Description from Flora of China
Asaphes Sprengel (1827), not Candolle (1825); Cryptothladia (Bunge) M. J. Cannon; Morina sect. Cryptothladia Bunge.
Roots usually thickened, branched. Caudex short, woody, usually covered with remnants of leaf bases. Leaves in whorls of 3 or 4(-6), rarely 2, opposite, linear to oblong-lanceolate, entire to pinnatipartite, spinose. Inflorescence of several verticillasters, each subtended by a whorl of leaflike bracts. Flowers sessile or shortly pedicellate, enveloped in an involucel; involucels campanulate, with 8-16 spiny teeth, 2 significantly longer than others. Calyx tube oblique, campanulate; limb 2-lipped, lips 2- or 3-lobed or emarginate. Corolla tube elongate; limb spreading, 2-lipped; upper lip 2-lobed, lower one 3-lobed. Fertile stamens 2, inserted at corolla throat; staminodes 2, at base of corolla tube, cordate. Nectary 1, anterior, at base of corolla tube, 3-lobed. Ovary inferior, 1-loculed, enveloped in an involucel; style usually longer than stamens; stigma disklike; ovule single, pendulous. Achenes rugose, columnar, slightly or markedly obliquely truncate.
Cannon and Cannon (Bull. Brit. Mus. (Nat. Hist.), Bot. 12(1): 1-35. 1984) treated Cryptothladia at the rank of genus, separating it from Morina. Hong (Novon 20: 418-419. 2010) has explained why this taxon would be better merged into the genus Morina.
Cannon and Cannon (loc. cit.: 18) stated that Morina parviflora Karelin & Kirilov (Cryptothladia parviflora (Karelin & Kirilov) M. J. Cannon) occurred on the border of Kazakhstan with China (Dzungarian Alatau). However, we have not seen any specimens that could be identified as this species.
About ten species: from the Balkans to C Asia and E Himalaya; eight species (four endemic) in China.