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a genus of plants in the family Dipsacaceae. The plants are annual, biennial, or perennial herbs and, less commonly, shrubs. The leaves are opposite and range from entire to pin-natisect. The flowers are irregular; the marginal ones are somewhat enlarged. Their coloration is blue, white, or yellow. The inflorescence is a head with an imbricate involucre. The epicalyx is four to eight-angled and has eight ribs and four to eight teeth; the true calyx is saucer-shaped or cup-shaped. The fruit is an achene.
There are approximately 60 species, distributed in southern Europe, Western and Middle Asia, and northern and southern Africa. About 25 species occur in the USSR, primarily in the Caucasus. The plants usually grow on steppe and rocky slopes, in light forests, in underbrush, and in mountain meadows. They are also encountered as weeds amid crops. The following species are most widespread: C. litvinovii, which grows in the central belt and in the southern portion of the European USSR; C. gigantea, which grows in the Caucasus and whose inflorescences contain a yellow pigment; and C. syriaca, which grows as a weed in wheat fields in the Caucasus and Middle Asia. Bread made from wheat grain containing the seed of C. syriaca has a bluish coloration and a bitter taste. C. gigantea and C. alpina are grown as ornamentals.
T. V. EGOROVA