28. Galium karataviense (Pavlov) Pobedimova, Novosti Sist. Vyssh. Rast. 7: 278. 1971.
喀喇套拉拉藤 ka la tao la la teng
Asperula karataviensis Pavlov, Vestn. Akad. Nauk Kazakhsk. S.S.R. 4: 95. 1951; A. aparine M. Bieberstein, s.l.; A. rivalis Sibthorp & Smith, s.l.; Galium rivale (Sibthorp & Smith) Grisebach, s.l.
Herbs, perennial, procumbent and often matted or lodged, from slender, reddish brown rhizomes. Stems 0.6-1.2 m, much branched, densely retrorsely aculeolate on 4 angles. Leaves in whorls of 6-10, sessile or subsessile; blade drying papery or somewhat leathery and ± glossy, narrowly (ob)lanceolate or narrowly elliptic, (6-)15-25(-50) × (2-)2.5-4(-8) mm, glabrescent, both surfaces sparsely to densely aculeolate on midrib, base acute to cuneate, margins flat to narrowly revolute, densely retrorsely aculeolate, apex acute and shortly mucronate; vein 1. Inflorescences terminal and axillary, to 12 × 9 cm, with several- to many-flowered cymes; peduncles elongating as inflorescences develop, becoming much longer than subtending leaves; axes glabrescent, sparsely to densely retrorsely aculeolate; bracts elliptic or oblong-lanceolate, 1.5-3 × 0.5-1 mm; pedicels 1-3 mm. Ovary ellipsoid to obovoid, 0.5-0.8 mm, glabrous. Corolla bluish to violet (rarely white?), shortly funnelform, 1.5-2.5 mm, tube 1-1.5 × as long as lobes; lobes 4, triangular-spatulate. Mericarps subglobose to ellipsoid, 1.5-2 × 1.7-2 mm, glabrous, smooth or often tuberculate. Fl. and fr. Jun-Sep.
Humid forests, riversides, beaches, wet grasslands; 700-3300 m. Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang [C Asia].
Galium karataviense was treated in FRPS (71(2): 280. 1999) as G. rivale. In a wider sense the latter name and its synonyms apply to a polymorphic polyploid complex (2x, 4x, 6x), ranging from NE, E, and SE Europe to SW and C Asia. Because of its funnelform corollas this group formerly was treated as part of the genus Asperula, either as A. aparine or as A. rivalis (e.g., in Pobedimova et al., Fl. URSS 23: 275. 1958). More recently, morphological analyses (see Ehrendorfer et al., Fl. Iranica 176: 188. 2005) and DNA-data have clearly shown that it is closely related to G. uliginosum in G. sect. Trachygalium. Similarities with the annual G. sect. Euaparine are homoplasies.
In former treatments (e.g., Fl. Europaea 4: 20. 1976) Galium rivale was circumscribed in a wide sense. On the basis of differences in floral (relative length of corolla tube and lobes, color), fruit (mericarp epidermis with rounded or acute cells), and other characters, several still insufficiently understood microspecies have been suggested (Pobedimova et al., loc. cit.: 327, under Asperula; Ehrendorfer & Schönbeck, Pl. Syst. Evol. 174: 200-202. 1991, under G. anguineum; Ehrendorfer et al., loc. cit., under G. pseudorivale Tzvelev). Accordingly, among the vicarious microspecies of G. rivale s.l., G. anguineum Ehrendorfer & Schönbeck-Temesy from Iraq and Iran, with white corollas and divaricate fruiting axes, is replaced toward the east in C Asia by G. karataviense, with bluish to violet corollas and more convergent fruiting axes. Further studies will have to demonstrate whether species status is really justified for all these taxa and how they correspond to the different cytotypes encountered in this polyploid complex.