Apiaceae Lindl.

Eryngium Tourn. ex L.

This genus is accepted, and its native range is Temp. Eurasia, N. Africa, São Tome, Maluku to New Zealand, America.


Umbelliferae, C.C. Townsend. Flora of Tropical East Africa. 1989

Morphology General Habit
Annual, biennial or perennial herbs, rarely subshrubs, often suffused with a bluish colour
Morphology Leaves
Leaves simple to pinnately divided, usually ciliate to spinulose or spinose, rarely unarmed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Umbels simple, few–numerous, reduced to a dense short and capitate to elongate-spicate capitulum; involucre present, variably developed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers commonly white, each subtended by a single entire or furcate, sharp-pointed bracteole
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx-teeth conspicuous, sharply pointed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals channelled, deeply notched above with a long incurved lobule frequently equalling the lamina
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit ovate to subglobose, dorsally or laterally compressed, usually densely furnished with whitish scales or vesicular verrucae; commissure broad to narrow; ribs obsolete; vittae few and conspicuous to numerous and very slender; stylopodia expanded, flattish; carpophore absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Endosperm ± rounded dorsally or somewhat depressed, the commissural face flattened or slightly concave.


Ghazanfar, S. A. & Edmondson, J. R (Eds). (2014) Flora of Iraq, Volume 5 Part 2: Lythraceae to Campanulaceae.

Morphology General Habit
Annual or usually perennial herbs (always perennial in Iraq), very rarely shrubs
Morphology Leaves
Leaves entire or variously divided, usually ciliate or spinose and glabrous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Flowers bracteolate, sessile in dense heads surrounded by leafy, usually rigid and spinous bracts
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Calyx
Calyx teeth present, acute or spiny
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers Corolla
Petals white or coloured, narrow, deeply notched, with a tightly incurved lobule often almost as long as the petal lamina
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruit ovoid or obovoid, usually ± flattened but occasionally almost globose, 5-ribbed, often furnished with prominent chaffy scales. Commissure broad. Mericarps obscurely ribbed
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits Vittae
Vittae slender, occasionally subreticulate or absent
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds Endosperm
Commissural face of endosperm concave.
About 230 tropical and temperate species (excluding tropical and S Africa); 7–8 species in Iraq.
Eryngium (from ηρυγγιον, ēruggion, a Gr. name in Theophrastus for a plant with spinous leaves which is thought to have been E. campestre; Eryngo).

Bailey (1939) lists some 30 species as horticultural subjects, remarking that they are excellent in borders and rock gardens, and Chittenden (1951) mentions over 25. They are particularly prized for their coloured stems and involucres which vary in hue from shades of greenish blue to purplish or even brownish. As mentioned by Guest (1933) certain European species have long been known as medicinal plants. In this connection Wren (1956) mentions Field Eryngo (E. arvense, q.v.). Sea Holly (E. maritimum), which is found in coastal habitats round the Mediterranean and in Britain but does not occur in our territory, was formerly highly regarded for its supposed aphrodisiac effect and as mentioned by A.W Smith (1963), its roots were collected and candied, recipes for doing this being found in old cookery books up till well into the 18th century. Ibn al-Baitar (c. 1240 AD) records that Eryngo roots, called SHAQĀQIL in Syria, were imported into Iraq from Bokhara, Samarkand and even from as far away as China. Watt (1890) states that the root of E. planum L. (sub E. coeruleum) – strangely enough known as SHAQĀQIL MISRI (“Egyptian eryngo”, Ar.) – was also considered as an aphrodisiac and vein tonic and that its seed were said to be officinal at Kandahar in Afghanistan. Finally a useful fibre, known as Garaguata fibre, is obtained from the leaves of the subtropical South American species, E. pandanifolius.

Native to:

Afghanistan, Alabama, Albania, Algeria, Altay, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Argentina South, Arizona, Arkansas, Austria, Baleares, Baltic States, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, Bulgaria, California, Central European Rus, Chile Central, Chile North, Chile South, Colombia, Connecticut, Corse, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Delaware, Denmark, District of Columbia, Dominican Republic, East Aegean Is., East European Russia, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Florida, France, French Guiana, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Gulf of Guinea Is., Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Jawa, Juan Fernández Is., Kansas, Kazakhstan, Kentucky, Kirgizstan, Kriti, Krym, Lebanon-Syria, Leeward Is., Libya, Louisiana, Maluku, Maryland, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Mongolia, Montana, Morocco, Nebraska, Netherlands, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New South Wales, New Zealand North, New Zealand South, Nicaragua, North Carolina, North Caucasus, Northwest European R, Norway, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pakistan, Palestine, Panamá, Paraguay, Pennsylvania, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Queensland, Romania, Sardegna, Saudi Arabia, Sicilia, Sinai, South Australia, South Carolina, South European Russi, Southwest Caribbean, Spain, Sumatera, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Tasmania, Tennessee, Texas, Transcaucasus, Trinidad-Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Victoria, Virginia, Washington, West Himalaya, West Siberia, Western Australia, Windward Is., Wisconsin, Xinjiang, Yugoslavia

Introduced into:

Alberta, Andaman Is., Angola, Assam, Bangladesh, Borneo, British Columbia, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canary Is., Central American Pac, China South-Central, China Southeast, Colorado, East Himalaya, Fiji, Finland, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Hawaii, India, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Malaya, Massachusetts, Myanmar, Nepal, New York, Nicobar Is., Ontario, Primorye, Québec, Saskatchewan, Sierra Leone, South Dakota, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uganda, Vermont, Vietnam, Zaïre

Eryngium Tourn. ex L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status Has image?
Mimura, I. [119], Brazil K001130720 Yes
Glaziou [14878], Brazil K001130520 Yes
Mimura, I. [119], Brazil K001130714 Yes
Harley, R.M. [21682], Brazil K001130712 Yes
Rojas, E. [10954], Paraguay K001130725 Yes
Schnell, R. [8378], Brazil K001130713 Yes
Pirani, J.R. [7232], Brazil K001130716 Yes
Bernardi, L. [19604], Paraguay K001130717 Yes
Heringer, E.P. [1128], Brazil K001130718 Yes
Ratter, J.A. [469], Brazil K001130721 Yes
Mimura, I. [29], Brazil K001130722 Yes
Ratter, J.A. [460], Brazil K001130715 Yes
Mimura, I. [29], Brazil K001130723 Yes
Mimura, I. [119], Brazil K001130724 Yes
Philcox, D. [4582], Brazil K001130719 Yes

First published in Sp. Pl.: 233 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (2001). World Checklist of Seed Plants Database in ACCESS E-F: 1-50919.
  • Wörz, A. (2011). Revision of Eryngium L. (Apiaceae-Saniculoideae): General part and Palaearctic species Bibliotheca Botanica 159: 1-498.


Flora of Iraq

  • Linnaeus, Gen. Pl. ed. 5: 108 (1754);
  • Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. ed. 1: 232 (1753);
  • Wolff in Pflanzenr. IV. 228, 61: 106–271 (1913)

Flora of West Tropical Africa

  • —F.T.A. 3: 6.

Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • H. Wolff in E.P. IV. 228, heft 61: 106–271 (1913)
  • L., Gen. Pl., ed. 5: 108 (1754)
  • Sp. Pl.: 232 (1753)

  • Flora of Iraq

  • Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

  • Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

  • Kew Backbone Distributions

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone

    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2022. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

  • Neotropikey

    Milliken, W., Klitgard, B. and Baracat, A. (2009 onwards), Neotropikey - Interactive key and information resources for flowering plants of the Neotropics.