4. Rubia chitralensis Ehrendorfer, Nytt Mag. Bot. 3: 228. 1954.
高原茜草 gao yuan qian cao
Herbs, perennial, with woody rootstock; stems up to 50 cm tall, clustered, subterete to slightly winged, glabrous, smooth. Leaves in whorls of up to 6(or 7), sessile; blade drying membranous, lanceolate-ovate to lanceolate, (2-)4-5 × 0.7-1.5 cm, adaxially glabrous or sparsely antrorsely scaberulous, abaxially glabrous with midrib antrorsely aculeolate, margins retrorsely scaberulous, apex acute to acuminate; principal vein 1, lateral veins 2, weak. Inflorescences terminal, pyramidal, leaflike, with 1- to several-flowered cymes; peduncles glabrous, smooth; bracts elliptic to ovate, 6-7 mm; pedicels 2-6 mm. Ovary 1-2 mm, glabrous. Corolla yellowish green to whitish yellow, rotate, 6-7.5 mm in diam., fused basal part 0.5-0.7 mm; lobes lanceolate, ca. 3 mm, acuminate to incurved-mucronate, arista to ca. 0.8 mm. Mericarp berry black and shiny, 3.5-5 mm in diam., glabrous. Fl. Jun-Jul, fr. Jul-Oct.
Stony slopes in Juniperus and subalpine belt; ca. 2900[-4000] m. Xinjiang [Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan].
Rubia chitralensis is distantly related to other SW to C Asiatic but rather subshrubby taxa, as R. gedrosiaca Bornmüller, R. laxiflora Gontscharow, or R. tibetica. These taxa were placed by Pojarkova (Fl. URSS 23: 398-417. 1958) into several series of the heterogeneous R. sect. Campylanthera, distributed from C Asia to the Mediterranean.