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016  Picris echioides L.


Nome comune: Aspraggine volgare; raspraggine; Spraggine

P. echioides may grow up to 90 cm (35 in) tall, with a thick, furrowed stem and spreading branches. The leaves are 1020 cm (48 in) long, oblanceolate with a short petiole. The leaves, branches and stem are all covered in thick bristles. The inflorescences are 23.5 cm (0.81.4 in) wide and subtended by between 3 and 5 large ovate-cordate involucral bracts. These large bracts are the defining feature of the genus Helminthotheca, to which P. echioides may be assigned. A number of infraspecific taxa are recognised, varying in their leaf shape. Distribution Picris echioides is native to the Mediterranean Basin, but has become widely naturalised outside that range. In the British Isles, it is widely distributed in the south and east, but more patchily distributed to the north and west. In Northern Ireland, P. echioides is only found on the north side of Belfast Lough. It has been introduced to North America, where it can now be found from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and California. The specific epithet echioides comes from the resemblance of the leaves of this species to those of Echium vulgare.