51. Galium sungpanense Cufodontis, Oesterr. Bot. Z. 89: 238. 1940.
松潘拉拉藤 song pan la la teng
Herbs, perennial, slender, with tender rootstock. Stems procumbent or ascending, up to 30 cm, 4-angled, ± retrorsely aculeolate to somewhat hispidulous or smooth. Leaves in whorls of up to 5 or 6, sessile or narrowed to very short petiole; blade drying greenish brown and stiffly papery to subleathery, oblanceolate or narrowly elliptic-oblanceolate, 3.5-12(-15) × 1.5-3.5 mm, glabrous to ± hispidulous, sparsely to densely retrorsely aculeolate along margins and sometimes also on abaxial side of midrib, margins thinly revolute, apex acute and cuspidate; vein 1. Inflorescences with terminal and axillary cymes, 1-3-flowered with lanceolate bracts; peduncles up to 10 mm, glabrous and smooth; pedicels 2-7 mm, straight and elongating in fruit. Ovary obovoid, 0.5-0.8 mm, densely covered by undeveloped uncinate trichomes. Corolla pinkish or ± purplish, rotate, 1.1-1.5 mm in diam., glabrous; lobes 4, triangular, obtuse. Fruit with obovoid mericarps, ca. 2.5 mm, densely covered with spreading yellowish brown uncinate trichomes 0.4-0.8 mm. Fl. and fr. Jul-Sep.
● Thickets or meadows, often in shady places; higher elevations up to 3300 m. Hebei, Sichuan, Xinjiang.
The description of Galium sungpanense in FRPS (71(2): 233. 1999) includes some details that do not agree with the material seen and may have been based in part on specimens of other taxa. This has been corrected in the above description.
Galium sungpanense belongs to the throughout-perennial G. sect. Trachygalium s.l. and the G. asperifolium group (see there). It appears to link its montane (1) and alpine (2) subgroups and shares the few-flowered cymes with the latter. From G. baldensiforme and G. glabriusculum, both also with uncinate fruit hairs, it is separated by marginally stronger retrorsely aculeolate and partly longer leaves.
Remarkable are the close affinities between Galium sungpanense and members of the annual G. sect. Euaparine. The single decisive difference is the tender perennial (and possibly short-lived?) rootstock of G. sungpanense. Only its pinkish to purplish flowers and the never-curved fruiting pedicels allow the separation of plants collected without subterranean organs from the common G. spurium. This suggests that G. sect. Euaparine could have originated from G. sect. Trachygalium-like ancestors.