Asteraceae tribe Cardueae

Basionyms: Asteraceae Cynareae
Found in FNA Volume 19. Treatment on page 82. Mentioned on page 5, 6, 8, 12, 95, 172, 176, 195.
Annuals or perennials (sometimes coarse and/or robust, often prickly-spiny and thistlelike [subshrubs, shrubs, or trees]; rarely dioecious, e.g., some Cirsium spp.). Leaves basal and/or cauline; alternate; ± petiolate or sessile; (leaf bases often decurrent on stems) margins usually lobed to dissected, sometimes dentate or entire (usually spiny). Heads mostly homogamous (usually discoid, sometimes disciform or radiant, then peripheral florets usually pistillate or neuter, sometimes bisexual or with staminodes), borne singly or in corymbiform, paniculiform, or racemiform arrays (heads with 1 floret each aggregated into second-order heads in Echinops). Calyculi 0 (involucres sometimes closely subtended by leaflike peduncle bracts). Phyllaries usually persistent [readily falling], in (1–)3–5+ series, usually distinct, usually unequal, usually herbaceous (sometimes fleshy), margins (entire or denticulate to pectinate, sometimes spiny) and apices seldom notably scarious (apices often spinose or ± expanded into distinct, often fimbriate-fringed, pectinate, and/or spiny appendages). Receptacles flat to convex, usually epaleate (often pitted and often bristly-setose or densely hairy). Ray florets 0 (corollas of peripheral florets in radiant heads often notably enlarged, usually 5-lobed, sometimes zygomorphic and raylike or ± 2-lipped). Peripheral (pistillate) florets 0 or (in disciform heads) in 1–3+ series; corollas (usually present) usually yellow, sometimes ochroleucous or cyanic. Disc florets bisexual and fertile (rarely functionally staminate); corollas yellow, cyanic, or white, usually actinomorphic, lobes 5, usually narrowly triangular to ± linear, seldom deltate (sometimes unequal, corollas then ± zygomorphic); anther bases ± tailed, apical appendages usually oblong (filaments sometimes papillate to pilose; connate in Silybum); styles (bisexual, fertile florets) distally enlarged or swollen, usually dilated and/or with rings of hairs at or near point of bifurcation, abaxially smooth or papillate to hairy (at least distally, sometimes ± throughout), “branches” often connate, adaxially continuously stigmatic ± to tips, apices rounded to acute, appendages essentially none. Cypselae usually monomorphic within heads (often thick-walled, hard, nutlike, receptacular attachments basal or lateral, bases sometimes each with an elaiosome), usually ellipsoid, obovoid, or ovoid, sometimes rounded-prismatic, terete, 4–5-angled, or ± compressed, rarely beaked, bodies usually smooth, sometimes rugose or 10- or 20-nerved (glabrous or puberulent to villous; often with apical umbo and/or crown in addition to pappus); pappi (rarely 0) readily falling or persistent, usually of fine to coarse, barbellate to plumose bristles, sometimes of scales, sometimes both bristles and scales.


Mostly Old World, especially Mediterranean, some species widely introduced.


Genera 83, species 2500 (17 genera, 116 species in the flora).

The circumscription for Cynareae adopted here is the traditional one and includes the three elements (Cynareae in the narrow sense, Carlineae, and Echinopeae) recognized as tribally distinct by M. Dittrich (1977[1978]). Work by K. Bremer (1987) supported the Dittrich scheme. A traditional circumscription of Cynareae was maintained by J. L. Panero and V. A. Funk (2002).


