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The subtribe Scorzonerinae forms a well-supported clade in all phylogenetic analyses of the Cichorieae based on morphological (Bremer 1994) and molecular data (Mavrodiev & al. 2004; Gemeinholzer & al. in Kilian & al. 2009). The molecular analyses with high statistical support of the monophyly confirm its recognition as subtribe Scorzonerinae in its traditional morphological characterisation and circumscription (Stebbins 1953, but lacking Koelpinia; Blackmore 1981; Bremer 1994; Lack 2006).

The Scorzonerinae are characterised by predominantly linear-lanceolate and parallel-veined leaves, an indumentum being soft or absent, uni- to multiseriate involucral bracts, a softly fimbriate plumose pappus, and distinct types of echinolophate pollen (with equatorial ridges replaced by a lacuna, the aperture being divided into two lacunae, and with a characteristic exine stratification). If the pappus is absent as in Koelpinia, the characteristic pollen type of this alliance still allows unequivocal placement (Blackmore 1981).

The genus Avellara, with its single species A. fistulosa, a rare endemic of the Iberian Peninsula formerly placed in Scorzonera, has to be excluded from the Scorzonerinae for morphological, palynological and cytological evidence as was shown by Blanca & Díaz (1985). It apparently represents an isolated, early diverging lineage of the large Chondrillinae-Crepidinae-Hyoserdinae-Hypochaeridinae-Lactucinae clade (Kilian & al. 2009, Tremetsberger & al. 2013) of the Cichorieae with the closest affinities probably to the Hypochaeridinae. For the time being, this genus is therefore treated as a member of that subtribe.

Generic delimitation within the subtribe has been controversial, mainly regarding the circumscription of Scorzonera and the recognition of the segregates Epilasia, Podospermum, Pterachaenia, Takhtajaniantha and Tourneuxia. A recent molecular phylogeny of the subtribe by Mavrodiev & al. (2004) confirmed the polyphyly of Scorzonera and provided support for recognition of the aforementioned segregates as well as for the separation of Geropogon from Tragopogon. Further molecular analyses of the subtribe (Gemeinholzer & al., in prep.) including more sequences from the core of Scorzonera revealed paraphyletic groupings even within Scorzonera s.str. of Mavrodiev & al. (2004). However, due to the yet incomplete taxon sampling a revised taxonomic treatment of Scorzonera is not yet available, as this is still subject to ongoing studies (Gemeinholzer & al., in prep.).


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

Blanca G. & Díaz de la Guardia C. 1985: Avellara, género nuevo de la tribu Lactuceae (Compositae) en la península Ibérica. – Candollea 40: 447–458.

Bremer K. 1994: Asteraceae. Cladistics and classification. – Portland: Timber.

Kilian N., Gemeinholzer B. & Lack H. W. 2009: Tribe Cichorieae. – Pp. 343–383 In: Funk V. A., Susanna A., Stuessy T. & Bayer R. (ed.), Systematics, evolution, and biogeography of the Compositae. – Vienna: IAPT.

Lack H. W. 2006: Tribe Cichorieae Lam. & DC. – Pp. 180–199 in: Kadereit J. W. & Jeffrey C. (ed.), The families and genera of vascular plants 8. – Berlin: Springer.

Mavrodiev E. V., Edwards C. E., Albach D. C., Gitzendanner M. A., Soltis P. S. & Soltis D. E. 2004: Phylogenetic relationships in subtribe Scorzonerinae (Asteraceae: Cichorioideae: Cichorieae) based on ITS sequence data. – Taxon 53: 699–712.

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


Africa: Algeria (Algerianative); Canary Is. (Canary Is.native: doubtfully native); Cape Provinces (Eastern Cape Provinceintroduced, Northern Cape Provinceintroduced, Western Cape Provinceintroduced); Egypt (Egyptnative); Ethiopia (Ethiopiaintroduced); Free State (Free Stateintroduced); KwaZulu-Natal (KwaZulu-Natalnative); Lesotho (Lesothointroduced); Libya (Libyanative); Madeira (Madeiranative); Morocconative (Morocconative); Northern Provinces (Gautengintroduced, Mpumalangaintroduced, North-West Provinceintroduced, Northern Provinceintroduced); Tunisia (Tunisianative); Zaire (Zairecultivated) Asia-Temperate: Afghanistannative (Afghanistannative); Altay (Altaynative); Amur (Amurnative); Buryatiya (Buryatiyanative); China North-Central (Beijingintroduced, Gansunative, Hebeinative, Shaanxinative, Shandongnative, Shanxinative); China South-Central (Guizhounative, Hubeinative, Sichuanintroduced, Yunnanintroduced); China Southeast (Anhuinative, Henannative, Jiangsunative); Chita (Chitanative); Cyprus (Cyprusnative); East Aegean Is. 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