Description from Flora of China
Lasiospora Cassini; Takhtajaniantha E. A. Nazarova.
Herbs, perennial [or annual], rarely subshrubs, often with woody caudex and rosulate. Leaves usually linear to linear-elliptic or lanceolate, more rarely also ovate, with parallel veins, not divided, base with semiamplexicaul usually persistent sheath, margin entire, flat, or sometimes undulate. Involucre cylindric to campanulate, usually very conspicuously prolonged toward fruiting. Phyllaries in few to several series, imbricate, often (especially inner phyllaries) with scarious margin; longest outer phyllaries usually to more than 1/2 as long as and often ± approaching inner phyllaries in length; inner phyllaries lanceolate to linear-lanceolate. Receptacle naked. Florets yellow (and often pinkish on drying) or rarely orange or pale purple, 1.1-2 × as long as involucre. Achene ± cylindric to columnar, with numerous smooth or tuberculate longitudinal ribs, glabrous, puberulent, or villous along entire length or apically only, apex truncate or more rarely attenuate. Pappus of strong bristles, persistent or caducous, a few often distinctly longer than remainder; bristles softly fimbriately plumose for most of length and apically scabrid.
Even after exclusion of Podospermum and Epilasia, Scorzonera is still polyphyletic (Mavrodiev et al., Taxon 53: 699-712. 2004). Because a more detailed phylogenetic study and revision of Scorzonera s.l. is not yet available, and the circumscription of its diverse elements therefore not clear, the genus is treated here in this wider sense still including Takhtajaniantha and Lasiospora.
About 180 species: N Africa, Asia, Europe; 24 species (four endemic) in China.
(Authors: Shi Zhu (石铸 Shih Chu); Norbert Kilian)