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Published In: Verzeichness der Pflanzen des Caspischen Meeres 210. 1831. (Verz. Pfl. Casp. Meer.) Name publication detail

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
General/Distribution: A genus of about 50 S.W. & C. Asiatic species. The distribution of the genus is mainly from Soviet Central Asia to Afghanistan, ending its limit in Western Pakistan. Represented in Pakistan by 5 species.
Comment/Acknowledgements: Many species contain saponin in their rhizomes and are sometimes used as a substitute for soap.

Species dubia

Acanthophyllum cf. caespitosum Boiss., Diagn. ser. 1(1)42. 1842.

Stewart, (l.c. op. cit.) records a collection by Crookshank (no. 170, at K from Ziarat identified A. cf. caespitosum. A. caespitosum is described from S.W.-Iran and occurs in Kurdistan area, mt. Alvand, mt. Ayroman (Parsa, Fl. de. Iran, 1:1049. 1951). Since the species resembles A. squarrosum in vegetative and partly in floral characters, it is possible that the record is a misidentification.


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Small shrubby tufted perennials with acerose spiny leaves. Flowers white or pink, sessile in solitary or globose heads. Bracts spiny. Calyx cylindrical, 5-toothed, 5-15 nerved. Petals 5, limb entire or retuse. Coronal scales absent. Stamens 20. Carpophore absent. Styles 2. Ovary 4-valved. Capsule ovoid, 1-seeded, membranous below, chartaceous above, dehiscing irregularly at the base. Seeds reniform.

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1 Calyx more than 10 mm Flowers terminal, always solitary 5 Acanthophyllum grandiflorum
+ Calyx less than 10 mm. Flowers in globose heads or corymbs, very rarely solitary (2)
2 (1) Leaves in whorls at the nodes. Petal-limb dentate at apex 4 Acanthophyllum honigbergeri
+ Leaves not in whorls. Petals limb entire or retuse at apex (3)
3 (2) Calyx nerves protruding, distinct (4)
+ Calyx and bracts densely glandular hairy. Calyx nerves obscure 3 Acanthophyllum sordidum
4 (3) Flowers in globose heads. Leaves 7-10 mm, usually not recurved. Petals oblong 1 Acanthophyllum laxiflorum
+ Flowers in terminal corymbs. Leaves 15-35 mm, usually recurved. Petals elliptic-cuneate 2 Acanthophyllum squarrosum
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