1 Leaf margins spiny > 2
1 Leaf margins not spiny (tips sometimes ± spinose-apiculate) > 10
2 Florets 1 per head (heads in globose, second-order heads) Echinops
2 Florets 3–250+ per head (heads borne singly or in ± open arrays, not in globose second-order heads) > 3
3 Stems winged > 4
3 Stems not or rarely winged (some Cirsium spp.) > 5
4 Receptacles bearing setiform scales ("flattened bristles"), (not pitted); cypselar attachments slightly lateral; pappus bristles usually distinct, sometimes basally connate Carduus
4 Receptacles not bristly (deeply pitted); cypselar attachments basal; pappus bristles basally connate Onopordum
5 Leaves variegated (stamen filaments connate) Silybum
5 Leaves not variegated (stamen filaments distinct) > 6
6 Corollas yellow to orange, red, or ± purple; cypsela attachments lateral; pappi 0 or of distinct, minutely barbed (not plumose) setiform scales ("flattened bristles") or subulate scales > 7
6 Corollas white or purplish to red; cypsela attachments basal or oblique-basal; pappi of basally connate, plumose setiform scales ("flattened bristles") > 8
7 Heads discoid (all florets fertile); receptacles bearing subulate scales; cypselae 4-angled Carthamus
7 Heads disciform (peripheral florets sterile); receptacles bristly ("flat- tened bristles"), cypselae terete, 20-ribbed Centaurea
8 Receptacles scaly (sometimes bristly); cypsela attachments oblique- basal Carlina
8 Receptacles densely bristly-setose; cypselar attachments basal > 9
9 Involucres 35–100+ mm diam. (largest leaves 60–150 cm; recep- tacles becoming fleshy) Cynara
9 Involucres 10–50 mm diam. (largest leaves 20–50(–110) cm; receptacles usually not notably fleshy) Cirsium
10 Heads discoid (all florets bisexual and fertile) > 11
10 Heads radiant or disciform (peripheral florets usually neuter) > 15
11 Cypselar attachments ± lateral > 12
11 Cypselar attachments basal > 13
12 Phyllary appendages entire or lacerate, not fringed; pappi of ± caducous, dis- tally plumose bristles Acroptilon
12 Phyllary appendages dentate or fringed; pappi 0 or if persistent, then non- plumose bristles or scales Centaurea
13 Phyllary apices spiny, hooked; bristles of pappus distinct, not plumose Arctium
13 Phyllary apices spiny or not, not hooked; setiform scales ("flattened bristles") of pappus basally connate, plumose > 14
14 Receptacles densely long-bristly ("flattened bristles") (becoming fleshy); florets 100–250+ Cynara
14 Receptacles usually subulate-scaly, sometimes bristly or naked (not fleshy); florets 10–20 Saussurea
15 Heads disciform > 16
15 Heads radiant > 17
16 Phyllary appendages dentate or fringed, spiny or not; receptacles bristly ("flat- tened bristles") Centaurea
16 Phyllary appendages 0 (apices acute, entire); receptacles bearing subulate scales Crupina
17 Phyllary appendages 0 > 18
17 Phyllary appendages present > 19
18 Biennials or perennials; spines on phyllary apices caducous; cypsela apices not coronate Mantisalca
18 Annuals; spines on phyllary apices persistent; cypsela apices coronate. Volutaria
19 Cypselae compressed (oblong; attachment scars rimmed, rims whitish, swollen), apices denticulate Amberboa
19 Cypselae ± terete (barrel-shaped; attachment scars not rimmed), apices entire > 20
20 Annuals; leaf margins mostly entire or denticulate to serrulate; cypsela attachment oblique-basal; involucres 20–40 mm diam.; phyllary bodies linear, margins entire, appendages fimbriate; corollas of peripheral florets 30–70 mm Plectocephalus
20 Annuals, biennials, or perennials; leaf margins entire or toothed to pinnately lobed; involucres 10–25(–40) mm diam.; cypsela attachment lateral; phyllary bodies oblong to ovate or obovate, margins fimbriate, appendages fimbriate; corollas of peripheral florets 15–30(–45) mm Centaurea
AuthorTheodore M. Barkley† +, Luc Brouillet + and John L. Strother +
BasionymAsteraceae Cynareae +
IllustratorJohn Myers +
Referencedittrich1977a +, garcia-jacas2001a +, howell1959a +, moore1974b +, susanna1995a + and wagenitz1996a +
Taxon nameAsteraceae tribe Cardueae +
Taxon parentAsteraceae +
Taxon ranktribe +
VolumeVolume 19 +