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Common names

Arabic (Lebanon): طَلْسَمِيَّةA,1; Arabic (Syria): طَلْسَمِيَّةB,1; Hebrew (Israel): אֹזֶן-גְּדִיC,1, אוזן-גדיC,1; Italian (Italy): CupidoneD,1
1. recommended


Catananche, a NW African centred Mediterranean genus of five species, is easily recognisable by a pappus of 5-7 ovate, long-aristate scales, a receptacle with with long filiform paleae and an involucre of largely scarious scales. In particular for the scaly pappus and the paleate receptacle, it has been associated with two other Mediterranean genera, Hymenonema and Rothmaleria, first by Schultz-Bipontinus (1841) and followed by subsequent authors including the more recent systematic treatments of the tribe by Stebbins (1953), Jeffrey (1966), Bremer (1994) and Lack (2006).

Stebbins (1953) placed Catananche, Hymenonema and Rothmaleria together with Cichorium, Arnoseris, Tolpis and other genera,in a very widely defined subtribe Cichoriinae. Jeffrey (1966) placed the three genera as Catananche subgroup in his Tolpis group. Blackmore (1981) associated Catananche, Hymenonema and Rothmaleria with Scolymus for palynological reasons. Most recently, the molecular phylogenetic analyses of the Cichorieae by Gemeinholzer & al. (in Kilian & al. 2009) in fact supported the relationship of Catananche and Hymenonema with Scolymus, but also revealed that Rothmaleria is not at all related with the former two genera and instead related with Cichorium and Tolpis (see Stebbins 1953, Jeffrey 1966) being a member of subtribe Cichoriinae. Consequently, Catananche is placed by Kilian & al. (2009) together with Hymenonema, and also with Gundelia, in subtribe Scolyminae.


Blackmore S. 1981: Palynology and intergeneric relationships in subtribe Hyoseridinae (Compositae: Lactuceae). – Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 82: 1-13.

Bremer K. 1994: Asteraceae: cladistics & Classification. – Portland: Timber.

Jeffrey C. 1966: Notes in Compositae I. The Cichorieae in East Tropical Africa. – Kew Bull. 18: 427-486.

Kilian N., Gemeinholzer B. & Lack H. W. 2009: Tribe Cichorieae. – In: Funk V. A., Susanna A., Stuessy T. & Bayer R. (ed.), Systematics, evolution, and biogeography of the Compositae. – Vienna: IAPT.

Lack H. W. 2006 ["2007"]: Cichorieae. Pp. 180-199 in: Kadereit J.W. & Jeffrey C. (ed.), The families and genera of vascular plants 8. – Berlin: Springer.

Schultz-Bipontinus C. H. 1841: Sceleton systematis articulati Cichoriacearum. – Jahrb. Pract. Pharm. Verwandte Fächer 4: 153-156.

Stebbins G. L. 1953: A new classification of the tribe Cichorieae, family Compositae. – Madroño 12: 65-81.


Perennial herbs with latex, without rhizomes or stolons. Stems erect, solitary or few. Leaves alternate, linear, entire or with few, narrow teeth. Capitula 1-5(-numerous) on very long peduncles. Involucral bracts in several rows, ovate-cuspidate, scarious, with a darker midrib. Flowers bisexual. Corolla ligulate, mauve-blue, with 5 lobes at apex. Anthers tailed, apical appendage elongate; filaments smooth. Style with slender branches, evenly hairy on both shaft and branches. Receptacle flat, with long filiform scales. Achenes conical, obscurely 5-angled; pappus of one row of 5-7, ovate, long-aristate scales.

from: Sell, P. & Murell, G. 2006: Flora of Great Britain and Ireland 4. – Cambridge.

Chromosome numbers

Diploids and rarely tetraploids, x = 9.E


Africa: Algeria (Algerianative); Libya (Libyanative); Morocconative; Tunisia (Tunisianative) Asia-Temperate: Cyprus (Cyprusnative); East Aegean Is. (East Aegean Is.native); Lebanon-Syria (Lebanonnative, Syrianative); Palestine (Israelnative, Jordannative); Turkey (Turkeynative) Europe: Baleares (Balearesnative: presence questionable); Czechoslovakia (Czech Republicintroduced); Francenative; Greece (Greecenative); Italynative; Kriti (Kritinative); Portugal (Portugalnative); Sardegna (Sardegnanative); Sicily (Maltanative, Sicilynative); Spain (Andorranative, Spainnative); Turkey-in-Europe (Turkey-in-Europenative); Yugoslavia (Macedonianative: presence questionable)


Catananche caerulea is cultivated as an ornamental plant.


A. Nehmé, M., Dictionnaire Etymologique de la Flore du Liban. 2000
B. Nehmé, M., Etymological Dictionary of Syrian Flora. 2008
C. Avinoam Danin, Flora of Israel Online -
D. Pignatti, S., Flora d'Italia 3. 1982
E. Watanabe K., Index to chromosome numbers in Asteraceae.