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Plants of Economic Importance

Last updated 7 months ago

  • 78564_88_88 Plantae > Brassicaceae

    Nasturtium officinale

    Watercress

    Nasturtium officinale is also known as watercress. It has edible leaves and is cultivated as a vegetable.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. "Twenty-Five Economically Important Plant Families."

    Sort value: Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)

  • 49080_88_88 Plantae > Convolvulaceae

    Ipomoea batatas

    Sweet Potato

    "Cultivated mainly for the tuber, used as vegetable, eaten boiled, baked fried, or dried and ground into flour to make biscuits, bread, and other pastries. Tubers also dehydrated in chips, canned, cooked and frozen, creamed and used as pie fillings, much like pumpkin. Leafy tops eaten as vegetable and sold in markets in Malaysia. Greatly esteemed as feed for farm animals; with 3 kg green sweet potatoes equivalent to 1 kg of corn, with a food value rated 95–100% that of corn. Dry vines have feed value which compares favorably with alfalfa hay as forage."

    Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished: Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.

    Sort value: Convolvulaceae

  • 26572_88_88 Plantae > Convolvulaceae

    Turbina corymbosa

    Christmas Vine

    Turbina corymbosa, commonly known as olouqui, is high in alkaloids including the alkaloid d-Lysergic acid amide to d-lysergic acid diethylamide, which is commonly abreviated as LSD.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. "Twenty-Five Economically Important Plant Families."

    Sort value: Convolvulaceae

  • 02999_88_88 Plantae > Convolvulaceae

    Ipomoea tricolor

    Grannyvine

    Is rich in alkaloids as with many other members of the family. Also known as badoh negro.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Convolvulaceae

  • 62668_88_88 Plantae > Convolvulaceae

    Ipomoea

    Morning-glory

    Like the genus Convovulus, this genus contains species that are often significant weeds in agricultural fields but which are sometimes cultivated for ornamental purposes.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Convolvulaceae

  • 62668_88_88 Plantae > Convolvulaceae

    Convolvulus

    Bindweed

    Like the genus Ipomoea, this genus contains species which are significant agricultural weeds but which are also sometimes cultivated as ornamental purposes.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Convolvulaceae

  • 74897_88_88 Plantae > Convolvulaceae

    Evolvulus

    Dwarf Morning-glory

    Some species of the genus Evolvus are popularly cultivated for ornamental purposes.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Convolvulaceae

  • 22777_88_88 Plantae > Convolvulaceae

    Jacquemontia

    Clustervine

    Some species of the genus Jacquemontia are popular as ornamental plants.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Convolvulaceae

  • 76987_88_88 Plantae > Cucurbitaceae

    Cucumis melo

    Melon

    Cucumis melo is the species of melon from which the popular fruits cantaloupe and honey dew are derived.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Cucurbitaceae

  • 78722_88_88 Plantae > Cucurbitaceae

    Cucumis sativus

    Garden Cucumber

    Cucumis sativus is commonly known as cucumber--a popular and widely farmed vegetable.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Cucurbitaceae

  • 38718_88_88 Plantae > Cucurbitaceae

    Citrullus lanatus

    Watermelon

    Citrullus lanatus is commonly known as watermelon, the plant is widely agriculturally cultivated for its edible fruit.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Cucurbitaceae

  • 20565_88_88 Plantae > Cucurbitaceae

    Sechium edule

    Chayote

    Sechium edule, also known as Chayote, is a New World tropical plant cultivated for its edible fruit.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Cucurbitaceae

  • 58036_88_88 Plantae > Cucurbitaceae

    Cyclanthera pedata

    Achocha

    Cyclanthera pedata is commonly known by the name Achocha, the plant is cultivated in the New World tropics for its edible fruit.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Cucurbitaceae

  • 14028_88_88 Plantae > Cucurbitaceae

    Momordica charantia

    Bitter Melon

    Momordica charantia is a bitter melon eaten in as a vegetable in Asia. It is eaten raw and cooked and is believed to be good for skin. It is commonly found in Asian markets. It has also been shown to have effects in treating diabetes.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.
    personal observation

    Sort value: Cucurbitaceae

  • 02488_88_88 Plantae > Cucurbitaceae

    Luffa

    Luffa

    Mature fruits found in the genus Luffa are the source of loofa vegetable sponges. Which are commonly sold as a bathing accessory.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Cucurbitaceae

