SPECIES DESCRIPTION
SCORZONERA CRETICA

Family:- COMPOSITAE/Sect. LASIOSPORA

Common Names:- Cretan viper's-grass

Synonyms:- Gelasia cretica, Lasiospora cretica, Scorzonera dependens,
Scorzonera lassitica.

Meaning:- Scorzonera (It) Derivation uncertain but generally thought to refer to
use as an antifebrile in snakebite.
                  Cretica (L) From Crete, Cretan.              
                
General description:- Perennial, subglabrous to densely villous-lanate especially
at the base of the stems, leaves and involucre; rootstock vertical, cylindrical, not
fibrous at the apex.

Stems:-
1) 3-45 (-60) cm. Solitary or few, rigid, simple or sparingly branched, ascending or
    erect, leafy in lower half or throughout.

Leaves:-
1) Basal and alternate, simple, 5-30(-45) x 01-1 cm, linear, attenuate at the apex,
    rigid or flaccid, often with prominent veins; with a whitish basal sheath.

Flowers:-
1) Joined together in capitula from 20-35 mm across, with only yellow ray-florets,
    often reddish below.
2) Involucre 10-30 mm, up to 40 mm in fruit, glabrous to villous or lanate.
3) Ligules 1-1  times as long as the involucre, yellow, often reddish outside.

Fruit:-
1) Achenes 5-10 mm, oblong-cylindrical.
2) Pappus-hairs 1-2 times as long as the achene, plumose or scabrid, pale
    reddish- or whitish-brown.

Key features:-
1) Achenes densely villous or lanate.
2) Pappus-hairs scabrid.
3) Stems simple or branched, leafy for at least the lower half.
4) Involucre often more than 15 mm.
5) Pappus-hairs plumose throughout, 1-2 times as long as the achene.

Click here for a glossary of terms used.

Habitat:- Crevices and ledges of limestone cliffs, sometimes on rocky slopes and
ridges with open dry shrubby vegetation. 0-700(-1200) m.

Distribution:- Limited distribution across the Mediterranean. Widespread and
common on Crete mainly central and east.

Flowering time:- Apr-June.

Photos by:- Steve Lenton