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Annual, biennial or perennial herbs with alternate, entire leaves', basal leaves usually already withered at flowering time. Flowers extra-axillary, pentamerous, on longer or shorter, but nearly always distinct pedicels. Stamens always inserted below the scales, included in the corolla, with very short filaments and short, ellipsoidal, rounded anthers.


warmer and temperate regions of all continents present
50 to 60 species in the warmer and temperate regions of all continents.


Cynoglossum amabile Stapf from southern China is used as an ornamental plant in many areas, e.g. most parts of Europe, Indonesia, etc.


The basic chromosome number is x = 12 with most species being diploid, only a few tetraploid. Delimitation of the genus has become controversial in recent years. While the European and N African Pardoglossum Barbier & Mathez and the Australian Austrocyno-glossum R. Mill are very natural groups clearly different from true Cynoglossum, Paracynoglossum Popov is hard to separate even on the subgeneric level. The main distinguishing character, presence of an awn united with the receptacle and separating from it at maturity of the nutlets in Cynoglossum s.str., is not always recognizable. The only other difference, smaller nutlets and often also corollas in Paracynoglossum, is working only on a statistical basis, and there are intermediates such as C. microglochin Benth. The present author prefers to retain Paracynoglossum for the time being on a subgeneric level, though a final decision is still impossible. Especially African species like C. coeruleum Hochst. or C. johnstonii Bak. assigned to sect. Eleutherostylum by Brand are very closely related to typical members of Paracynoglossum and have been transferred to it by Mill.

In the Malesian region, the genus is represented by the two subgenera Paracynoglossum and Eleutherostylum.


Backer & Bakh. f. 1965 – In: FL Java: 463
Riedl 1962 – In: Osterr. Bot. Z.: 385
L. 1754: Gen. PL, ed. 5: 168
R.R. Mill 1984 – In: Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinb.: 473
Riedl 1967 – In: Fl. Iran.: 142
Popov 1953 – In: Fl. URSS: 657
Brand 1921 – In: Engl., Pflanzenr., fam. IV. 252: 114