Phagnalon pycnophyllon Rech.f. in Anz. Math. Nat. Kal. Oesterr. Akad. Wiss. 109(8): 173. 1972; Lack in Rech.f., l.c. 42. (Fig. 37, A-E).
Small woody perennials, 5-15 cm high with decumbent or ascending branches, densely clothed with cottony wool. Leaves alternate, sometimes very close giving an appearance of opposite leaves, 5-15 x 2-3(-4) mm lanceolate, oblanceolate or spathulate, attenuate at the base into a very small petiole, margins entire, undulate or ± revolute, with acute to obtuse apex, densely white tomentose especially more on the lower surface than the upper. Peduncles 2-3 (-4) cm long, bearing a single capitulum. Capitulum 8-122 mm in diameter, ± multiflorous; phyllaries multiseriate, densely floccose to lanate. Outer phyllaries triangular ovate 2-2.5 x c. 1 mm with somewhat eroded to denticulate margins, acute at the apex, ± opaque; middle ones triangular ovate to ovate-lanceolate 4 x 1-1.25 mm, brown towards the upper half, with somewhat eroded or denticulate margins, acute to acuminate at the apex, ± opaque, inner 5(-6) x 0.5 mm, linear to linear-lanceolate, with an acute apex and entire margin. Bisexual florets 30-40, c. 6 mm long. Corolla tube more glandular hairy than Ph. niveum Edgew. Anthers c. 1.5 mm long, exserted. Style more or less included, stigmas rounded, ± papillose. Cypselas oblong, brown, c. 1 mm long, sparsely hairy; pappus setae 5, c. 6 mm long.
Holotype: Quetta, in parte superiore faucium Torkhan inter Sanjawi, 30o16'N, 68o25'E, 1400 m, et Harnai, 900 m, substr. calc., 14.5.1965, K. H. Rechinger (W!), Isotypes: (B!, C!, E!, G!, GZU!, K!, M!, S!).
Grows from 1700-3000 m, among stones, cliffs and rock crevices; Distribution: Pakistan and Afghanistan.
A dwarf species, usually confused with P. niveum Edgew., however, it is readily distinguishable from the latter by its broad, ovate median phyllaries.
A variable taxon, especially in the length of peduncle, size of capitulum and width of median phyllaries. Plants of northern Baluchistan-Pakistan (type locality) have somewhat smaller peduncle, smaller capitula and more brownish phyllaries which are 0.8-1 mm broad while the plants from Kurram valley (A valley present on Afghanistan-Pakistan border and extends in both the countries) have somewhat bigger capitula and the phyllaries are broader (1.2 mm) and less brownish. However, the variation seems to be ± continuous as few intermediates are also met with. Therefore, any further recognition of infra specific categories does not seem feasible.