Welcome to Diplostephium, a webpage devoted to the study of the genus and its allies.

Diplostephium hartwegii

Diplostephium hartwegii

Carl Sigismund Kunth first described Diplostephium in Nova Genera et Species Plantarum (1820) with the description of a single species Diplostephium lavandulifolium, now Diplostephium ericoides (Lam.) Cabrera. The generic name came from the Greek diplos, double, and the Greek stefanos, crown, referring to the two-rowed pappus present on the achenes.

The genus Diplostephium includes 111 species distributed from Costa Rica to northern Chile in high elevation cloud forest, páramo, and puna habitats. The morphological variation and the high number of species make the genus an excellent candidate to study the evolutionary processes that affected speciation along the Andes and shaped the fauna and flora seen today.

The genus was largely studied by the Spanish botanist Jose Cuatrecasas, who described more than 90 new taxa in the genus along with two revisions (1943, 1969). While the first revision accounted for 64 species, the second one focused on the Colombian territory, accounting for 53 species. Jose Cuatrecasas, who lived and collected in Colombia focused his works on the Colombian taxa, which is the reason why the Diplostephium species outside Colombia have not been treated since 1948. In the absence of a complete treatment for the genus, Vargas (2011) published a nomenclator of the genus compiling all the names published and deciphering the circumscription of the names from the literature and herbarium specimens. On the grand scale the non-Colombian species have yet to be studied.