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Pakistan | Family List | Caryophyllaceae

22. Acanthophyllum C.A. Meyer, Verzeichn. Pfl. Cauc. 210. 1831. Boiss., Fl. Or. 1:560. 1867; Golenkin in Acts Hort. Petrop. 13(6): 77-87. 1893; Schischkin in Kom., Fl. URSS. 6:780. 1936; Gilli in Oct. Sot. Zeitschr. 111. 285-290. 1964; .Huber-Month in Davis, Fl. Turk. 2:175. 1967.


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.

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.

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.

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 and bracts densely glandular hairy. Calyx nerves obscure   3 Acanthophyllum sordidum
+ Calyx nerves protruding, distinct   (4)
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

Lower Taxa

Related Synonym(s):


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