Scrophularia L.

Scrophularia is a genus with ca. 200-300 species that mostly occur in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere (Mabberley 2008). Its center of diversity seems to lie in Iran and Afghanistan (with ca. 60 species in Iran alone; Grau 1981, Attar 2006, Attar & al. 2006). Only three species are originally native in Belgium: Scrophularia auriculata L., S. nodosa L. and S. umbrosa Dum. (the latter with two subspecies) (Lambinon & Verloove 2012). Most species have unshowy, unattractive flowers. As a result, Scrophularia is rarely cultivated as an ornamental, except perhaps the yellow-flowered S. vernalis. Cann (2000) only cites three species for Europe, including native Scrophularia auriculata. A few species are sometimes recorded as aliens in Europe (see for instance Clement & Foster 1994 for the British Isles) but only exceptionally so in Belgium.

1       Lower leaves pinnatifid to pinnatisect === Scrophularia canina

         Leaves serrate === 2

2       Corolla yellowish green, with equal lobes. Staminode absent. Inflorescence leafy throughout === S. vernalis

         Corolla purplish brown to greenish, distinctly 2-lipped. Staminode present. Inflorescence not leafy === 3

3       Stem angled but never winged === 4

         Stem distinctly winged (native) === S. auriculata and S. umbrosa

4       Entire plant hairy (densely or sparsely so with short non-glandular and glandular hairs). Rhizome without tubers === S. scopolii

         Plant glabrous, except for some or many glandular hairs on inflorescence branches. Rhizome with tubers (native) === S. nodosa

Additional alien: Scrophularia lanceolata Pursh (N-Am., wool alien).


Attar F. (2006) Notes on the genus Scrophularia L. in Iran. Iran. J. Bot. 12(2): 136-143. [available online at:]

Attar F., Joharchi M.R., Nowrouzi M. & Hatami A. (2006) New species of Scrophularia L. (Scrophulariaceae) from Iran. Iran. J. Bot 12(2): 193-202. [available online at:]

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Cann D.C.G. (2000) Scrophularia. In: Cullen J. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 6. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 290.

Clement E.J. & Foster M.C. (1994) Alien plants of the British Isles. BSBI, London: XVIII + 590 p.

Eig A. (1944) Revision of the oriental Scrophularia species of the herbarium of the Hebrew University. Palestine Journal of Botany 3: 79-93.

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Grau J. (1976) Die Cytologie südwestmediterraner Scrophularia-Arten. Mitt. Bot. Staatssamml. München 12: 609-654.

Grau J. (1981) Scrophularia in K. H. Rechinger Flora Iranica, no. 147. Akademisch Druck und Verlagsanstalt, Graz: 213-283.

Grau J. (1988) Scrophularia y Ranunculus, dos géneros con centro de evolución en el Mediterraneo occidental. Lagascalia 15 (Suppl.): 39-48. [available online at:]

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Lall S.S. (1970) Materials for a Flora of Turkey: XXI. Scrophularia. Notes Roy.Bot.Gard. Edinb. 30:129-140.

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Menitsky G.L. & Popova T.N. (1998) A synopsis of Caucasian Scrophularia (Scrophulariaceae) species (in Russian). Bot. Zhurn. 83(5): 96-106.

Meusel H. & Mörchen G. (1977) Zur ökogeographischen und morphologischen Differenzierung einiger Scrophularia- Arten. Flora (Jena) 166: 1-20.

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Vaarama A. & Hiirsalmi H. (1967) Chromosome studies on some Old World species of the genus Scrophularia. Hereditas (Lund) 58: 333-358.

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Wydler H. (1828) Essai monographique sur le genre Scrophularia. Mém. Soc. Phys. Hist. Natur. Genève 4: 121-170.

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