8. Galium bullatum Lipsky, Trudy Imp. S.-Peterburgsk. Bot. Sada. 13: 300. 1894.
泡果拉拉藤 pao guo la la teng
Subshrubs, perennial, erect or ascending, sometimes caespitose, 5-40 cm tall. Rootstock stout, woody. Stems 4-angled, very shortly pilose at base, glabrous and smooth above. Leaves in whorls of 5-8, drying blackish, linear to linear-oblanceolate, 12-27 × 1-2 mm, glabrous or sparsely ciliolate toward acute apex; vein 1. Inflorescences terminal on main and short lateral branches, cymose to corymbiform, lax, few to several flowered; axes glabrous and smooth; bracts reduced or none; pedicels 1-4 mm. Ovary ovoid, ca. 1.5 mm, glabrous. Corolla white, cup-shaped to subrotate, 3.5-5 mm in diam., glabrous; lobes 4, lanceolate-oblong, slightly mucronulate. Fruit usually from 1 mericarp only, subglobose, 3-3.5 mm in diam., glabrous, smooth, white, with pericarp inflated, spongy to ± fleshy. Fl. Jun-Jul, fr. Jul-Aug.
Grasslands, meadows; ca. 500 m. ?Xinjiang [SW Asia (Armenia, ?Iran, Nakhichevan)].
Galium bullatum is a member of G. sect. Orientigalium centered in SW Asia and characterized by slightly cup-shaped corollas, never retrorsely aculeolate stems, etc. The above diagnosis is taken from the original description and a collection by Szovits in W ("in Persia borealis"). We have not seen a specimen from China. The description by W. C. Chen (in FRPS 71(2): 274. 1999), evidently based on plants from Xinjiang, deviates from the authentic material in W by describing the stems as retrorsely hispidulous along angles and the corolla as rotate. Species of G. sect. Orientigalium usually are rather locally distributed (Ehrendorfer et al., Fl. Iranica 176: 205-231. 2005), and the distance between Nakhichevan and Xinjiang is enormous. All this makes it quite unlikely that G. bullatum (or even other related members of G. sect. Orientigalium) really occurs in China. A definite decision has to wait until voucher specimens become available for comparison.