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Genus Eryngium Family Apiaceae

Description: Annual or perennial herbs or rarely shrubs, glabrous.

Leaves entire, palmately or pinnately lobed to 3-pinnatisect, often spinose and pungent.

Inflorescence usually branched, flowers sessile in ± globose to cylindrical heads; involucre of 3 or more leafy spiny bracts; bracteoles small, entire, cuspidate. Flowers bisexual, white, greenish, blue or mauve. Sepals stiff, erect. Petals narrow, with a long inflexed apex, shorter than the sepals. Stylopodium absent.

Fruit ovoid, scarcely laterally compressed; carpophore absent; mericarps covered with small flat or bladdery scales, obscurely 5-ribbed.


Photo © ANBG

Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 250 species, in tropical and warm-temperate areas. Australia: c. 7 species (4 species native, 3 species naturalized), all States except N.T.

Text by J. M. Powell & B. M. Wiecek
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Eryngium ovinum,    Eryngium supinum

 Key to the species 
1Plants more than 1 m high with broad linear leaves, more than 50 cm long, with slender marginal spines; inflorescence complex, many-branchedEryngium pandanifolium
Plants less than 1 m high with leaves less than 30 cm long, spinose-lobed or pinnatisect with pungent segments; inflorescence more simply branched2
2Leaves more or less circular or obovate, more than 50 mm wide; flower heads subglobose; bracts broad-ovateEryngium maritimum
Leaves oblong or oblanceolate, less than 30 mm wide; flower heads shortly ovoid or cylindrical; bracts narrow-ovate or linear
                       Back to 1
3
3Flower heads less than 6 mm diam., few-flowered; floral leaves less than 20 mm long, broadEryngium expansum
Flower heads more than 6 mm diam., many-flowered; floral leaves more than 20 mm long, narrow
                       Back to 2
4
4Branches prostrate; flower heads basal or at branch nodesEryngium vesiculosum
Branches erect; flower heads often terminal between opposite axillary branches
                       Back to 3
5
5Flower heads ovoid to globose; bracts spread throughout head, often metallic blue or purplish tingedEryngium rostratum
Flower heads cylindrical; bracts concentrated at base and apex of head, green
                       Back to 4
Eryngium paludosum

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