This spectacular book does full justice to the Compositae (Asteraceae), the largest and most successful flowering plant family with some 1700 genera and 24,000 species. It is an indispensable reference, providing the most up-to-date hypotheses of phylogenetic relationships in the family based on molecular and morphological characters, along with the corresponding subfamilial and tribal classification.
The 2009 work not only integrates the extensive molecular phylogenetic analyses conducted in the last 25 years, but also uses these to produce a metatree for about 900 taxa of Compositae. The book contains 44 chapters, contributed by 80 authors, covering the history, economic importance, character variation, and systematic and phylogenetic diversity of the family. The emphasis of this work is phylogenetic; its chapters provide a detailed, current, and thoroughly documented presentation of the major (and not so major) clades in the family, citing some 2632 references.
Like the Compositae, the book is massive, diverse, and fascinating. It is beautifully illustrated, with 170 figures, and an additional 108 cladograms (all consistently color-coded, based on the geographic range of the included taxa); within these figures are displayed 443 color photographs, clearly demonstrating the amazing array of floral and vegetative form expressed by members of the clade.