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Pakistan | Family List | Rubiaceae

9. Rubia L., Sp. Pl. 109. 1753. Gen. Pl. ed. 5: 44. 1754; Benth., & Hook. f., Gen. Pl. 2: 149. 1873; Hook. f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 3: 202. 1881; Schum. in Engler. & Prantl, Ptlanzenfam. 4(4): 153. 1891; Cooke, Fl. Pres. Bomb. 1: 625. 1903 Ehrend. in Kole & Rech f., Symb. Afgh. 4: 134. 1958.


Rubia cordifolia

Credit: M. Rafiq

Herbs, mostly rigid, erect or climbing. Stem and branches diffuse, quadrangular. Leaves (2-) 4-10 in a whorl, cordate, lanceolate or obovate, rarely linear. Inflorescence of axillary and terminal cymes or panicles. Flowers small. Calyx-tube ovoid or globose, enclosing the ovary and adherent to it, lobes obsolete. Corolla subcampanulate or rotate; lobes 5, valvate. Stamens 5, included in the corolla-tube, rarely 4 or 6, filaments very short, anthers somewhat exserted. Disc annular. Ovary bilocular or 1-locator by abortion; styles 2 or bifid; stigma capitate; ovules solitary in each locule, attached near the base of septum. Fruit a berry, didymous or globose by suppression of one carpel, fleshy; seeds suberect, adhering to the pericarp, testa membranous.

A genus of c. 60 species, distributed in South Africa and temperate Asia; represented in Pakistan by 7 species.

Doubtful species

Rubia dolichophylla Schrenk in Bull. Phys. Math. Acad. Peterb. 2: 115. 1844; Pojark, l.c. 404; Ehrend., l.c. 139.

Plant perennial, herbaceous. Stem and branches retrorsely aculeolate or scabrid. Leaves 4(-6) in a whorl, coriaceous, narrowly lanceolate, margin retrorsely scabrid. Cymes axillary, longer than leaves, many-flowered.

Type: Described from Soongaria.

A-7 Chitral: Mastuj, Yarkhun Vy., Kerstan 2050 (not seen).

Distribution: Russia (Soongaria) and Pakistan.

Ehrendorfer, l.c. 139 has recorded this species and cited the only specimen Kerstan 2050 from Chitral-Pakistan. We have not come across any specimen of this axon. However, the identity of this taxon seems to be doubtful as Ehrendorfer mentioned himself 2-opposite leaves in the above mentioned specimen, a character usually found in Rubia tibetica Hook. f., whereas in Rubia dolichophylla Schrenk, the leaves are always 4-(6) in a whorl.

Excluded species

Rubia gedrosiaca Bornm. in Beih. Bet. Centr. 59. B. 297. 1939; Ehrend., l.c. 139; R.R. Stewart, l.c. 689.

R. R. Stewart, l.c. included this species on the authority of Ehrendorfer (P.C.) who mentions its distribution in his specific key in Baluchistan and Afghanistan, but he neither gave any definite locality nor cited any specimen from our area. We have also failed to collect or find any specimen from Pakistan.

1 Leaves distinctly petiolate, palmately 3-9 nerved, rounded-cordate at the base   1 Rubia cordifolia
+ Leaves sessile or subsessile, pinnately nerved or lateral nerves obscure, not rounded or cordate at the base   (2)
2 (1) Lamina linear to linear-lanceolate. Corolla infundibuliform   (3)
+ Lamina elliptic, ovate or obovate. Corolla campanulate-rotate   (4)
3 (2) Whole plant glabrous; angles of the stem and margin of the leaves smooth. Corolla glabrous, tube c. 2 mm long. Anthers included   3 Rubia kurramensis
+ Whole plant not glabrous, stem and leaves hairy, rough or scabridulous, angles of the stem and margins of the leaves minutely scabrid. Corolla hairy, 1.25-1.50 mm. Anthers exserted   2 Rubia infundibularis
4 (2) Leaves shortly petioled. Anthers oblong-linear oblong.   (5)
+ Leaves sessile. Anthers reniform or ovate   (6)
5 (4) Leaves elliptic ovate or obovate, apex rounded, subacute or apiculate; petiole 3-9 mm long   4 Rubia himalayensis
+ Leaves elliptic or elliptic lanceolate, apex acute or acuminate; petiole 2-3 mm long   5 Rubia tinctorum
6 (4) Stem glabrous, smooth, ± circular in T.S. Leaves 5-7 in a whorl, basally ± obscurely trinerved   5 Rubia chitralensis
+ Stem scabrous, quadrangular in T.S. Leaves up to 4 in a whorl, basally uninerved   7 Rubia tibetica

Lower Taxa

Related Synonym(s):


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