Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, mostly thistle like. Leaves alternate, sinuate, lobed or divided, rarely entire, mostly spiny or prickly. Heads mostly large, homogamous with tubular, fertile or rarely dioecious flowers. Involuccral bracts imbricate in many rows, prolonged into a spine or bristle or with membranous edges. Receptacle thick, hard or fleshy, bristly or hairy, rarely naked. Corolla deeply cleft. Anthers sagittate at base, appendages elongated. Style branches short, commonly united up to the obtuse or acute tips. Achenes usually narrow or flat.

Basically northern hemisphere and old world, a few genera common in the New World in both North and South America; ca 50 genera and 1500 species, 21 genera and 119 species in India.

Literature. BENTHAM, G., (1873). Notes on classification, History and Geographical distribution of composilae (Cynaroideae) J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 13: 466-471.

Notes. Echinops, being quite distinct from all other genera of the tribe, is often treated as a separate tribe Echinopsideae.


1a. Heads one flowered. crowded into involucrate, globose balls 11. Echinops
b. Heads many flowered, separate 2
2a. Leaves spiny 3
b. Leaves not spiny 10
3a. Involucre bracteate at base by spinous leaves; basal areole oblique or lateral 6. Carthamus
b. Involucre not bracteate as above; basal areole horizontal 4
4a. Leaves white veined; filaments connate below into a sheath 19. Silybum
b. Leaves not as above; filaments free 5
5a. Pappus hairs free 9. Cousinia
b. Pappus hairs connate into a ring at the base 6
6a. Receptacle with deep pits having dentate margins 16. Onopordum
b. Receptacle not pitted 7
7a. Pappus hairs feathery 8
b. Pappus hairs not feathery 9
8a. Heads bisexual 8. Cirsium
b. Heads unisexual 4. Breea
9a. Filaments hairy 5. Carduus
b. Filaments glabrous 15. Olgaea
10a. Involucral bracts with hooked bristles 3. Arctium
b. Involucral bracts without hooked bristles 11
11a. Achenes with 3-concentric ridges below the top 21. Zoegia
b. Achenes without concentric ridges 12
12a. Heads heterogamous (rarely homogamous) 13
b. Heads homogamous 15
13a. Achenes 10-15-costate 2. Amberboa
b. Achenes compressed, subcylindrical, 4-angled or 4-5 -costate 14
14a. Cauline leaves pinnatisect into linear segments: involucral bracts not appendaged: achene. villous 10. Crupina
b. Cauline leaves various: involucral bracts often appendaged; achene. glabrous or pubeacent 7. Centaurea
15a. Outer involucral bracts with ovate-JunuJate, searious, appendage; inner with oblong appendage 1. Acroptilon
b. Involucral bracts not appendaged as above 16
16a. Basal areole oblique or lateral 17
b. Basal areole horizontal 18
17a. Filaments glabrous 18. Serratula
b. Filaments papillose 20. Tricholepis
18a. Filaments hairy 12. Goniocaulon
b. Filaments glabrous 19
19a. Pappus hairs many-seriate, rough or feathery 14. Jurinea
b. Pappus hairs 1-seriate, simple or feathery 20
20a. Perennials; receptacle flat or convex, densely paleaceous, setoae or rarely naked; pappus 1-2-seriate, plumose 17. Saussurea
b. Biennials; receptacle more or less flat, setose; pappus 2-seriate, outer dimidiate 13. Hemistepta

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