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Separation of Picrothamnus from Artemisia calls attention to differing views of generic circumscription within Anthemideae (see discussion under Artemisia). Distinguished by its spinescent branches and relatively large heads held among the leaves, Picrothamnus is among the more distinct of proposed segregates. The diffuse-porous woods (S. Carlquist 1966) correspond to the early spring-blooming phenology of the plants and provide an anatomic feature that helps to distinguish Picrothamnus from Artemisia.