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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 13 | Onagraceae | Circaea

7. Circaea alpina Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 9. 1753.

高山露珠草 gao shan lu zhu cao

Plants 3-50 cm tall, glabrous or pubescent with short falcate hairs on stem and short glandular hairs in inflorescence. Rhizomes with tuberous thickening at apex. Leaves highly variably shaped from narrowly trullate or elliptic to nearly circular, 1-11 × 0.7-5.5(-8) cm, base narrowly cuneate to cordate, margin subentire to sharply serrate, apex acute to shortly acuminate. Terminal raceme 0.7-2 to 12(-17) cm. Flowering pedicels perpendicular to axis of raceme (in C. alpina subsp. caulescens and some plants of subsp. angustifolia) to ascending or erect, with or without a minute setaceous bracteole at base. Buds glabrous, rarely glabrescent; floral tube ranging from nearly absent to 0.6 mm. Sepals, spreading or slightly reflexed, white or pink, occasionally purple tinged at apex, rarely purple throughout, oblong, ovate to broadly so, or triangular-ovate, 0.8-2 × 0.6-1.3 mm, glabrous, apex rounded to obtuse or miutely mammiform. Petals white, narrowly obtriangular, obdeltoid, obovate to broadly so to depressed-obovate, 0.5-2 × 0.6-1.9 mm, apical notch essentially lacking or to 1/2 length of petal; petal lobes rounded to truncate, rarely somewhat crenulate (in C. alpina subsp. an gustifolia). Stamens erect or ascending, less commonly spreading, equaling or slightly longer than style; nectary wholly within floral tube and inconspicuous. Fruiting pedicel and mature fruit 3.5-7.8 mm. Fruit clavate or obovoid, 1.6-2.7 × 0.5-1.2 mm, tapering smoothly to pedicel, locule 1, seed 1, without ribs or sulci, but pedicel extending as a shallow groove along upper surface. 2n = 22 (unknown in C. alpina subsp. micrantha).

Forests, thickets, grassy alpine areas, cool, moist, and wet places, on moss-covered rocks and logs; near sea level to 5000 m. Anhui, Gansu, Guizhou, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Sichuan, Taiwan, Xizang, Yunnan, Zhejiang [NE Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mongolia, N Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, NW Vietnam; circumboreal in forests between 30°-65° N, but restricted to high elevations at lower latitudes].

Circaea alpina is a facultatively inbreeding complex of six subspecies, each exhibiting different geographic or ecological preferences but with areas of overlap between two or more subspecies in parts of their range. The subspecies form a reticulate pattern of morphologically intergrading populations, some of which are separated only by seemingly minute differences. Other subspecies, were it not for the numerous intermediate plants, appear so dissimilar that some might recognize them as separate species, as has often been done in the past. Five subspecies are in China.


1 Inflorescences elongating as or before flowers open; flowers ± loosely spaced; lower flower-bearing pedicels perpendicular to raceme axis at anthesis   (2)
+ Inflorescences elongating after flowers open; flowers clustered and corymbose at summit of raceme; pedicels erect or ascending at anthesis   (3)
       
2 (1) Pedicels without a minute bracteole at base, or bracteole represented by a darkened gland; leaves ovate to broadly so, base rounded, truncate, or subcordate; hairs on fruit translucent.   7a subsp. caulescens
+ Pedicels with a minute bracteole at base; leaves elliptic to trullate or ovate, base narrowly to broadly cuneate; hairs on fruit containing purple pigment.   7b subsp. angustifolia
       
3 (1) Stem glabrous   (4)
+ Stem pubescent, with at least a few, soft, falcate hairs   (5)
       
4 (3) Ovary minutely pubescent at anthesis; petals conspicuously notched, notch 1/4-1/2 length of petal.   7d subsp. alpina
+ Ovary glabrous at anthesis; petals emarginate or barely notched, notch less than 1/5 length of petal.   7e subsp. micrantha
       
5 (3) Leaves thin, pale green, translucent; ovary glabrous at anthesis; petals emarginate or barely notched.   7e subsp. micrantha
+ Leaves thick, deep green or reddish, opaque; ovary pubescent with hooked hairs at anthesis; petals clearly notched to ca. 1/2 their length   (6)
       
6 (5) Leaves elliptic to trullate, base narrowly to broadly cuneate.   7b subsp. angustifolia
+ Leaves ovate, base rounded to subcordate, rarely broadly cuneate   7c subsp. imaicola


 

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