Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Herbs, annual, biennial or perennial with white latex; roots simple with a stout rootstock; stems very variable, erect, rarely ascending, glabrous or hispid, branched or solitary. Leaves very variable, alternate, ovate, oblong, sagittate or cordate, entire or obscurely sinuate toothed, pinnatifid or lyrate or variously lobed, pubescent or glabrous, usually petioled; upper leaves sessile, often stem-clasping. Inflorescence terminal, fascicled, racemose, sub paniculate, subsolitary or broadly panicled. Heads erect or drooping; peduncle slender, often bracteate. Involucral bracts in two or three series; outer ovate or ovate-lanceolate, unequal; inner linear-oblong, obtuse. Florets allligulate; ligules 5-toothed; corolla purple, whitish, pinkish, violet or blue. Stamens 5, appendaged; anthers pinkish. Style branches slender; stigma bifid, purple or pink. Achenes contracted at both ends, without beak, slightly compressed, 3 - 5 angled, ribbed. Pappus white or pale whitish, brittle, simple, slender.

S. Africa, Canary Island, Mediterranean region, Europe, Asia and America from temperate to subalpine region; ca 40 species, 6 in India.


1a. Rambling or climbing herbs 4. Prenanthes scandens
b. Erect herbs 2
2a. Tall herbs; stems 20-150 cm tall, glabrous or hispid; inflorescence terminal, fascicled or broad panicled 3
b. Short herbs; stems 10-100 cm high, quite glabrous, rarely with soft hairs; inflorescence racemose or subpaniculate or subsolitary 5
3a. Stems hispid or rarely glabrous, with long spreading hairs; leaves polymorphous; achenes narrowed downwards with rounded apex 1. Prenanthes brunoniana
b. Stems quite glabrous or sparsely hairy with small soft hairs; leaves not polymorphous; achenes narrowed at both ends 4
4a. Leaf margins without ciliate teeth; achenes pale brown or dark brown 5. Prenanthes sikkimensis
b. Leaf margins with ciliate teeth; achenes blackish 3. Prenanthes khasiana
5a. Stems 10-50 cm high; petiole 5-15 cm long; achenes broader, pale brown 6. Prenanthes violaefolia
b. Stems 20-100 cm high; petiole much aborter than above; achenes narrow, dark brown 2. Prenanthes hookeri

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