Description from Flora of China
Deckera Schultz Bipontinus; Hagioseris Boissier; Medicusia Moench; Spitzelia Schultz Bipontinus.
Herbs, annual or perennial, rosulate or not, with rigid 2[-4]-hooked or more rarely simple hairs. Stem solitary, usually branched, rarely stems few, low, and weak. Synflorescence corymbiform but sometimes weakly so. Capitula with usually 20-50 florets. Involucre campanulate to urceolate. Phyllaries ± glabrous or hispid; outer phyllaries in several series, gradually longer centripetally, ± imbricate, mostly 1/2-2/3 as long as inner ones; inner phyllaries ± linear-lanceolate to linear, ± equal in length. Receptacle naked. Florets yellow. Achene ± homomorphic; body fusiform to narrowly ellipsoid, often somewhat curved, with 5 faintly secondarily ribbed main ribs, transversely wrinkled, apically truncate or contracted into a short beak sculptured as body (= cuspis). Pappus white or dirty white, of stiffly fimbriately plumose bristles, often outermost bristles shorter and ± scabrid [in marginal achene sometimes reduced to a minute crownlike structure].
Picris has a primary center of diversity including SW Asia and the Mediterranean region and a secondary center in Australia (S. Holzapfel, Willdenowia 24: 97-218. 1994). In C, E, and S Asia the genus is in urgent need of a modern revision, especially with respect to the complex of P. hieracioides, which poses particular problems because of it being anthropogenically spread. For the time being, P. hieracioides is treated here, in contrast to S. Kitamura (Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 8: 123-127. 1939; Mem. Coll. Sci. Kyoto Imp. Univ., Ser. B, Biol. 22: 90-98. 1955) and, e.g., Fl. Taiwan (ed. 2, 4: 1032. 1998), in a narrow sense, with P. japonica as well as the two taxa endemic to Taiwan kept as separate species. This solution has been chosen for the sake of consistency, because including the Taiwan endemics as subspecies in P. hieracioides while keeping P. japonica separate, as in FRPS (80(1): 54-55. 1997), would imply an unintended taxonomic decision on the relationships of the Taiwan endemics. Moreover, the actual presence of P. hieracioides s.s. in E and S Asia and the delimitation between P. japonica and P. hieracioides need thorough reassessment, and the currently available distributional data are to be taken with caution.
About 50 species: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe; seven species (four endemic) in China.
(Authors: Shi Zhu (石铸 Shih Chu); Norbert Kilian)