home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Order: Commelinales

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Commelinoids

Five families of which three are encountered in southern Africa. There are 68 genera and 812 species recorded worldwide, of which 13 genera and 60 species are native to southern Africa. An additional three genera and four species are naturalised, and an additional four genera and 15 species are recorded as being cultivated in southern Africa.

Families encountered in southern Africa


Forty genera and 652 species (tropical and temperate regions), with seven genera and 48 species native to southern Africa, and two genera and two species naturalised. An additional four genera and 15 species are cultivated in the region.


There are 14 genera and 116 species worldwide, with three genera and nine species native to southern Africa.

Pontederiaceae (Water Hyacinth family)

Water or marsh plants. There are nine genera and 33 species (tropics, extending to temperate regions), with three genera and three species native to southern Africa, and one genus and two species (both aquatic weeds) naturalised in the region. One of the latter species is Eichornia crassipes (Water hyacinth), which is a particularly invasive species that clogs waterways.


Families not encountered in southern Africa

Hanguanaceae, Philydraceae