Cephalaria is a genus of ca. 65 species, mainly distributed in the Mediterranean area, Central Asia and parts of East and South Africa. None is native in Belgium. Several species are cultivated as ornamentals in Europe (see Matthews 2000 for an overview).

1. Weedy annual, up to 90 cm tall. Corolla blue or lilac. Involucel 4-5 mm in fruit with 4 long and 4 short setae. Leaves entire, toothed or weakly lobed === 3. Cephalaria syriaca  

1. Ornamental perennial, up to 350 cm tall. Corolla yellow. Involucel 9-12 mm in fruit with 8 slightly unequal, short setae. Leaves, at least in part, pinnatifid or pinnatisect === 2

2. Heads 20-30 mm across, outer florets usually not conspicuously larger. Involucral bracts shaggy or silky hairy. Corolla 12 mm long. Stem more or less downy throughout. Receptacular scales oblong-spathulate, acuminate at apex. Plant up to 200 cm tall === 1. C. alpina

2. Heads 40-60 mm across, outer florets conspicuously larger. Involucral bracts appressed hairy (or with few longer hairs). Corolla 15-18 mm long. Stem almost hairless or sparsely hairy above and with retrorse hairs below. Receptacular scales triangular to narrowly ovate. Plant up to 350 cm tall === 2. C. gigantea

Additional alien: Cephalaria leucantha (L.) Roem. et Schult. has been claimed as an alien in Belgium (Lambinon & al. 2004) but this citation requires confirmation (Verloove & Lambinon 2008).


Bobrov E.G. (1972) Dipsacaceae. In: Shishkin B.K. (ed.), Flora of the U.S.S.R., vol. XXIV. Academic Scienc. U.S.S.R.: 9-66.

Ferguson I.K. (1976) Cephalaria. In: Tutin T.G. & al. (eds.), Flora Europaea, vol. 4. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 57-58.

Jäger E.J., Ebel F., Hanelt P. & Müller G. (eds.) (2008) Rothmaler Band 5. Exkursionsflora von Deutschland. Krautige Zier- und Nutzpflanzen. Springer Verlag, Berlin: 880 p.

Lambinon J., Delvosalle L., Duvigneaud J. (avec coll. Geerinck D., Lebeau J., Schumacker R. & Vannerom H. (2004) Nouvelle Flore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des Régions voisines (Ptéridophytes et Spermatophytes). Cinquième édition. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise: CXXX + 1167 p.

Matthews V.A. (2000) Cephalaria. In: Cullen J. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 6. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 457-458.

Göktürk R.S. & Sümbül S. (2014) A taxonomic revision of the genus Cephalaria (Caprifoliaceae) in Turkey. Turk. J. Bot. 38: 927-968. [available online at: http://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/botany/issues/bot-14-38-5/bot-38-5-9-1310-6.pdf]

Szabó Z. (1940) Cephalaria-génusz monográfiája. A Magyar Tudomanyos Akademia, Budapest.

Verloove F. & Lambinon J. (2008) Neophytes in Belgium: corrections and adjustments. Syst. Geogr. Pl. 78: 63-79.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith