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Description & Remarks
Caespitose perennial herbs with shortly pubescent, narrow-linear cauline leaves (an important characteristic). Flowering stems up to 40 cm tall, producing 1-2 branches bearing a single pendulous flower from each node, and ending in another flower between two branches. Lower parts of flowering stems pubescent, upper parts glabrous and viscous. Flowers shortly pedunculate, pedicle significantly shorter than the calyx. Calyx non viscous and shortly pubescent. Corolla whitish-green to cream color, open from evening to early morning and usually rolled up during the day. Filaments much exserted from corolla, hirsute below and glabrous above. Capsule erect, slightly exerted from the calyx. Seeds slightly tuberculate.
Other species related to S. marschallii in Israel are: S. longipetala Vent., S. swertiifolia Boiss., S. libanotica Boiss., and S. italica (L.) Pers. (belonging to the sections Sclerocalycinae, Lasiostemones and Siphonomrpha, which are not very well separated and may not be monophyletic). S. marschallii is readily distinguishable from the others by its shortly pubescent, linear leaves and its non-viscous, shortly pubescent calyx. S. stenobotrys Boiss. & Hausskn. is another similar species (belonging to a different section) that occurs on Mt. Hermon and differs from S. marschallii by having numerus, smaller flowers, inflated calyx covered with short glandular hairs, and entirely pubescent, non-viscous stems.
S. marschallii is an Irano-Turanian species recorded from Turkey to the Caucasus, Greece, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, and including 3-4 subspecies differing from each other by the shape and size of the cauline leaves, corolla shape, capsule size, and hairiness of the anthophore. The local population belongs to the typical subspecies – S. m. subsp. marschallii, which occurs across the species’ distribution.
S. marschallii was discovered in Upper Nahal Arugot by Ofra Friedmann and Ohad Binyamini in 2020 and identified by Dar Ben-Natan. It is known from one location only, where it grows in batha of Sarcopoterium spinosum at 800m altitude. The local population is very small and highly endangered. It is the southern-most population for this species, and hundreds of kilometers far from the nearest known population in Turkey.
Dar Ben-Natan, July 2021