22. Acanthophyllum C.A. Meyer, Verzeichn. Pfl. Cauc. 210. 1831. Boiss., Fl. Or. 1:560. 1867; Golenkin in Acts Hort. Petrop. 13(6): 77-87. 1893; Schischkin in Kom., Fl. URSS. 6:780. 1936; Gilli in Oct. Sot. Zeitschr. 111. 285-290. 1964; .Huber-Month in Davis, Fl. Turk. 2:175. 1967.
SHAHINA A. GHAZANFAR & YASIN J. NASIR
Small shrubby tufted perennials with acerose spiny leaves. Flowers white or pink, sessile in solitary or globose heads. Bracts spiny. Calyx cylindrical, 5-toothed, 5-15 nerved. Petals 5, limb entire or retuse. Coronal scales absent. Stamens 20. Carpophore absent. Styles 2. Ovary 4-valved. Capsule ovoid, 1-seeded, membranous below, chartaceous above, dehiscing irregularly at the base. Seeds reniform.
A genus of about 50 S.W. & C. Asiatic species. The distribution of the genus is mainly from Soviet Central Asia to Afghanistan, ending its limit in Western Pakistan. Represented in Pakistan by 5 species.
Many species contain saponin in their rhizomes and are sometimes used as a substitute for soap.
Acanthophyllum cf. caespitosum Boiss., Diagn. ser. 1(1)42. 1842.
Stewart, (l.c. op. cit.) records a collection by Crookshank (no. 170, at K from Ziarat identified A. cf. caespitosum. A. caespitosum is described from S.W.-Iran and occurs in Kurdistan area, mt. Alvand, mt. Ayroman (Parsa, Fl. de. Iran, 1:1049. 1951). Since the species resembles A. squarrosum in vegetative and partly in floral characters, it is possible that the record is a misidentification.