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Crupina is a member of subtribe Centaureinae. Molecular phylogenetic studies (A. Susanna et al. 1995; N. Garcia-Jacas et al. 2001) place Crupina in a basal grade of genera related to Centaurea. Crupina differs from Centaurea by having scaly (rather than bristly) receptacles, and in its cypselar structure (J. Briquet 1930), trichome types (J. Briquet 1930b), unique pollen morphology (G. Wagenitz 1955), and high chromosome base number.