All of the families of flowering plants are given their names by botanists, who have decided that all of the family names should end in "aceae" and the first part of the name be the name of one of the flowers in the family. In the past, the families were named after a characteristic that the flowers had in common.
Asteraceae - The Daisy Family
Asteraceae is one of the largest of all the plant families. Members of this family, which contains more than 25,000 different species, can be shrubs, perennials or annuals and range from dandelion and thistle to asters and chrysanthemums to lettuce and artichoke. All of the plants will have many individual flowers. The flowers can have petals the same size or petals of different sizes. All of the flowers in this family produce seeds that are oval in shape and can be either far or rounded. The colors can be straw, brown or black and can be seen on the outside of the flower. Other members of this family include daisies, sunflowers, marigolds, zinnias, gazanias, ragweeds, sagebrush, cosmos and dahlias.
Liliaceae - The Lily Family
Liliaceae is another large family of flowering plants with about 3,500 species. Most members of the family are flowers like the lily, but it also includes onions, garlic, leeks, chives and asparagus. The plants in this family can have leaves that are long and thin that only grow from the base of the plant or oval and growing up the stem. The scales on the side of the asparagus were once leaves; the gloriosa does not have leaves but tendrils, and the borya has needles. Many of the plants have bulbs, corms or rhizomes. The seeds are encased in seed pods. The flowers can either be racemesa, meaning they have clusters of separate flowers that are attached by short stalks on a central stem like the hyacinth, or they can be one large flower like the tulip. These flowers usually have six petals. Other plants in this family include lily-of-the-valley, trilliums, wake-robins, bellworts, merrybells, dogtooth violets, Solomon's seals, sarsaparilla aloe, saffron and crocus.
Violaceae - The Violet Family
There are about 900 species in this family, mostly small perennials, and herbs, shrubs and trees from the tropics. Violets and pansies are the most popular and have heart-shaped leaves with the exception of species like the
rosulate violas, where the leaves are like a succulent and are round, very much like a cactus. However, these are very rare. Single flowers grow on long stems, have five different-sized petals and can come in any color. The seeds grow in a pod that are dispersed when the pod splits into three, taking the form of a three-pointed star.