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Compositae of Brazil

Providing an updated, fully synonymized, annotated checklist of the Compositae of Brazil, available online and in print

The Brazilian flora is one of the largest in South America, with an estimated 31,162 species of flowering plants, of which the most recent estimate (Catálogo de Plantas e Fungos do Brasil, 2010) indicated that 1,965 (c. 6.3%) are members of the Compositae, of which c. 65.6% were considered endemic to Brasil. The family is most abundant in the cerrado biome (1st – 20.1%) and pampa (1st – 28.2%) domains, but is also one of the most diverse in the caatinga (3rd – 12.3%), Mata Atlântica (4th – 11.8%), and Pantanal (5th – 9.5%). It is very poorly represented in the Amazônia biome.

Over many years a fully annotated synonymic checklist has been developing, tribe by tribe, in the course of literature and herbarium studies and flora projects e.g. Flora of São Paulo (Senecioneae, Astereae, Lactuceae, Anthemideae, and Mikania in the Eupatorieae), Flora of Grão Mogol, Flora of Bahia, and Repatriation of Kew herbarium data for Northeastern Brazil. Studies of historical collections (e.g. George Gardner, William John Burchell and Richard Spruce), rich in type material, have also benefited this compilation.

This project is focused on the development of taxonomic knowledge and information resources for this extremely important plant group, whilst building in-country capacity for continued research. The list of Compositae currently available in the Catálogo de Plantas e Fungos do Brasil does not contain publication details, type citations, basionym citations, listings of synonyms, nor indications of extra-Brazilian distribution. The project is working to address these information gaps and to provide a corrected checklist for the country.

Long-term studies are working towards a series of tribal checklists for the family in Brazil, selected accounts for the Flora of Bahia (in collaboration with a small number of researchers in the state), and selected tribal accounts for the Flora of São Paulo. Recent checklists produced include the Compositae of NE Brazil and the Compositae for the Programme for Biodiversity Research in the Semi-arid Area (of Brazil), and assistance with the Prodromus Florae Matogrossensis. A checklist of the Compositae of NE Brazil (as represented by the herbarium collections of RBG, Kew), derived from analysis of the data from the Repatriation of Kew herbarium data for Northeastern Brazil project, has been published, backed by a web-available database and digitized images of the material represented in Kew's herbarium collections. The data accumulated in these checklists will be used as the basis for evaluations of species conservation status, endemism and biodiversity richness in the region. The data collated in the Preliminary Annotated Checklist of the Compositae of Bolivia is also being used in this project.

Capacity-building activities have included supervision of PhD students and reviewing/refereeing of manuscripts submitted to Brazilian journals. Support been provided to one PhD student from the Departamento de Botânica, Universidade de São Paulo (USP): Benoit Loeuille (studying the Lychnophorinae, tribe Vernonieae), who successfully defended his PhD thesis in July 2011. A former student from USP, Mara Margenta (studying Viguiera, tribe Heliantheae), defended her PhD thesis in March 2006. Dr Hind has also hosted a number of Reflora researchers including Prof. Jimi Nakajima (HUFU), Profa. Nadia Roque (UFBA), Prof. Aristônio Teles (UFG), and in the second iteration of Reflora, that commenced in February 2015, it is hoped a number of other researchers will be welcomed to study the Compositae collections.

Key papers published 

  • Frisby, S. & Hind, D. J. N. (2014). Ichthyothere sasakiae, (Compositae: Heliantheae: Milleriinae), a new species from the Amazonian campo rupestre of northern Mato Grosso State, Brazil. Kew Bull. 69(2): 1–7. [DOI: 10.1007/s12225-014-9504-2].
  • Zappi, D. C., Milliken, W., Hind, D. J. N., Biggs, N., Rando, J. G., Malcolm, P. & R. de Mello-Silva (2014). Plantas do Setor Noroeste da Serra do Cipó, Minas Gerais: guia ilustrado. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 312 pp.
  • Biggs, N. & Hind, D. J. N. (2013). Sciadocephala gracileliae (Compositae: Eupatorieae: Adenostemmatinae): a new species from Mato Groso State, and a new generic record for, Brazil. Kew Bull. 68(2): 1 – 7 [DOI: 10.1007/S12225-013-9458-9].
  • Magenta, M. A. G., Loeuille, B., Hind, D. J. N. & Pirani, J. R. (2012). Lectotypification of the name Helianthus dentatus Cav., basionym of Viguiera dentata (Cav.) Spreng. (Asteraceae: Heliantheae). Phytotaxa 58: 56–58.
  • Loeuille, B., Semir, J., Hind, D. J. N. & Pirani, J. R. (2012). Three new species of Piptolepis (Compositae: Vernonieae) from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Kew Bull. 67(1): 1–8.
  • Hind, D. J. N. & Miranda, E. B. (2008). Lista preliminar da Família Compositae na Região nordeste do Brasil. (Série Repatriamento de Dados do Herbário de Kew para a Flora do nordeste do [Brasil], vol. 4). Preliminary list of the Compositae in Northeastern Brazil (Repatriation of Kew herbarium data for the Flora of Northeastern Brazil Series, vol 4). [i] –xxv, 1 – 104.

Project partners and collaborators


Universidade de São Paulo - Benoit Loeuille, Mara Margenta

Project funders


Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew