Cousinia sect. Cynaroideae, the largest section of Cousinia with 110 published species, is characterized by a chromosome number of 2n = 24, ± decurrent to spiny-winged leaves and appendaged phyllaries. It is distributed in Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, the Caucasus, Iraq, Iran, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, with centres of specific diversity mainly in W and NW Iran, N Iraq and SE Turkey. A comprehensive treatment of C. sect. Cynaroideae, mainly based on the study of c. 2250 herbarium specimens, resulted in a reduction of taxa number to somewhat more than one third, precisely to 31 species plus eight subspecies. C. lordeganensis is described as a species new to science and the new nomenclatural combinations C. calocephala subsp. astrocephala and subsp. behboudiana, C. kotschyi subsp. khansarica, C. odontolepis subsp. kurdica, C. pergamacea subsp. sardashtensis, C. sagittata subsp. iranica, C. silyboides subsp. disfulensis and subsp. zardkuhensis are validated. All species and subspecies treated are typified. Identification keys, descriptions, illustrations and distribution maps for each species are given.
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Vol. 38 • No. 2