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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 24 | Liliaceae

4. Veratrum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1044. 1753.

藜芦属 li lu shu

Chen Xinqi (陈心启 Chen Sing-chi); Hiroshi Takahashi

Herbs perennial, usually andropolygamous, with short, thick rhizomes and stout, slightly fleshy roots. Stems erect, terete, stout, usually pubescent, leafy, usually enclosed basally by fibers or reticulate fibers formed from disintegrated sheaths. Leaves alternate, sheathed and clasping, broad to narrow, strongly plicately veined, basally usually narrowed. Inflorescence usually a terminal panicle, many flowered. Flowers shortly pedicellate or subsessile, white, yellowish, green, or dark purple-brown, funnelform, cupular to opening flat. Tepals 6, usually free, spreading, persistent in fruit. Stamens 6, inserted at base of tepals; anthers reniform to cordate-orbicular, with locules confluent and dehiscent by an apical valve. Ovary 3-loculed, slightly 3-lobed apically, ovules usually many. Styles 3, short, persistent, stigmatic adaxially. Fruit a septicidal capsule. Seeds several per valve, flattened, narrowly winged.

About 40 species: mainly in temperate regions of the N hemisphere; 13 species (eight endemic) in China.

1 Basal sheath of stem with only longitudinal veins, becoming fibrous when disintegrated.   (2)
+ Basal sheath of stem with both longitudinal and transverse veins, becoming reticulate when disintegrated.   (5)
2 (1) Leaves glabrous or sparsely pubescent   2 Veratrum oxysepalum
+ Leaves densely pubescent abaxially.   (3)
3 (2) Leaves silvery pubescent abaxially   1 Veratrum dahuricum
+ Leaves brownish or grayish pubescent abaxially.   (4)
4 (3) Tepals prominently erose-denticulate at margin; ovary densely woolly   4 Veratrum grandiflorum
+ Tepals scarcely erose-denticulate at margin; ovary glabrous   3 Veratrum lobelianum
5 (1) Leaves conspicuously petiolate.   (6)
+ Leaves sessile or sometimes shortly petiolate in distal part of stem.   (9)
6 (5) Plants rather small, to 40 cm tall; flowers relatively small, with tepals 2--3 × ca. 1 mm; capsule pendulous   8 Veratrum micranthum
+ Plants relatively large, usually to 1 m tall; flowers relatively large, with tepals more than 4 × 2 mm; capsule erect.   (7)
7 (6) Leaf blade papillose-pubescent on abaxial veins   7 Veratrum oblongum
+ Leaf blade glabrous.   (8)
8 (7) Pedicels on branches of panicle 1 cm or more, ca. 2 × as long as perianth   6 Veratrum maackii
+ Pedicels on branches of panicle less than 1 cm, subequaling perianth   9 Veratrum schindleri
9 (5) Leaf blade usually broadly elliptic to broadly ovate-lanceolate, to 10 cm wide; flowers black-purple   5 Veratrum nigrum
+ Leaf blade narrowly oblong or lorate, 1--3(--8.5) cm wide; flowers usually yellowish green or greenish white, rarely dark purple (in V. formosanum).   (10)
10 (9) Tepals adaxially with 2 conspicuous glands in proximal part   12 Veratrum mengtzeanum
+ Tepals eglandular.   (11)
11 (10) Bracts glabrous; flowers usually dark purple   10 Veratrum formosanum
+ Bracts white woolly-ciliate; flowers yellowish to greenish.   (12)
12 (11) Branches of panicle horizontally spreading or slightly recurved, sometimes zigzagged, pedicels 7--15 mm   13 Veratrum taliense
+ Branches of panicle suberect or spreading at an acute angle, pedicels (1--)2--3(--4) mm   11 Veratrum stenophyllum

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