Barreda et al. describe Raiguenrayun cura gen. & sp. nov., an extinct Eocene taxon of the daisy family that might represent the ancestor of Mutisioideae–Carduoideae, based on an exceptionally well preserved capitulescence of Asteraceae recovered from a 47.5 million-year-old formation in north-west Patagonia, Argentina. The new fossil represents the first reliable point for calibration, favouring an earlier date to the split between Barnadesioideae and the rest of Asteraceae than previously thought. This is the oldest well-dated Asteraceae and perhaps the earliest indirect evidence for bird pollination in the family.