17. Galium formosense Ohwi, Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 36: 55. 1934.
关山猪殃殃 guan shan zhu yang yang
Galium kwanzanense Ohwi.
Herbs, perennial, procumbent to erect, (5-)8-20(-30) cm tall. Stems 4-angled, sparsely to rather densely pilose, angles thickened. Leaves in whorls of 4, sessile; blade drying submembranous, blackish green, broadly elliptic to obovate, 4-20 × 3-10 mm, length/breadth index 2 or less, both surfaces sparsely to densely pilose at least along veins, base cuneate to obtuse, apex obtuse to rounded and mucronate; principal veins 3, palmate. Inflorescences with terminal and axillary, few- to many-flowered, 1-3 cm long cymes; peduncles sparsely pilose to glabrous and smooth; bracts spatulate to ovate, 1.5-3 mm; pedicels 1-4 mm. Flowers ?hermaphroditic. Ovary obovoid, ca. 0.5 mm, densely pubescent with uncinate trichomes. Corolla yellowish white, rotate, 1-2 mm in diam., glabrous; lobes 4, ovate, 0.4-0.8 mm, acute. Mericarps ovoid, ca. 1 mm, with dense white to yellowish uncinate trichomes 0.4-0.5 mm. Fl. Jun-Sep, fr. Jun-Nov.
● Mountains, along trails and roads, fields, open ditches; 600-3000 m. Taiwan (Gaoxiong).
Ohwi described the relatively tall ("20-30 cm") Galium formosense from lower elevations and the condensed G. kwanzanense ("5-10 cm") from an exposed higher peak of Taiwan. The technical differences indicated mainly relate to flower diameter (1 mm in the former, 2 mm in the latter). In their study of Taiwanese Galium Yang and Li (Bull. Natl. Mus. Nat. Sci., Taichung 11: 101-117. 1998; Fl. Taiwan, ed. 2, 4: 254-259. 1998) formally synonymized the taxa and demonstrate a considerable ecological amplitude of G. formosense s.l. Furthermore, the specific separation of G. formosense from two other Taiwan mountain endemics, with glabrous stems, G. morii and G. tarokoense, needs better documentation.
In FRPS (71(2): 243. 1999), W. C. Chen treated Galium formosense as a synonym of G. elegans. He referred to Cufodontis (Oesterr. Bot. Z. 89: 228. 1940) who supported the occurrence of G. elegans in Taiwan based on Hayata’s report of G. rotundifolium Linnaeus (in J. Coll. Sci. Tokyo 30(1): 148. 1911) and to J. M. Chao (in Fl. Taiwan 4: 261. 1978) who considered G. elegans to be the same as G. formosense. In their study of Taiwanese Galium Yang and Li (loc. cit. 1998; loc. cit. 1999) did not mention G. elegans nor compare G. formosense to it. This rather suggests that they were unaware of Cufodontis’s work than that they concluded the two species to be distinct. Similarly, Cufodontis (loc. cit.: 211-251), studying only mainland material, did not mention G. formosense, already described in 1934. The Taiwanese specimens at MO (studied by C. M. Taylor) appear to represent a distinct species but fall within G. elegans as more broadly circumscribed by Cufodontis (loc. cit.: 228-232). Thus, G. formosense is here provisionally separated and regarded as replacing G. elegans on Taiwan. In future studies, it will be of particular importance to clarify whether the dioecy or polygamodioecy found in G. elegans (see there) also occurs in G. formosense.