  • 80249_88_88 Plantae > Cucurbitaceae

    Lagenaria siceraria

    Bottle Gourd

    The fruits of the species Lagenaria siceraria are used as bottle gourds when dried.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Cucurbitaceae

  • 04357_88_88 Plantae > Cucurbitaceae

    Cucurbita

    Squash

    The genus Cucurbita is the source of pumpkins, squashes and zucchini. Among the species which are most agriculturally important are Cucurbita argyrosperma, Cucurbita maxima, Cucurbita moschata and Cucurbita pepo, they are the sources of the most common and widely grown pumpkin, squash and zucchini crops.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Cucurbitaceae

  • 10334_88_88 Plantae > Cucurbitaceae

    Fevillea cordifolia

    Antidote Caccoon

    The seeds of this plant are a potential oil crop.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Cucurbitaceae

  • 94538_88_88 Plantae > Dioscoreaceae

    Dioscorea alata

    Water Yam

    "This member of the yam family (Dioscoreaceae) produces edible underground tubers. (Though most yams contain an acrid component, cooking makes them edible.) The large underground tubers of winged yam can weigh up to 100 pounds. Like air potato, winged yam also produces large numbers of aerial tubers, which are potato-like growths attached to the stems. These grow into new plants. Dioscorea species are cultivated for their edible tubers in West Africa where they are important commodities. Uncultivated forms (as in Florida) however are reported to be bitter and even poisonous. Dioscorea varieties, containing the steroid diosgenin, are a principal material used in the manufacture of birth-control pills. Research has shown that winged yam has antifungal properties."

    Source: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Extension: Winged Yam

    Sort value: Dioscoreaceae

  • 84735_88_88 Plantae > Dioscoreaceae

    Dioscorea

    Yams

    This genus contains several species of tubers which are food staples for tropical cultures including D. alata, D. bulbifera, D. cayenensis, D. dumetorum, D. esculenta, D. galbis, D. hispida, D. opposita, D. pentaphylla, D. rotundata and D. trifida. D. mexicana and other mexican species were the source of diosgenin, which was used to synthesize progesterone for the first synthetic birth control pills.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Dioscoreaceae

  • 69382_88_88 Plantae > Dioscoreaceae

    Dioscorea mexicana

    Yam

    D. mexicana, along with other mexican species, were the source of diosgenin, which was used to synthesize progesterone for the first synthetic birth control pills.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Dioscoreaceae

  • 69134_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Manihot esculenta

    Cassava

    Cassava is a perennial woody shrub, grown as an annual. Cassava is a major source of low cost carbohydrates for populations in the humid tropics. The largest producer of cassava is Brazil, followed by Thailand, Nigeria, Zaire and Indonesia. Production in Africa and Asia continues to increase, while that in Latin America has remained relatively level over the past 30 years. Thailand is the main exporter of cassava with most of it going to Europe. It was carried to Africa by Portuguese traders from the Americas. It is a staple food in many parts for western and central Africa and is found throughout the humid tropics. The world market for cassava starch and meal is limited, due to the abundance of substitutes.

    Source: New Crop FactSHEET: Cassava

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 79145_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Cnidoscolus aconitifolius

    Treadsoftly

    Cnidoscolus aconitifolius leaves are sources of vegetables.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 95962_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Cnidoscolus aconitifolius subsp. aconitifolius

    Chaya

    The leaves of this plant are sources of vegetables.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 96460_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Caryodendron orinocense

    Tacay Nut

    This is an Amazonian specie whose edible seeds have potential for commercial development.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 63174_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Aleurites moluccanus

    Candle Nut Tree

    Aleurites molucanna is a significant source of oil, specifically tung oil.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 98869_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Vernicia fordii

    Tungoil Tree

    Veronica fordii is a significant source of oil.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 87518_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Ricinus communis

    Castor Bean

    Ricinus communis is a significant source of oil and is cultivated for the production of castor oil.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 12778_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Euphorbia antisyphilitica

    Candelilla Wax

    Euphorbia antisyphilitica is a significant source of wax.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 43115_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Triadica sebifera

    Chinese Tallow

    An important source of wax.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 23368_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Hevea brasiliensis

    Pará Rubber Tree

    This tree is extremely valuable to humans, it is the source of latex and natural rubber and is the most economically important crop of the genus Hevea. It is grown on monoculture crop plantations mostly in South America and some parts of Africa.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 12950_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Croton

