46. Galium saurense Litvinov, Trudy Bot. Muz. Imp. Akad. Nauk. 7: 75. 1910.
狭序拉拉藤 xia xu la la teng
Galium densiflorum Ledebour var. saurense (Litvinov) Tzvelev.
Herbs, perennial, caespitose, with stout rootstock and slender, woody rhizomes. Stems erect or ascending, 8-30 cm tall, 4-angled and ± puberulent. Leaves in whorls of 4 in lower and of 6 in middle stem region, sessile; blade dark green adaxially, pale green abaxially, linear or linear-oblong, 7-15 × 0.5-2.5 mm, smooth or usually sparsely to densely scaberulous adaxially, usually densely hairy abaxially, base acute to cuneate, margins ± revolute, apex mucronate; vein 1. Inflorescences narrowly paniculate with axillary and terminal, 3-15-flowered cymes; peduncles bracteose, ± densely pubescent (rarely glabrescent), with 1-3 mm long pedicels. Ovary ellipsoid, ± puberulent. Corolla yellow, rotate, 3-4 mm in diam., lobed for 3/4 or more; lobes 4, ovate-oblong, acute. Mericarps ellipsoid, ca. 2 × 3 mm, ± densely puberulent (rarely glabrous or ± tuberculate). Fl. and fr. Jul-Aug.
Alpine and subalpine habitats. Qinghai, Xinjiang [Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia].
Galium saurense, a C Asiatic mountain taxon, belongs to G. sect. Galium and the extremely polymorphic Eurasiatic G. verum group. It refers to condensed alpine populations, in which the leaf whorls are reduced to 4-6 elements. The Kew Rubiaceae checklist (Govaerts et al., World Checkl. Rubiaceae; http://www.kew.org/wcsp/rubiaceae/; accessed on 15 Sep 2010) treats it as a synonym of G. verum subsp. verum, whereas Ehrendorfer et al. (Fl. Iranica 176: 199, 204. 2005) suggest to maintain its specific rank as long as the whole group has not been studied more intensively. In Pobedimova et al. (Fl. URSS 23: 368-369. 1958) G. saurense is reported i.a. from the Tien Shan in the border region of Kazakhstan and Xinjiang, but its description is in conflict with plate 21, figure 1, which rather corresponds to G. majmechense and G. consanguineum. W. C. Chen (in FRPS 71(2): 285. 1999) included G. saurense as a dubious species and suspected its occurrence in NW China. We have seen no authentic specimens, but vouchers from Xinjiang and Qinghai (and possibly other provinces) fit its description quite well. Nevertheless, their separation from G. verum s.s. is partly doubtful.