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The generic name Gundelia honours Andreas von Gundelsheimer (1668–1715), a German physician and botanist who travelled with Pitton de Tournefort and Claude Aubriet to the E Mediterrananean and Armenia in 1700–1702.A

Common names

Arabic (Lebanon): غُنْدِلْيَةB,1; Arabic (Syria): غُنْدِلْيَةC,1; Armenian (Armenia): ԿանգարD,1; Azerbaijani (Azerbaijan & Nakhichevan): ГунделиjaE,1; Hebrew (Israel): עכוביתF,1; Russian (Armenia): ГунделияD,1; Turkish (Turkey): KengerG
1. recommended


Gundelia is one of the two genera recently included in the Cichorieae according to molecular phylogenetic evidence (see Cichorieae: Systematics: circumscription of the Cichorieae) that do not have the 5-dentate ligulate flowers which are otherwise so characterstic for the tribe. Gundelia has spiny leaves as present in the tribe otherwise only in Scolymus and also its pollen is similar to Scolymus (Blackmore 1981; Robinson 1994). Moreover, both genera share the presence of both (functional) oil ducts and latex canals in the roots; functional oil ducts are very rare in the tribe and are else known only from Scorzonera and Warionia, the latter being the other genus in the tribe without ligulate 5-dentate flowers (see Cichorieae: Systematics).

The synflorescence of Gundelia is much derived and unique in the tribe, consisting of one-flowered capitula (with much reduced involucres) aggregated to secondary capitula (syncalathia), of which again a few dozens are aggregated to a second order syncalathium (Classen-Bockhoff & al. 1989). While Scolymus and Hymenonema share a chromosome number of 2n = 20, Gundelia has 2n = 18, considered as plesiomorphic in the tribe and in the Scolyminae also shared by Catananche.

Although the plants of Gundelia are conspicuous and used as vegetable, they were undercollected by botanists because of their dimensions and spiny habit and, moreover, hardly studied in more detail. Until 2009, the genus was usually treated as monospecific, with two further species considered as doubtfully distinct only. Closer studies since then have revealed that actually a considerable diversity has evolved within genus in its SW Asian distribution area and more than a dozen species were newly described. An ITS phylogeny by Hacıoglu & Fırat (2018) indicates that morphological differences such as flower number of the syncalathia correspond to the phylogenetic structure.H,I,J,K


Large laticiferous spiny perennial herbs. Leaves pinnatifid and strongly spiny. Heads large, compound, consisting of numerous densely aggregated headlets, each subtended by a spiny bract. Involucral and receptacular bracts of individual headlets fused into an indurate turbinate cupule with several l-flowered compartments and 5-7 spinules at margin. Headlets 5-7-flowered; the central floret fertile (hermaphrodite), marginal florets sterile; florets tubular with an infundibular corolla-limb exserted from the cupule. Cupule becoming woody at maturity, enclosing the single achene of the headlet and dispersed as a 1-seeded unit. Achene large, obpyramidal. Pappus a small denticulate crown. A monotypic, taxonomically isolated genus. Differing from other Carduoideae in being laticiferous.

from: Feinbrun-Dothan (in Zohary & Feinbrun-Dothan 1978)L

Chromosome numbers

Diploids, x = 9.M


Africa: Algeria (Algeriaintroduced) Asia-Temperate: Cyprus (Cyprusnative); Iran (Irannative); Iraqnative; Lebanon-Syria (Lebanonnative, Syrianative); Palestine (Jordannative); Sinai (Sinainative); Transcaucasus (Armenianative, Azerbaijannative, Nakhichevannative); Turkey (Turkeynative)


A. Burkhardt L., Verzeichnis eponymischer Pflanzennamen. Index of eponymic plant names. Index de noms eponymes des genres botaniques, ed. 2. 2018
B. Nehmé, M., Dictionnaire Etymologique de la Flore du Liban. 2000
C. Nehmé, M., Etymological Dictionary of Syrian Flora. 2008
D. Tahtadžjan, A. L., Flora Armenii 9. 1995
E. Karjagin, I. I., Flora azerbajdžana 8. 1961
F. Avinoam Danin, Flora of Israel Online -
G. Güner A. (ed.), Türkiye Bitkileri Listesi (Damarlı Bitkiler). 2012
H. Blackmore S., Palynology and intergeneric relationships in subtribe Hyoseridinae (Compositae: Lactuceae) in Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 82: 1-13. 1981
I. Classen-Bockhoff R. & al., Die Infloreszenzstruktur von Gundelia tournefortii L. (Asteraceae) in Flora 182: 463-479. 1989
J. Hacıoglu B. T. & Fırat M., ITS phylogeny and molecular dating of some Gundelia (Asteraceae) of Anatolia in Anadolu 27: 74-77. 2008
K. Robinson H., Notes on the tribes Eremothamneae, Gundelieae and Moquinieae, with comparisons of their pollen in Taxon 43: 33-44. 1994
L. Zohary, M. & Feinbrun-Dothan, N., Flora Palaestina 3. 1978
M. Watanabe K., Index to chromosome numbers in Asteraceae.