Centaurea appendicigera, photographed by Degoeje.

Belongs within: Cardueae.

Centaurea, cockspurs and knapweeds, is a genus of thistle-like plants that is most diverse in the Mediterranean region. A number of species have become more widespread as synanthropic weeds such as the yellow cockspur C. solstitialis and star thistle C. calcitrapa.

Characters (from Black & Robertson 1965): Involucre of numerous unequal bracts ending in a pungent spine or scarious fringed or jagged appendage; receptacle beset with dense soft hairy bristles; flowers all tubular, outer ones usually sterile and much exceeding incolucre, sometimes radiating but never ligulate; achene oblong, compressed, hilum at base of inner margin (sometimes basal); pappus of short free scales in several unequal rows or none.

    |--C. sect. Centaurea WED98
    |    |--C. iconiensis Hub.-Mor. 1981 WED98
    |    `--C. mykalea Hub.-Mor. 1979 WED98
    |--C. sect. Acrolophus WED98
    |    |--C. cariensiformis Hub.-Mor. 1982 WED98
    |    `--C. yozgatensis Wagenitz 1997 WED98
    `--C. sect. Psephelloideae WED98
         |--C. appendicigera WED98
         |--C. hadimensis Wagenitz, Ertugrul & Dural 1998 WED98
         |--C. holtzii WED98
         |--C. pyrrhoblephara WED98
         `--C. taochia WED98

Centaurea incertae sedis:
  C. aspera H93
  C. calcitrapa BR65
  C. cineraria H93
  C. cyanus C55
  C. diffusa H93
  C. diluta H93
  C. ebenoides Heldreich ex Moore 1878 PL04
  C. eriophora H93
  C. iberica H93
  C. jacea BR65
  C. laureotica Heldreich ex Halácsy 1898 PL04
  C. maculosa CLB99
    |--C. m. ssp. maculosa CLB99
    `--C. m. ssp. rhenana CLB99
  C. melitensis BR65
  C. montana C55
  C. moschata H93
  C. muricata H93
  C. nigra BR65
  C. nigrescens BR65
  C. pinnatifida H09
  C. × pouzinii [C. calcitrapa × C. aspera] H93
  C. × pratensis [C. jacea × C. nigra] BR65
  C. raphanina Sibthorp & Smith 1813 PL04
    |--C. r. ssp. raphanina PL04
    `--C. r. ssp. mixta (de Candolle) Runemark 1867 PL04
  C. salmantica H93
  C. seridis B28
  C. solstitialis BR65
  C. squarrosa [=C. virgata var. squarrosa] H93
  C. sulphurea H93
  C. triumfetti [incl. C. variegata] H91

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B28] Betrem, J. G. 1928. Monographie der Indo-Australischen Scoliiden mit zoogeographischen Betrachtungen. H. Veenman & Zonen: Wageningen.

[BR65] Black, J. M., & E. L. Robertson. 1965. Flora of South Australia. Part IV. Oleaceae–Compositae. W. L. Hawes, Government Printer: Adelaide.

[CLB99] Callaway, R. M., T. H. DeLuca & W. M. Belliveau. 1999. Biological control herbivores may increase competitive ability of the noxious weed Centaurea maculosa. Ecology 80: 1196–1201.

[C55] Candolle, A. de. 1855. Géographie Botanique Raisonée: Ou exposition des faits principaux et des lois concernant la distribution géographique des plantes de l’époque actuelle vol. 2. Librairie de Victor Masson: Paris.

[H09] Heltmann, H. 2009. Der Königstein (Piatra Craiului), die Perle der Burzenländer Gebirge. Mauritiana 20 (3): 515–527.

[H93] Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press: Berkeley (California).

[H91] Hubálek, Z. 1991. Biogeographic indication of natural foci of tick-borne infections. In: Dusbábek, F., & V. Bukva (eds) Modern Acarology: Proceedings of the VIII International Congress of Acarology, held in České Budĕjovice, Czechoslovakia, 6–11 August 1990 vol. 1 pp. 255–260. SPB Academic Publishing: The Hague.

[PL04] Pohl, G., & I. Lenski. 2004. Zur Verbreitung und Vergesellschaftung von Pennisetum orientale Rich. in Nordeuböa (Griechenland) (Poaceae, Paniceae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 83 (2): 209–223.

[WED98] Wagenitz, G., K. Ertugrul & H. Dural. 1998. A new species of Centaurea sect. Psephelloideae (Compositae) from SW Turkey. Willdenowia 28: 157–162.

Last updated: 2 June 2019.

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