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Crupina vulgaris Cass.
Family: Asteraceae, Tribe: Cynareae
Common names: common crupina, bearded creeper
Fruit an achene, cylindrical, tapering slightly to an obtuse base, 3-6 mm long, 1.5-4 mm in diameter (not including pappus). Base smooth, becoming puberulent, then villous toward apex, semiglossy; black at base to honey-brown to light golden at apex, in 3 +/- visible transverse stripes. Scar basal, suborbicular, convex, white. Pappus persistent (inner achenes), blackish-brown, multiseriate; outer rows of pappus rough, short, narrowly triangular-lanceolate scale-like bristles to 4-7 mm long, inner rows of long stiff barbed bristles gradually reaching ca. 10 mm long. Style base whitish, columnar, usually open ended, deeply depressed in cup-shaped thick-walled corolla base, surrounded by one row of ca. 7-10 short triangular scales, each ca. 0.3 mm wide. Embryo spatulate, cotyledons broad; endosperm absent.
Crupina achenes are distinguishable by their size, shape, and color. Compare with Crupina crupinastrum (Moris) Vis. (the only other species in the genus).
Mediterranean countries of Europe and Africa, eastern and central Europe, through Asia minor, the Middle East, to southwest Asia; also in Australia, Argentina, Zambia, United States.
Dry south slopes, grasslands, forested areas, pastures, roadsides. Adaptable to different climates and soil types.
Crupina vulgaris is a winter annual herb, up to 1 m tall. Because this species is unpalatable to cattle, it forms dense stands in disturbed rangelands, reducing forage area. It apparently does not, however, grow in cultivated fields. The achenes are spread by livestock, birds and water.