Nullam profecto plantarum familiam quam Umbelliferas, majoribus premi aut pluribus difficultatibus, nullam ad nostra usque tempora magis esse desertam atque confusam, ecquis negabit, qui vel nuperrimos plantarum indices cum rerum natura ipsa comparaverit?
K. J. P. Sprengel (1813a).
Truly, no family of plants is weighed down with greater or more numerous difficulties, none up to this time is so neglected and confused, as the Umbelliferae. Is there anyone, even one who has compared the very latest indexes of the plants with nature itself, who will deny this?
Native genera of Umbelliferae recorded for southern Africa total 38, and 19 are endemic. Of these, 17 lack close allies either within the area or outside it, suggesting that southern Africa once had a much richer Umbelliferan flora than at present, and emphasizing the importance of the area in the history of the family. The native species number about 195. All names that have been used for southern African species are listed and cross-referenced to the recommended name, which is set out with full synonymy. Difficult problems are discussed in a series of Notes. There is a list of 20 new names (6 new species, 11 transfers and 3 replacement names). The introductory sections include notes on family classification and the phytogeography of the genera; there is a survey of characters useful in classification and particular attention is paid to studies carried out on the family in other areas. All work quoted is fully referenced. A key to the genera is provided.