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Description & Remarks
Andryala dentata is an annual herbaceous plant, single-stemmed rarely multi-stemmed. Stems 18–40 cm, usually branched in the upper half, stellate-tomentose to frequently puberulous in the upper half, sometimes with glandular hairs.
Leaves pubescent-tomentose on both surfaces with stellate hairs, very rarely with glandular hairs; lower leaves attenuate into a short petiole or are semi clasping, oblanceolate to lanceolate, tip blunt or pointed, and margin subentire to toothed; stem leaves semi clasping, ovate-oblong to ovate-lanceolate, base rounded to subcordate, edge pointed or almost pointed and margin toothed; upper leaves clasping, ovate-oblong to ovate-lanceolate, base rounded or subcordate, edge frequently somewhat pointed and margin sub pinnately lobed at the base.
Flowering heads 4-6 together, corymbiform.
Captula 6–14 mm in diameter; peduncles 6–19(-38) mm stellate-hairy, sometimes with few glandular hairs 0.3-1 mm; involucre 7–10 x 7–11 mm, more or less hemispherical at anthesis, with involucral bracts in 2–3 rows; external ones 6–7 x 1–1.2 mm, linear-lanceolate, apex purplish and usually acuminate, involute enfolding a floret, the outer face slightly stellate tomentose with yellow or dark glandular hairs 0.5–1.6 mm, primarily on the midrib; internal involucral bracts 5–8 x 1–1.6 mm, with scarious margins, receptacle more or less flat, puberulous to pubescent with short setose hairs 0.4–2 mm (shorter or slightly longer than the cypselae).
Florets all ligulate, pale-yellow, the external with a tube of 2.6–4 mm and ligule of 2.6–3.6 x 0.5–0.9 mm sometimes with a reddish stripe on the outer face.
Cypselae 1– 1.2 x 0.3–0.4 mm, obconical dark brown with white ribs, apex with a short dentate crown somewhat exceeding the conspicuous prolongation of the ribs.
Pappus comprises groups of 4-5 whitish bristles c. 4 mm, pilose at the base.
According to available herbarium data, Andryala dentata is a central and northeastern Mediterranean species, present in southern Italy (including the islands of Sicily and Pantelleria), southern and eastern Greece, western Turkey and Lebanon, and as of 2018 also in Israel.
Andryala is a little-known Mediterranean-Macaronesian genus belonging to the Asteraceae family. The etymology of the term Andryala is uncertain; however, according to the French botanist Paul Fournier, it seems to be related to the Greek words “aner”, “andros” (stamens) and “hyalos” (transparent), alluding to filaments of the stamens that are very thin. The original description of Andryala was validly published by Linnaeus in 1754 in the fifth edition of Genera Plantarum.
Considerable intraspecific variability and ecological plasticity observed in Andryala led to the description of many species, in accordance with the degree of morphological differentiation and ecology. Hence, until recently, there has been no clear estimate of the number of species in the genus. M. Z. Ferreira in 2015 counted 17 species, 14 subspecies, and 3 hybrids.
The genus Andryala L. comprises both annual and perennial herbs, more or less densely stellate-hairy, sometimes depicting glandular hairs as well. The leaves are entire to pinnatisect, the lower ones occasionally arranged in a rosette. Cauline leaves, few to numerous, are often more or less amplexicaul. The capitula, solitary or arranged in corymbiform inflorescences, exhibits involucral bracts arranged in 2-5 rows. The receptacle is alveolate and provided with cilia shorter or longer than the achenes (cypsela). The florets have yellow ligules, with the external ones sometimes adore a reddish stripe on the outer side. The achenes are oblong or obconical, truncate at the apex (rarely with a disc), with 10 prominent ribs, and the pappus consists of whitish or greyish hairs, deciduous as a whole.
Species of Andryala L. are found in western Mediterranean Region, Southwest Europe, Northwest Africa, and Macaronesia. The genus is also represented in the eastern Mediterranean, as well as in islands of the Aegean Sea.
Ferriera M. Z.: Biosystematics of the Genus Andryala L. (Asteraceae). Doctoral Thesis, Universidade da Madiera, June 2015.
Simon S. Cohen, 2020