Cousinia elata has been known from only two collections, and its relationship to the major subgroups of the genus has been entirely unclear. It is shown that C. meshhedensis must be included in C. elata, that C. elata is actually widely distributed in NNE and NE Iran, and, based on chromosome number, flower and pollen morphology, that it is a member of Cousinia s.str. (C. subg. Cousinia). Within Cousinia s.str., C. elata is most closely related to species traditionally classified as C. sect. Platyacanthae, based on a Bayesian ITS sequence analysis. The name C. elata and its synonyms C. meshhedensis and C. strictissima are lectotypified and an amended description of the species and a map of its distribution are provided.
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Vol. 39 • No. 1