10. Galium chekiangense Ehrendorfer, Novon. 20: 270. 2010.
浙江拉拉藤 zhe jiang la la teng
Herbs, perennial, with thin rhizomes. Stems 2-4 from a common base, erect, usually unbranched, 20-30(-40) cm tall, with only 4 or 5 internodes from base to first inflorescence node, with 4 prominent, rounded, and whitish angles, glabrous and smooth except for short and stiff hairs at nodes. Leaves and leaflike stipules in whorls of 4, subsessile; blade drying somewhat leathery and light brownish green, broadly elliptic to ovate, (15-)23-30(-50) × (8-)11-15(-25) mm, length/ breadth index 2.5 or less, gradually narrowed into base, broadest near middle, gradually narrowed into apex, mostly shortly apiculate but without a hyaline point, glabrous except for antrorse microhairs (0.1-0.2 mm) along 3 main veins, mostly on lower but also on upper side and along slightly revolute margins, papillose on upper side under a strong lens (20×), lower side clearly marked by numerous darker and linear idioblasts. Inflorescences loosely thyrsoid and elongate, from uppermost 2 or 3 nodes, clearly longer than subtending leaves, cymes lateral and terminal, somewhat divaricate, 1-4 cm, with few and inconspicuous linear bracts and rather few flowered; peduncles 1-2 cm and pedicels 0.1-1 cm. Ovary obovoid, 0.8-1 mm. Corolla greenish white, rotate, ca. 3 mm in diam., glabrous; lobes 4, acuminate. Ripe mericarps ovoid, 1.5-2(-3) mm, densely covered by stiff and appressed to slightly divergent microhairs, 0.15-0.25 mm and with an acute and ± bent apex. Fl. Jul, fr. Aug.
● Lower montane forests; ca. 1400 m. Fujian, Zhejiang.
Specimens of Galium chekiangense from the province of Fujian were included and described in FRPS (71(2): 265. 1999) under the name of G. nakaii Kudô ex H. Hara (J. Jap. Bot. 9: 517. 1933). These Fujian vouchers were not available, but two fruiting specimens from the adjacent province of Zhejiang (formerly Chekiang: Xi ming shan) in the herbarium PE could be studied. They were determined as "G. kamtschaticum" and closely correspond to the description of G. nakaii in FRPS. These PE specimens deviate clearly from authentic Japanese specimens of G. nakaii as well as from G. kamtschaticum and G. oreganum Britton. This has justified the description of G. chekiangense as a new and endemic Chinese species and makes G. nakaii an endemic of Japan.
Galium chekiangense clearly belongs to G. sect. Platygalium s.l. (Ehrendorfer et al., Fl. Iranica 176: 175. 2005) and apparently is a member of the G. kamtschaticum species group, which includes the amphi-Beringian G. kamtschaticum (in China limited to elevations of 1500-2300 m in the NE provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin), the Japanese G. nakaii from Hokkaido and N Honshu, and the W North American G. oreganum. These three latter species differ from G. chekiangense by their leaf blades drying dark brownish (not light brownish green), thin, membranous and smooth, neither papillose above nor with glandular-striate idioblasts below, and by their ripe mericarps with much longer uncinate trichomes (0.8-1 mm, not 0.15-0.25 mm). In addition, G. nakaii has inflorescence cymes mostly shorter (not clearly longer) than the subtending leaves.
For further and more detailed studies of the Galium kamtschaticum group, one should refer to the wide circumscription of G. kamtschaticum (with three varieties) and the confused, partly contradictory description of the fruit indumentum of G. nakaii in Yamazaki (Fl. Japan 3a: 234-235. 1999).