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Common names

French (Corse): PicrideA,1; Hebrew (Israel): תּוֹלַעֲנִיתB,1, תולעניתB,1; Turkish (Turkey): BıllurdüğmeC
1. recommended


Helminthotheca (Lack 1975a,b, Tremetsberger & al. 2015, and see Synonymy), is a small genus of seven species (two of them previously recognised at subspecies rank only) with a distribution centred in the western Mediterranean.

It is morphologically closely linked to Picris, both having an indumentum of, besides simple and rarely branched hairs, peculiar 2-4-furcate, hooked anchor-like hairs, no receptacular bracts and usually branched, leafy stems. This combination of characters distinguishes the two genera from the other members of the core Hypochaeridinae, which are Hypochaeris (without furcate hairs and with receptacular bracts), Leontodon and Scorzoneroides (stems usually unbranched and leafless, hairs simple or stellate but never furcate and hooked). Helminthotheca is distinguished from Picris and the other genera by the presence of 5 conspicuously enlarged uniseriate ovate to cordate outer phyllaries (Lack 1975b; Holzapfel 1994; Talavera & al. 2016).

Samuel & al. (2006) show Helminthotheca and Picris in their combined nrITS and cp matK tree as two independent clades sister to Leontodon, while their cp matK tree combines both in a weakly supported clade and their ITS tree reveals them as two different clades in a polytomy with two clades of Leontodon. Helminthotheca and Picris appear thus closely related to Leontodon, while Hypochaeris is sister to all three and Scorzoneroides again sister to all four.

Helminthotheca includes five perennial homocarpic species and two annual heterocarpic species (H. balansae and H. echioides) (Talavera & al. 2016). Western North Africa with its mountain ranges Rif and Middle Atlas is revealed as the ancestral area of the genus in the reconstruction by Tremetsberger & al. (2015). Two migratory routes out of western North Africa and across the Mediterranean Sea were suggested: the first to the north, across the Strait of Gibraltar, to the Iberian Peninsula; the second to the east, along central North African territories, to Sicily and the Apennine Peninsula (Tremetsberger & al. 2015).


Holzapfel S. 1994: A revision of the genus Picris (Asteraceae, Lactuceae) s.l. in Australia. – Willdenowia 24: 97–218.

Lack H. W. 1975a: A note on Helminthotheca Zinn (Compositae). – Taxon 24: 111–112.

Lack H. W. 1975b: Die Gattung Picris L., sensu lato, im ostmediterran-westasiatischen Raum. – Diss. Univ. Wien 116.

Samuel R., Gutermann W., Stuessy T. F., Ruas C. F., Lack H.-W., Tremetsberger K., Talavera S., Hermanowski B. & Ehrendorfer F. 2006: Molecular phylogenetics reveals Leontodon (Asteraceae, Cichorieae) to be diphyletic. – Amer. J. Bot. 93: 1193–1205.

Talavera S., Tremetsberger K., Ortiz M. de los Á., Ariza M. J. & Talavera M. 2016: Revisión del género Helminthotheca Vaill. (Cichorieae, Compositae). – Acta Bot. Malac. 41: 49–81. // ➪ //

Tremetsberger K., Ortiz M. A., Terrab A., Balao F., Casimiro-Soriguer R., Talavera M. & Talavera S. 2015: Phylogeography above the species level for perennial species in a composite genus. – AoB Pl. 8: plv142. // ➪ //

Chromosome numbers

Diploids and tetraploids, x = 5.D


Africa: Algerianative; Azoresnative; Canary Is.native; Cape Provinces (Eastern Cape Provinceintroduced, Western Cape Provinceintroduced); Cape Verdeintroduced; Egyptnative: presence questionable; Ethiopiaintroduced; Free Stateintroduced; KwaZulu-Natalintroduced; Libyanative; Madeiranative; Morocconative (Morocconative); Northern Provinces (Gautengintroduced, North-West Provinceintroduced); Tunisianative Asia-Temperate: Cyprusnative; East Aegean Is.native; Irannative; Lebanon-Syria (Lebanonnative, Syrianative); North Caucasusnative (Dagestannative, Krasnodarnative, Stavropolnative); Palestine (Israelnative, Jordannative); Transcaucasus (Abkhaziyanative, Adzhariyanative, Armenianative, Azerbaijannative, Georgianative); Turkeynative Australasia: New South Wales (Australian Capital Territoryintroduced, New South Walesintroduced); New Zealand Northintroduced; New Zealand Southintroduced; Queensland (Queenslandintroduced); South Australiaintroduced; Tasmaniaintroduced; Victoriaintroduced; Western Australia (Western Australiaintroduced) Europe: Albanianative; Austriaintroduced (Austrianative, Liechtensteinintroduced); Balearesnative; Baltic States (Latviaintroduced, Lithuaniaintroduced); Belgiumintroduced (Belgiumnative); Bulgarianative; Corseintroduced; Czechoslovakiaintroduced (Czech Republicintroduced, Slovakianative: doubtfully native); Denmarkintroduced; France (Francenative); Germanyintroduced; Great Britainintroduced; Greecenative; Hungaryintroduced; Irelandintroduced (Irelandintroduced, Northern Irelandnative: doubtfully native); Italy (Italynative); Kritinative; Krymnative; Netherlandsintroduced; Norwayintroduced; Polandintroduced; Portugalnative; Romaniaintroduced; Sardegnanative; Sicily (Maltanative, Sicilynative); Spain (Andorranative, Gibraltarnative, Spainnative); Switzerlandnative; Turkey-in-Europenative; Ukraine (Ukrainenative); Yugoslavia (Bosnia-Herzegovinanative, Croatianative, Macedonianative: presence questionable, Montenegronative, Serbianative, Slovenianative) Northern America: Albertaintroduced; Arizonaintroduced; British Columbiaintroduced; Californiaintroduced; Connecticutintroduced; District of Columbiaintroduced; Iowaintroduced; Maineintroduced; Marylandintroduced; Massachusettsintroduced; Mexico Central (Mexico Distrito Federalintroduced, México Stateintroduced, Pueblaintroduced); Mexico Northeast (Coahuilaintroduced, Guanajuatointroduced, Querétarointroduced); Mexico Northwest (Baja Californiaintroduced); Mexico Southwest (Michoacánintroduced); Michiganintroduced; Missouriintroduced; Montanaintroduced; New Brunswickintroduced; New Jerseyintroduced; New Yorkintroduced; North Dakotaintroduced; Nova Scotiaintroduced; Ohiointroduced; Ontariointroduced; Oregonintroduced; Pennsylvaniaintroduced; Saskatchewanintroduced; Vermontintroduced; Virginiaintroduced Southern America: Argentina Northeast (Argentina Distrito Federalintroduced, Buenos Airesintroduced, Entre Ríosintroduced, La Pampaintroduced); Argentina Northwest (Mendozaintroduced, San Juanintroduced, San Luisintroduced); Argentina South (Rio Negrointroduced); Chile Central (Biobíointroduced, Coquimbointroduced, La Araucaniaintroduced, Mauleintroduced, O'Higginsintroduced, Valparaísointroduced); Chile North (Atacamaintroduced, Tarapacaintroduced); Chile South (Los Lagosintroduced); Uruguayintroduced


A. Jeanmonod D. & Gamisans J., Flora Corsica. 2007
B. Avinoam Danin, Flora of Israel Online
C. Güner A. (ed.), Türkiye Bitkileri Listesi (Damarlı Bitkiler). 2012
D. Watanabe K., Index to chromosome numbers in Asteraceae.