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Overview of Succulent Plants
and how they are grouped into families

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More than 60 plant families split into some 300 genera, have evolved succulent species as an adaptation to limited availabiity of water.
What is a succulent plant ?
This page summarises plant families and genera that include succulent species, linked to further specific information.
Succulent plants illustrated on this site can be seen as:
text list: names thumbnails: Succulent Plants 
thumbnails: Cacti thumbnails: Gymnosperms

 Find succulent plant genus of interest
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 Find succulent plant family of interest

  • Notes:
  • Amaryllidaceae, Bromeliaceae, Hyacinthaceae and Orchidaceae are often excluded from succulent plant shows. Palms and Cycads are woody xerophytes but often find their way into collections of succulent plants.
  • Many families listed below include only a few succulent species.
  • Non-succulent genera within families are generally not listed. However, succulence may be somewhat in the eye of the beholder.
  • Genera may be grouped quite differently for show purposes, especially caudiciforms.
  • Taxonomy is often controversial, changing frequently. This page attempts to follow the APG II system incorporating recent molecular analysis, but APG III (2009) has already changed many things and APG III terminology may be seen in some places.

(Plants with naked seeds)

go to top Order Cycadales

go to top Order Welwitschiales


(Flowering plants with one seed leaf)

go to top Order Arales

go to top Order Arecales

dish of dates - (Phoenix dactylifera)

go to top Asparagales

joshua tree  
The Agavaceae, Dracaenaceae and Nolinaceae have been variously grouped together, but recently demerged into separate families. However, APG III (2009) has made further rearrangements.

  • Xanthorrhoeaceae
  • Asphodelaceae
  • Aloaceae - Aloe Family
  • Aloe
  • Recent revisions split Aloe: 
    Aloe - everything not listed below plus Chortolirion
    Aloiampelos - 7 species of scrambling Aloes
    Aloidendron - 6 species of tree Aloe
    Aristaloe - Aloe aristata --> Tulista
    Gonialoe - Aloe section Serrulatae, incl. Aloe variegata
    Kumara - Aloe plicatilis & Aloe haemanthifolia

  • Astroloba
  • Bulbine
  • Chortolirion - monotypic genus
  • Gasteria
  • Haworthia
  • Recent revisions split Haworthia: 
    Haworthia - soft leaved species from subgenus Haworthia
    Haworthiopsis - 16 hard-leaved species from sub-genus Hexangulares
    Tulista - 15 diverse species including subgenus Robustipedunculatae
    & Haworthia koelmaniorum plus Astroloba, Poellnitzia & Aloe aristata.

  • Lomatophyllum
  • Poellnitzia - monotypic genus

  • Orchidaceae   -   Orchids
    Very incomplete list.
  • Acampe
  • Aerangis
  • Ansellia
  • Bolusiella
  • Bulbophyllum
  • Calanthe
  • Cirrhopetalum
  • Cyrtorchis
  • Eulophia
  • Liparis
  • Oberonia
  • Oeceoclades
  • Polystachya
  • Tridactyle
  • Vanilla

go to top Order Commelinales

go to top Order Dioscoreales

go to top Order Poales


(Flowering plants with two seed leaves)

go to top Order Apiales

go to top Order Asterales

go to top Order Brassicales

go to top Order Caryophyllales

go to top Order Celastrales

go to top Order Cucurbitales

go to top Order Ericales

go to top Order Fabales

dish of pulses
  dish of pulses

go to top Order Gentianales


go to top Order Geraniales

go to top Order Lamiales

go to top Order Malpighiales

  • Monadenium
  • The Family Monadenium has been absorbed into Euphorbia. The genera below are therefore obsolete but will be seen for some time in old books and on plant labels.
  • Cridoscolus
  • Elaeophorbia
  • Endadenium
  • Jatropha
  • Monadenium
  • Pedilanthus
  • Phyllanthus
  • Stenadenium
  • Synadenium

go to top Order Malvales

adansonia digitata
  • Bombacaceae
  • Adansonia
  • Bombax
  • Cavanillesia
  • Ceiba
  • Chorisia
  • Pseudobombax

go to top Order Myrtales

go to top Order Oxalidales

Oxalis tuberosa
  Oxalis tuberosa

go to top Order Piperales

go to top Order Ranunculales

go to top Order Rosales

go to top Order Sapindales

go to top Order Saxifragales

go to top Order Solanales

sweet potato
Ipomoea batatas
sweet potato

go to top Order Vitales


go to top  Order Zygophyllales

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