Background and Aims The plant family Asteraceae (Compositae) exhibits remarkable morphological variation in the styles of its members. Lack of studies on the styles of the sister families to Asteraceae, Goodeniaceae and Calyceraceae, obscures our understanding of the origin and evolution of this reproductive feature in these groups. The aim of this work was to perform a comparative study of style morphology and to discuss the relevance of important features in the evolution of Asteraceae and its sister families. Methods The histochemistry, venation and general morphology of the styles of members of Goodeniaceae, Calyceraceae and early branching lineages of Asteraceae were analysed and put in a phylogenetic framework to discuss the relevance of style features in the evolution of these families. Key Results The location of lipophilic substances allowed differentiation of receptive from non-receptive style papillae, and the style venation in Goodeniaceae and Calyceraceae proved to be distinctive. There were several stages of style evolution from Goodeniaceae to Asteraceae involving connation and elongation of veins, development of bilobation from an initially cup-shaped style, and a redistribution of the receptive and non-receptive papillae. Conclusions These developments resulted in bifurcation in the styles of Asteraceae, with each branch face having a different function, and it is suggested here as a mechanism that promoted outcrossing, which in turn led to the great diversification in the family.