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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 17 | Lamiaceae

68. Thymus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 590. 1753.

百里香属 bai li xiang shu

Subshrubs with slender branches arising from usually short, sometimes stout, woody stems. Leaves entire or 1-3-serrulate. Verticillasters in dense capitula or spikes. Flowers pedicellate. Calyx tubular-campanulate to narrowly campanulate, 10-13-veined, 2-lipped, throat white hairy annulate; upper lip spreading or straight, 3-toothed, teeth triangular to lanceolate; lower lip 2-toothed, teeth subulate. Corolla tube included or exserted, 2-lipped; upper lip straight, emarginate; lower lip spreading, 3-lobed, lobes subequal or middle lobe longer. Stamens 4, separate; anterior 2 longer, exserted or included; anther cells 2, parallel or divaricate. Style apex 2-cleft; lobes subulate, equal or subequal. Nutlets ovoid or oblong, smooth.

Some botanists recognize 300-400 species in Africa, Europe, and temperate Asia; others have suggested that many of these species should be treated as infraspecific taxa of Thymus serpyllum Linnaeus. China has at least 11 species, mainly N of the Huang He. Some botanists (e.g., Kamelin) have recorded several additional species from China: T. dahuricus Sergievskaya, T. gobicus Tscherneva, and T. michaelis Kamelin & Budantzev (syn. T. mongolicus Klokov, 1954, non (Ronniger) Ronniger), all fairly widespread, plus T. petraeus Sergievskaya, (Xinjiang) and T. turczaninovii Sergievskaya, (Nei Mongol). We have not examined material of these species.

Klokov (Fl. U.S.S.R. 21: 471. 1954) reported that fertile hybrids are common in areas of overlap between some species.

1 Stems and branches distinctly 4-angled, with a line of hairs from base of each leaf; leaves distinctly crenate; teeth of upper calyx lip 3/5 as long as lip   1 Thymus disjunctus
+ Stems and branches mostly terete, rarely indistinctly 4-angled, hairy throughout, or branches occasionally with a line of hairs from base of each leaf.   (2)
2 (1) Inflorescences spicate or subcapitate; all upper branches fertile.   (3)
+ Inflorescences capitate or slightly elongated in fruit; some upper branches infertile.   (4)
3 (2) Stem internodes less than 1 cm; leaves hairy; inflorescences to 5 cm; plants monoecious   2 Thymus mandschuricus
+ Stem internodes more than 2 cm; leaves glabrous or sparsely puberulent; inflorescences to 20 cm or more; plants gynodioecious   3 Thymus marschallianus
4 (2) Leaves hairy.   (5)
+ Leaves glabrous.   (6)
5 (4) Fertile branchlets villous; stem with ascending sterile branches; leaves serrate   4 Thymus amurensis
+ Fertile branchlets pubescent; stem with trailing sterile branches; leaves entire   5 Thymus curtus
6 (4) Leaves ± asymmetrical   6 Thymus inaequalis
+ Leaves symmetrical.   (7)
7 (6) Teeth of upper calyx lip triangular or subtriangular, less than 1/3 as long as upper lip.   (8)
+ Teeth of upper calyx lip lanceolate.   (11)
8 (7) Teeth of upper calyx lip not ciliate or only minutely hispid.   (9)
+ Teeth of upper calyx lip ciliate.   (10)
9 (8) Leaf veins rather robust, elevated abaxially   9 Thymus altaicus
+ Leaf veins rather slender, slightly elevated abaxially   8 Thymus mongolicus
10 (8) Leaves elliptic, rarely ovate   7 Thymus proximus
+ Leaves ovate   8 Thymus mongolicus
11 (7) Teeth of upper calyx lip not ciliate or only minutely hispid   9 Thymus altaicus
+ Teeth of upper calyx lip ± ciliate, rarely not ciliate.   (12)
12 (11) Stems slender, numerous, tufted, arising from robust rhizomatous base, ascending; leaves greenish when dry; calyx with distinctly raised veins   10 Thymus nervulosus
+ Stem robust or ± trailing, obliquely ascending to horizontal; leaves brownish when dry; calyx with indistinctly raised veins   11 Thymus quinquecostatus

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