YASIN J. NASIR
Aconitum violaceum var. robustum Stapf
Stems 30-60(-90) cm tall leafy. Leaves ± regularly distributed, the upper leaves only slightly smaller than the lower ones. Racemes up to 30 cm long or longer. Sepals blue or white with blue veins, rarely pale purple, crisp-pubescent to glabrous, lateral ones suborbicular to nearly square, not contiguous with helmet. Claw of petals 5-7 mm. Filaments often almost glabrous, winged, wings not ending in tiny teeth. Carpels generally 5, straight, glabrous or with a few hairs along the back and near the style, sometimes hairy. Follicles oblong, 10-16 mm, tru ncate. Seeds with unequal wings.
Fl. Per.: August.
Type: N. Pakistan: Shandur Pass, c. 9600', Giles 637 (Lecto. K.!).
B-7 Chitral: Chitral, Hassandin 331 (RAW), Lowari top, R.R. Stewart, E. Nasir & M.A. Siddiqui 1444 (RAW), Swat: Azim & Shakeel s.n. (RAW), Hazara: Basal, 12th mile, M. Qaiser & Azmat Ali 5365 (KUH), id., Burawai Babusar, Sultanul Abedin & M. Qaiser 8975 (KUH), 7th mile, Sultanul Abedin & M. Qaiser 8976 (KUH), Gittidas, 10-8-1954, Shaukat Ali s.n. (RAW), B-8 Kashmir: Badwan, below Gurais, R.R. & I.D. Stewart 19262 (RAW), id., fruits pubescent, Jan Mohd. 166 (RAW), Keran-Sardar Kothi, R.R. & I.D. Stewart & E. Nasir 22013 a (RAW), Dungian, Sultanul Abedin & M. Qaiser 9221 (KUH), Baltistan: Baltistan, Aug. 1930, J. R. Graham s.n. (RAW).
Distribution: Swat and Chitral eastward to Kashmir, Nepal.
The species appears to be morphologically variable throughout its geographidal range. Several taxa have been described or confused with the other.
There does not appear to be any appreciable difference between Aconitum violaceum var. robustum Stapf and Aconitum chasmanthum. Both taxa have tall leafy stems with many blue flowers (i.e. sepals). The carpels in Aconitum chasmanthum are glabrous or nearly so, but, as in the former, may sometimes be h aving hairs (R.R. Stewart et al. 1444 from the Lowari top). The plant figured and described as Aconitum kurramenee Qureshi & Chaudhri, is certainly conspecific with Aconitum chasmanthum. The former is, according to the authors characterised by ± orbicular leaves and many blue flowers disposed in racemes. Several gathering of Aconitum chasmanthum also exhibit orbicular leaves (J.R. Graham’s collection from Baltistan in August. 1930 and R.R. & I.D. Stewart 19024 from Burzil, Kashmir). The taxon Aconitum chasmanthum subsp. baltistanicum Qureshi & Chaudhri is not appreciably distinct from the typical plant. Characters such as a long petiole, spreading leaflets, a long inflorescence and long pedicels can be met with in various combinations and degree in Aconitum chasmanthum. For instance R. R. Stewart 20014 from Deosai (Baltistan) and R.R. & I.D. