29. Galium kinuta Nakai & H. Hara, J. Jap. Bot. 9: 518. 1933.
显脉拉拉藤 xian mai la la teng
Galium boreale Linnaeus var. japonicum Maximowicz; G. japonicum (Maximowicz) Makino & Nakai (1908), not Makino (1895).
Herbs, perennial, erect, 20-60 cm tall. Stems with 4 thickened angles, glabrous and smooth, hispidulous only at nodes. Leaves in whorls of 4, subsessile or petiole to 2 mm; blade drying mostly somewhat leathery, remaining ± green, oblanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, sometimes even narrowly elliptic or ovate, 20-80 × 4-20 mm, length/breadth index (2-)3-5(-6), strigillose or hispidulous at least along veins to glabrescent, sparsely to densely punctate- to striate-glandular abaxially, base acute to rounded, margins flat to thinly revolute, antrorsely ciliolate to hispidulous, apex subacute to acute, but hardly concave and long acuminate; principal veins 3, palmate. Inflorescences paniculiform, to 25 × 15 cm, cymes in uppermost leaf axils and terminal, many flowered, lax and often somewhat divaricate; peduncles smooth and glabrous or hispidulous at nodes; bracts oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic, 1.5-3 mm; pedicels 1.5-3 mm. Ovary subglobose to obovoid, ca. 0.8 mm, smooth, glabrous. Corolla white to ± purplish, rotate, 2-2.5 mm in diam., glabrous; lobes 4, ovate, acuminate. Mericarps subglobose to obovoid, ca. 2.5 mm, glabrous and smooth. Fl. May-Jul, fr. Aug-Sep.
Mesic, generally rich forests on mountain slopes, rocks at watersides, open grasslands, meadows; 500-2100 m. Gansu, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Liaoning, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang [Japan, Korea].
Galium kinuta, described from Japan, was first reported for China by Cufodontis (Oesterr. Bot. Z. 89: 223-224. 1940). Nevertheless, the more numerous samples now available suggest certain differences: in Chinese specimens the leaves are more leathery (not paperlike) when dry, abaxially more markedly punctate-striate-glandular (not inconspicuously so), and apically ± acute (but hardly concave and long attenuate). It is still uncertain whether these differences merit taxonomic separation of the Japanese and Chinese populations. Another critical aspect is the occurrence of specimens intermediate between Chinese G. kinuta and local G. boreale s.l., as observed, e.g., from Henan, Shaanxi, and Shanxi. Local studies will have to show whether this is due to hybridization and whether it is linked to the extreme variability of G. kinuta in leaf shape, ranging from narrowly lanceolate to ovate.
Galium kinuta may be related to the still badly understood G. hupehense (see there). Similarities also exist with G. platygalium, which differs by funnelform corollas. Galium hoffmeisteri (= G. japonicum Makino (1895)) and G. kinuta (= G. japonicum (Maximowicz) Makino & Nakai (1908)) have been widely confused because of similar habit and name confusion.