Perennial herb 0.12-0.8 m tall, erect to ascending or occasionally decumbent but not rooting at base, with woody rootstock, few-stemmed, unbranched below inflorescence, with stems shortly whitish-crisped-pubescent to puberulous below inflorescence or rarely glabrous, leaves densely whitish-pubescent to rarely scabrellous or subglabrous on both surfaces. Stems green, terete or uppermost internodes 2-4-lined; internodes exceeding to shorter than leaves, eglandular. Leaves sessile; lamina 15-60 x 5-25 mm, ovate to oblong or lanceolate, paler beneath, thinly chartaceous, not glaucous, densely shortly pubescent or velutinous to scabrellous beneath, more shortly so above, plane, spreading; apex obtuse or rarely subacute to rounded, margin entire, base cordate-amplexicaul to rounded or rarely broadly cuneate; venation: 2-4 pairs of laterals curved-ascending from lower 0.25-0.35 of midrib, tertiary reticulation rather dense, obscure, not prominent; laminar glands all pale or usually a few black scattered distally and towards margin, dense, unequal; intramarginal glands black, dense or rather irregular. Inflorescence 5- over 150-flowered from 1-8 nodes, sometimes with flowering branches from up to 3 lower nodes, cylindric to rounded- pyramidal; pedicels 2-4 mm: bracts and bracteoles elliptic to linear-lanceolate, black-glandular-ciliate and sometimes -auriculate. Flowers 15-20 mm in diam.; buds cylindric to ellipsoid, rounded. Sepals (3-)4-7 x (0.8-)l-3 mm, unequal to equal, free or shortly united, broadly to rather narrowly oblong or elliptic to subspathulate, obtuse (or rarely subacute) to rounded, with margin long-glandular-ciliate to glandular-denticulate or very rarely entire and eglandular; veins 5, outer ones commissural; laminar glands pale only, shortly striiform to punctiform; marginal glands black, flat-topped. Petals pale yellow, rarely red-veined, 7-12 x 3-5 mm, c. 2 x petals, elliptic to oblong, rounded, apiculus absent; laminar glands pale, elongate-punctiform, scattered, or absent, rarely also a few subapical laminar and/or marginal black gland dots. Stamens c. 30-55, longest c. 4-8 mm, c. 0.65 x petals; anther gland black. Ovary 1.5-3 x 1-1.5 mm, ellipsoid; styles 2.5-5 mm, 1.5-1.65 x ovary, spreading. Capsule 4-6 x 2-4 mm, broadly ellipsoid, enclosed when developing by petals twisting together. Seeds blackish red, 0.6 mm long; testa finely scalariform.
2n = 16 ( n = 8, Reynaud, 1981), 32(Reynaud, 1980).
Calcareous rocks and macchi, usually in shade or near moisture; 0-2400 m.
Turkey (southern Anatolia from Antalya to Hatay), western Syria, Lebanon, Israel (south to Bethlehem), Jordan (Gilead), Egypt (Sinai)?, Cyprus.
H. lanuginosum is rather variable, and two extreme reduced forms with stems glabrous or almost so were recognised as 'rather indefinite varieties' in Flora of Turkey (Robson, 1961b). Var. scabrellum, with stems weak and decumbent, leaves scabrellous to glabrous and sepals glandular-ciliate, occurs mostly at higher altitudes throughout the Turkish range of the species; but there are many intermediate forms, and this is probably not a homogeneous taxon but merely the result of high altitude and/or exposure. Specimens of this 'variety' include: Antalya: Calbali daǧ near Fesliken yayla, 1800 m, 14 July 1949 (fl), Davis 15349 (E, K). Burdur: Burdur to Antalya, 8 km from Buçak, 720 m, 11 June 1962 (fl), Dudley D.35689 (K). Içel: Bulgar [Bolkar] daǧ, source of Cydnus [Pamuk], 1500 m, 22 September 1853 (e. fr), Kotschy 330a (G, W). Seyhan: mts N. of Haruniye, ravine of Çattak Suyu, 330 m, 13 June 1953 (e. fr), Huber-Morath 12089 (G). The other extreme glabrous-stemmed form, var. pestalozzae, with leaves pubescent to puberulous and sepal margin entire and eglandular, is endemic to a small area south-west of Antalya; but here too there are intermediates, notably just east of Antalya at Konya Alti. Specimens of this 'variety' include: Antalya: Kemer distr., 0-100 m, 7 July 1 949 (fr), Davis 1 5020 (E, K); Kara daǧ, 200 m, 23 June 1958 (e. fr), Little 111 (E, K). Intermediates include: Antalya: Atbükü Bay, 5 km N. of Çirali, 26 May 1950 (ft), Huber-Morath 9540 (BASBG); Konya Alti, 10m, 17 May 1936 (fl), Tengwall 610 (K, S). In view of the intermediates between both these extreme forms and typical H. lanuginosum, it is logically impossible to recognize them taxonomically.