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Dr M’s Top 20 flowering plant families in Britain – a resume

Dr M’s series of posts on the Top 20 families of flowering plants kicked off with the three largest families globally: Asteraceae, Orchidaceae and Fabaceae.

David Streeters Top 20 Plant Families


However in Britain the size order of the top-twenty families has been documented by UK botanist David Streeter in his recent Wild Flower Guide and these three families are not (quite) the top three in Britain.

Below is David Streeter’s top-twenty plant families which Dr M will cover in this series, listed in order of their speciosity in Britain.


David Streeter’s Top 20 Flowering Plant Families in order of species number in Britain (bold and itallics means family already posted by Dr M, click on the family name for more information):

  1. Poaceae – Grass family
  2. Asteraceae – Daisy family 
  3. Cyperaceae – Sedge family
  4. Rosaceae – Rose family
  5. Caryophyllaceae – Pink family
  6. Fabaceae – Pea family
  7. Scrophulariaceae – Figwort family (The Book of Stace now splits this family into Scrophulariaceae, Plantaginaceae (Plantain family) and Veronicaceae (Speedwell family)
  8. Brassicaceae – Cabbage family
  9. Orchidaceae – Orchid family 
  10. Apiaceae – Carrot family
  11. Lamiaceae – Deadnettle or Mint family
  12. Ranunculaceae – Buttercup family
  13. Liliaceae – Lily family (The Book of Stace now splits this diverse family into … well into quite a tricky group … (Dr M feels a botanical headache coming on but will face up to this task in the true spirit of eXtreme botany when the time comes!)
  14. Juncaceae – Rush family
  15. Polygonaceae – Dock and Knotweed family
  16. Amaranthaceae – Goosefoot family
  17. Boraginaceae – Borage family
  18. Potomogetonaceae – Pondweed family
  19. Ericaceae – Heath family
  20. Geraniaceae – Geranium family

The featured image at the top of this post is the lovely Epipactis helleborine (Broad-Leaved Helleborine) in the Orchidaceae, which we have on the University of Reading campus and currently flowering under oak trees.

Lots more gorgeous plants to look forward to in this series!