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Genus Pycnosorus Family Asteraceae

Description: Annual and perennial herbs or subshrubs, with a woody taproot.

Leaves mainly cauline and reducing in size up stem; alternate, margins entire; basal leaves withering early.

Infloresence an ovoid, cylindrical or globose compound head of 40–200 sessile partial heads on a general globose or elongate receptacle; common involucre of mainly herbaceous bracts usually similar to uppermost leaves, or absent; partial heads each with 3–8 bisexual florets and subtended by a main bract of the partial involucre, central region (stereome) with or without scarious margins or tip; partial heads comprising a few scarious involucral bracts surrounding the florets and the florets arranged along a much-reduced spike, each floret subtended by a scarious bract (scale), no specialized common receptacle present, all scarious bracts and scales tinged yellow or golden; Corollas tubular, 5-merous, lobes yellow. Anthers finely tailed at base and with triangular appendages at the apex. Style branches flattened, linear-oblong, truncate, papillose with fimbriate apices.

Achenes obovoid, silky, the hairs biseriate, obtuse; pappus a single ring of plumose bristles, fused for various lengths at the base, yellow at least at tip with stiff spreading plumose branches.


Distribution and occurrence: World: 6 species, endemic Australia. Australia: Qld, N.S.W., Vic., S.A.

Text by A. N. L. Doust & J. Everett
Taxon concept:

 Key to the species 
1Main bract of the partial involucre with scarious margins at least as broad as stereome and extending well beyond stereome tip, stereome usually narrow2
Main bract of the partial involucre without scarious margins or occasionally with narrow scarious margins less than half as broad as stereome, with or without a scarious tip, stereome usually broad3
2Compound head often branched at the base or from within the head; main bract of the partial involucre broad-ovate with a narrow-linear glandular stereome, and broad spreading scarious margins; leaves with few or no fine woolly hairsPycnosorus pleiocephalus
Compound head never branched; main bract of the partial involucre linear-ovate with a narrow-clavate stereome, margins not broadly spreading; leaves densely covered in fine woolly hairs
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Pycnosorus thompsonianus
3Main bract of the partial involucre comprising a tough brown glandular stereome, rarely with narrow membranous margins at base, without woolly hairs; leaves 1-ribbed, discolorous, upper surface dark grey-green, always darker than the stems, lower surface similar or greyPycnosorus chrysanthes
Main bract of the partial involucre with a narrow membranous tip about half as broad as the stereome, and with narrow membranous margins towards the base; leaves usually 3–8-ribbed (rarely only 1-ribbed), concolorous with long fine appressed hairs
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Pycnosorus globosus

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