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Common names

Chinese (China): 紫菊属 zi ju shuA


The genus Notoseris was established by Shih (1987) to accommodate a number of tall forb species endemic to SW China, which share nodding 3–5-flowered capitula, slender cylindrical involucres with purplish red phyllaries, purplish red flowers, purplish red, fusiform, unbeaked, somewhat compressed achenes (with 5 main ribs and 2 secondary ribs in between) and a pappus without an outer row of minute hairs (Wang & al. 2013). In his revised treatment, Shih (1997) accepted 11 (plus two doubtful) species.

Shih & Kilian (in Shih & al. 2011) later merged several of the original species, for the delimitation of which the leaf shape played an important role (Shih 1987, 1997). As was noted by Wang & al. (2013), herbarium specimen preservation of tall forbs (often exceeding 2 m in height) was in the past usually done highly selectively, to the effect that even intraindividual variation of leaf shapes from the base to the top of the main axis was rarely documented to a sufficient extent. Shih & Kilian (in Shih & al. 2011), based on an initial, then still unpublished ITS phylogeny, also added the two Sino-Himalayan scandent species formerly treated as Prenanthes scandens and P. yakoensis to the genus. In this way they recognised 10 species in and extended the circumscription of Notoseris to include capitula with up to 12 flowers and also non-purplish red but pale brown achenes.

The extensive molecular phylogenetic analysis by Wang & al. (2013), based on both nuclear and plastid markers, revealed three remarkable findings for Notoseris: (1) Different from the nuclear phylogeny, where Notoseris and Paraprenanthes form two separate lineages, they are represented in the plastid phylogeny by a single joined clade of different internal topology. Wang & al. (2013) propose for this incongruence the assumption of an event of intergeneric reticulation with chloroplast capture already between ancestors of the current lineages. (2) Notoseris is still not monophyletic in the circumscription by Shih & Kilian (2011), because two species, N. melanantha and N. wilsonii, are nested instead in Paraprenanthes. (3) The taxonomic revision of all types and extensive studies of the species in the field, which support the molecular results, showed that, compared to Shih & Kilian (in Shih & al. 2011), four other species of Shih (1987, 1991) cannot be uphold, leaving Notoseris with a total of six species only.

Notoseris has its centre of diversity in SW China, where all six species occur. Four of them are endemic to China, the other two species also occur in neighbouring countries. All species, so far known, are diploid with 2n = 18 (Wang & al. 1013).


Shih C. 1987: On circumscription of the genera Prenanthes L. and Notoseris Shih, a new genus of Compositae from China. – Acta Phytotax. Sin. 25: 183–203.

Shih C. 1997: Compositae (10), Cichorioideae, Lactuceae. – In: Zhongguo-zhiwuzhi / Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae 80(1). –Beijing: Science Press.

Shih C., Ge X. J.; Kilian N., Kirschner J., Štěpánek J., Sukhorukov A. P., Mavrodiev E. V. & Gottschlich G. 2011: Cichorieae. ? Pp. 195?353 in: Wu Z. Y., Raven P. H. & Hong D. Y. (ed.), Flora of China 20–21. Asteraceae. – Beijing: Science Press & St Louis: Missouri Botanical Garden. // ➪ //

Wang Z.-H., Peng H. & Kilian N. 2013: Molecular phylogeny of the Lactuca alliance (Cichorieae subtribe Lactucinae, Asteraceae) with focus on their Chinese centre of diversity detects potential events of reticulation and chloroplast capture. – PLoS ONE 8(12): e82692. // ➪ //


Herbs, perennial. Stem erect, rarely scandent and ± zigzag, branched apically, glabrous or glandular hairy, leafy. Leaves pinnately lobed, more rarely undivided. Synflorescence with few to numerous capitula and capillaceous branchlets. Capitula pendent at anthesis, with 3–12 florets; peduncle capillaceous. Involucre narrowly cylindric. Phyllaries often tinged purple; outer phyllaries few, gradually longer centripetally, longest ca. 1/2 as long as inner ones; inner phyllaries 3(or 4), 5, or ca. 8, ± equal in length, ± linearlanceolate to linear. Receptacle naked. Florets some shade of purple. Achene usually purplish to brownish red, cylindric to subfusiform, compressed, with 5 main ribs and 2 secondary ribs in between, apex truncate. Pappus white, single, of slender scabrid bristles.

from: Shih C. & Kilian N. in Wu Z. Y. & al. (ed.), Flora of China 20–21: 230. 2011, Beijing & St Louis.

Chromosome numbers

Diploids, x = 9.B


Asia-Temperate: China South-Central (Chongqingnative, Guizhounative, Hubeinative, Sichuannative, Yunnannative); China Southeast (Guangdongnative, Guangxinative, Hunannative, Jiangxinative); Taiwannative; Tibetnative Asia-Tropical: Assam (Meghalayanative, Mizoramnative); East Himalaya (Arunachal Pradeshnative, Sikkimnative); Myanmarnative; Vietnamnative


A. Wu & al., Flora of China 20-21. 2011
B. Watanabe K., Index to chromosome numbers in Asteraceae.