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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Order: Saxifragales 

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

There are 15 families, of which seven are encountered in southern Africa, with Crassulaceae containing the vast majority of species. Worldwide there are 112 genera and about 2500 species, of which eight genera and 276 species are native to southern Africa, mainly in fynbos. In addition, an additional 24 genera and 71 species are cultivated in the region.

Families encountered in southern Africa


Thirty-four genera and 1370 species (cosmopolitan except Australia and Western Pacific) of which six genera and 272 species are native to southern Africa. In addition, eight genera and 40 species are cultivated in southern Africa.  


Daphniphyllum glaucescens (native to Malaysia and Indonesia) and Daphniphyllum macropodum (Yuzuri-ha) (native to Japan, Korea and China) are cultivated in southern Africa. Daphniphyllum was previously placed in the Euphorbiaceae (e.g. by Glen, 2002).


Grossulariaceae (current and gooseberry family)

Ribes (currents and gooseberries) is the sole genus in this family and although not native to southern Africa, four species are cultivated in the region. Ribes has been placed in the Escalloniaceae previously (e.g. in Glen, 2002).


Hamamelidaceae (witch-hazel family)

Worldwide there are about 30 genera and 100 species, occurring sporadically over temperate and subtropical regions of both hemispheres. One genus and three species are native to southern Africa. An additional six genera and nine species are cultivated in the region.


Two genera and 18 species, native to eastern North America, East and southern Africa, and SE Asia. One species native to southern Africa: Choristylis rhamnoides (Choristylis is placed in Escaloniaceae on POSA website but in Iteaceae on Angiosperm Phylogeny website).



One genus, Paeonia, with 33 species, distributed in the north temperate regions extending as far south as the coastal regions of North Africa. Paeonia lactiflora is cultivated in southern Africa as a garden ornamental.



Not native to southern Africa, but seven genera and 15 species are cultivated in the region.


Families not encountered in southern Africa: Altingiaceae, Aphanopetalaceae, Cercidiphyllaceae, Cynomoriaceae, Haloragaceae, Penthoraceae, Peridiscaceae, Pterostemonaceae, Tetracarpaeaceae


  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.