Higher classification Daisy family
|Similar Daisy family, Aphyllocladus, Pentacalia, Acrisione, Munnozia|
Diplostephium is a genus of trees and shrubs in the sunflower family.
Diplostephium is distributed on high mountains zones from Venezuela to Chile with the exception of two species in Costa Rica (INBio information system, July 2005) and twelve in the "Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta" (Colombia). It makes part of the high andean forest and the paramo ecosystems. Colombia has the most species with 63 (Vargas & Madriñán, 2006), the majority of them found in the Oriental Cordillera, which has 33 registered species until this moment. Diplostephium is the third most diverse genus on the paramos with 70 species after Pentacalia and Senecio (Luteyn, 1999).
According to José Cuatrecasas, (1986) the genus is an element of Neotropical origin that could have reached the paramos from the southern latitudes of South America; where the primitive arboreal species can be found in the high Andean forest while the most advanced members can be found in the paramos and super-paramos. This reinforces previous theories from Cuatrecasas (1969), who proposed as atavistic characteristics the morphologies present in the arboreal species of high Andean forest. Based on this, Cuatrecasas made a phylogenetic ordination into natural groups or series where the derived species are more diverse and are found at high altitudes.