whether it’s poisonous or useful. The first step in finding out more is usually to find out what species the plant belongs to, and an important step in finding out its species is often to find out its family.
A family is a broad group of related plants with similar characteristics. All plants are classified by botanists into a hierarchy of groups, the most important of which are species, genus and family.
The family level is a particularly useful one for getting to know plants because there are relatively few families – in the Australian flora there are probably more than 25,000 species of plants grouped into around 2,700 genera of plants, all grouped into 240 families. Clearly, it’s easier to get to know all or most of the families of Australian plants than to get to know all or most of the genera or species. This will also be the case in any particular area, where the number of families will almost always be considerably less than the number of genera, and hence more easily grasped. Getting to know the families, and being able to place an unknown species into its family correctly, is a very important first step in learning about our flora.
Use Families of Flowering Plants of Australia to help identify the plant families of Australia.