    Perennial Croton Species

    The genus Croton contains the species Croton lecheri which is medically important to many indigenous people of South America. The sap is used in traditional South American medicine, both internally and externally, to treat a variety of ailments including: cancer, flesh wounds, fractures, hemorrhoids, intestinal fevers, inflamed or infect gums, as an anti-viral for respiratory and stomach viruses, HIV, in vaginal baths before and after childbirth, as a vaginal douche, for hemorrhaging after childbirth, for skin disorders, and for mouth, throat, intestinal and stomach ulcers. Much scientific investigation into the efficacy of C. lecheri sap was done from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s and pharmaceutical patents have since been taken out on related and derivative products. It has been scientifically confirmed to increase the healing rate of skin wounds in rats due to active ingredients such as taspine. It is also an antioxidant and has been shown to have inhibitory effects on the growth of gastrointestinal cancer and anti-mutagenic effects on a myelogenous leukemia cell line in test tubes.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.
    James A. Duke, 1997 "The Green Pharmacy: New Discoveries in Herbal Remedies for Common Diseases and Conditions from the World's Foremost Authority on Healing Herbs." Rodale.
    Leslie Taylor. 2005. "The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs: A Guide to Understanding and Using Herbal Medicinals." Square One Publishers.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 34501_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Homalanthus nutans

    Mamala Tree

    The AIDS drug prostratin was developed from this plant as a result of leads obtained from Paul Cox's work in Samoa.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 86351_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Euphorbia pulcherrima

    Poinsettia

    A notable ornamental, it is extremely popular in North America and sells as a winter plant associated with the winter holidays.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 01318_88_88 Plantae > Euphorbiaceae

    Croton lechleri

    Dragon's Blood

    Croton lecheri is medically important to many indigenous people of South America. The sap is used in traditional South American medicine, both internally and externally, to treat a variety of ailments including: cancer, flesh wounds, fractures, hemorrhoids, intestinal fevers, inflamed or infect gums, as an anti-viral for respiratory and stomach viruses, HIV, in vaginal baths before and after childbirth, as a vaginal douche, for hemorrhaging after childbirth, for skin disorders, and for mouth, throat, intestinal and stomach ulcers. Much scientific investigation into the efficacy of C. lecheri sap was done from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s and pharmaceutical patents have since been taken out on related and derivative products.

    References:
    • James A. Duke, 1997 "The Green Pharmacy: New Discoveries in Herbal Remedies for Common Diseases and Conditions from the World's Foremost Authority on Healing Herbs." Rodale.
    • Leslie Taylor. 2005. "The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs: A Guide to Understanding and Using Herbal Medicinals." Square One Publishers.
    • Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Euphorbiaceae

  • 43196_88_88 Plantae > Fabaceae

    Glycine max

    Soybean

    Soybean seeds furnish one of the world's most important sources of oil and protein. Unripe seeds are eaten as vegetable and dried seeds eaten whole, split or sprouted. Processed they give soy milk, a valuable protein supplement in infant feeding which also provides curds and cheese. Soy sauce made from the mature fermented beans, and soy is an ingredient in other sauces.

    Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished: Glycine max (L.) Merr.

    Sort value: Fabaceae

  • 44195_88_88 Plantae > Fabaceae

    Phaseolus vulgaris

    Common Bean

    "Common bean is most widely cultivated of all beans in temperate regions, and widely cultivated in semitropical regions. In temperate regions the green immature pods are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Immature pods are marketed fresh, frozen or canned, whole, cut or french-cut. Mature ripe beans, variously called navy beans, white beans, northern beans, or pea beans, are widely consumed. In lower latitudes, dry beans furnish a large portion of the protein needs of low and middle class families."

    Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished: Phaseolus vulgaris L.

    Sort value: Fabaceae

  • 11969_88_88 Plantae > Fabaceae

    Lens culinaris

    Lentil

    "The domestication of Lens culinaris formed an important part of the agricultural revolution in the Neolithic, along with Wheat and Barley. Although the amount harvested per unit area for Lentil is less than for Wheat and Barley, the high protein content (25%) of Lentil seeds makes them a highly nutritious (and tasty) food source."

