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Matelea denticulata - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-067.jpg
Matelea denticulata[1]
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae

See text

The Asclepiadoideae are a subfamily of plants in the family Apocynaceae. Formerly, they were treated as a separate family under the name Asclepiadaceae, e.g. by APG II, and known as the milkweed family. [2][3]

They form a group of perennial herbs, twining shrubs, lianas or rarely trees but notably also contain a significant number of leafless stem succulents. The name comes from the type genus Asclepias (milkweeds).

There are 348 genera, with about 2,900 species. They are mainly located in the tropics to subtropics,[4] especially in Africa and South America.

The florally advanced tribe Stapelieae within this family contains the relatively familiar stem succulent genera such as Huernia, Stapelia and Hoodia. They are remarkable for the complex mechanisms they have developed for pollination, which independently parallel the unrelated Orchidaceae, especially in the grouping of their pollen into pollinia. The fragrance from the flowers, often called "carrion", attracts flies. The flies pollinate the flowers.

Many new hybrids have been formed due to the unique fertilization method of the flowers.

Tribes and genera[edit]

Microloma calycinum, Richtersveld, South Africa

The following five tribes are recognised:



Caralluma acutangula, Burkina Faso




Stephanotis floribunda

Genera now placed elsewhere[edit]

These genera are not accepted within Asclepiadoideae by Endress et al (2014), but many were recognized in Endress & Bruyns (2000).[3]


  1. ^ 1897 illustration from Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen
  2. ^ English Names for Korean Native Plants (PDF). Pocheon: Korea National Arboretum. 2015. p. 363. ISBN 978-89-97450-98-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 May 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2017 – via Korea Forest Service.
  3. ^ a b Endress, M. E. and P. V. Bruyns (2000), "A revised classification of the Apocynaceae s.l." (PDF), Botanical Review, 66 (1): 1–56, doi:10.1007/BF02857781
  4. ^ Spellenberg, Richard (2001) [1979]. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers: Western Region (rev ed.). Knopf. p. 347. ISBN 978-0-375-40233-3.
  5. ^ "Diplostigma K.Schum". Plants of the World Online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2020-07-01.

External links[edit]