Historically the members of the Liabeae (Compositae) were placed in the tribes Vernonieae, Heliantheae, Helenieae, Senecioneae and/or Mutisieae. In the 1970's Robinson brought the genera together into one tribe and the most recent cladogram based on morphology weakly grouped the Liabeae with the Vernonieae when compared with the Lactuceae. Early molecular work in the family showed the Arctoteae, Liabeae, Lactuceae, and Vernonieae in a variety of placements and resulted in an unresolved polytomy or grade located between the tribe Mutisieae and the subfamily Asterioideae. Recent Mutisieae and Liabeae DNA sequence data have been combined with previously published sequence data to address the placement of the Liabeae; the outgroups were a clade of Asian and African Mutisieae, the core Mutisieae, and the Cardueae. The results show that the four tribes form a monophyletic group whose sister group is the Asterioideae. Within this four taxon clade the Vernonieae, Liabeae, and Arctoteae form an unresolved monophyletic group with the Lactuceae as its sister group. The distribution of the tribes in the four taxon clade is interesting because the members of the Liabeae are primarily Andean, those of the Vernonieae are mostly found in Brazil and tropical Africa, and the Arctoteae taxa are confined to southern Africa, so that the three form a southern hemisphere clade, while the distribution of the Lactuceae is Laurasian.

Key words: biogeography, Compositae, Liabeae