    Source: Biodiversity Explorer: Lens culinaris (Lentil)

    Sort value: Fabaceae

  • 53279_88_88 cellular organisms > Fabaceae

    Mimosoideae

    The species with in the Igna tribe of Mimosoideae are tree legumes that are cultivated for their edible fruit.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C. 2007. Chapter 3. Twenty-five Important Plant Families. B.C. Bennett, editor. UNESCO Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. http://eolss.net.

    Sort value: Fabaceae

  • 30607_88_88 Plantae > Fabaceae

    Phaseolus

    Bean

    Many species of this genus yield commonly eaten beans, a significant source of non-animal protein for humans. Commonly eaten species include: P. acutifolius, P. coccineus, P. lunatus and P. vulgaris.

    References:
    Bennett, B.C., 2007. Twenty-Five Economically Important Plant Families.

    Sort value: Fabaceae (Leguminosae)

  • 85262_88_88 Plantae > Lamiaceae

    Mentha

    Mint

    Sort value: Lamiaceae

  • 89916_88_88 Plantae > Moraceae

    Artocarpus altilis

    Breadfruit

    The breadfruit is believed to be native to a vast area extending from New Guinea through the Indo-Malayan Archipelago to Western Micronesia. It is said to have been widely spread in the Pacific area by migrating Polynesians, and Hawaiians believed that it was brought from the Samoan island of Upalu to Oahu in the 12th Century A.D. It is said to have been first seen by Europeans in the Marquesas in 1595, then in Tahiti in 1606. At the beginning of the 18th Century, the early English explorers were loud in its praises, and its fame, together with several periods of famine in Jamaica between 1780 and 1786, inspired plantation owners in the British West Indies to petition King George III to import seedless breadfruit trees to provide food for their slaves.

    Source: Morton, J. 1987. Breadfruit. p. 50–58. In: Fruits of warm climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL.

    Sort value: Moraceae

  • 90809_88_88 Plantae > Poaceae

    Setaria italica

    Foxtail Millet

    Foxtail millet (Setaria italica L.) probably originated in southern Asia and is the oldest of the cultivated millets. Today, foxtail millet is grown primarily in eastern Asia. Proso millet is grown in the Soviet Union, mainland China, India and western Europe. In the United States, both millets are grown principally in the Dakotas, Colorado and Nebraska. Foxtail millet is usually grown for hay or silage often as a short-season emergency hay crop.

    Source: Alternative Field Crops Manual: Millets

    Sort value: Poaceae

  • 30552_88_88 Plantae > Poaceae

    Oryza sativa

    Rice

    Rice is cultivated primarily for the grain which forms an important part of the diet in many countries, especially in Asia. Native to the tropics and subtropics of Southeast Asia, rice is now cultivated in many localities throughout the world with favorable climatic conditions. More than 90% of the world rice production is in Asia; China and India being the largest producers.

    Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished: Oryza sativa L.

    Sort value: Poaceae

  • 00153_88_88 Plantae > Poaceae

    Secale cereale

    Cereal Rye

    Cereal rye is cultivated for the grain, used to make flour, the importance of which is second only to wheat. Canadian and United States whiskies are made mainly from rye. Roasted grains substitute for coffee. Grains mixed with others are used for livestock feed. As pasturage, crop grazed fall or spring and then allowed to head-out and mature. Probably native to southwestern Asia, but now widely cultivated in the temperate regions of the world. Grown in every state in the United States, often where conditions are unfavorable for wheat.

    Source: James A. Duke. 1983. Handbook of Energy Crops. unpublished: Secale cereale L.

    Sort value: Poaceae

  • 28174_88_88

    What do we eat?

    14 items; maintained by Eating biodiversity

  • 16996_88_88 Plantae > Asparagaceae

    Agave tequilana

    Blue Agave

    Agave tequilana, or Blue Agave, is the only species of agave that can be used to produce Tequila certified by the Mexican government. According to the Tequila Regulatory Council of Mexico, a distilled alcoholic spirit must be made from at least 51% Blue Agave to be recognized as Tequila under the Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM-006-SCFI-2012). Pure Tequila must be made from 100% Blue Agave (NOM-006-SCFI-2012).

    See "Detail" tab on species page to read more.

    References:
    Centro de Información de la Dirección General de Normas de la Secretaría de Economía (2012) NOM-006-SCFI-2012. Catálogo de Normas Oficiales Mexicanas.
  • 15574_88_88 Plantae > Asteraceae

    Dahlia

    Dahlia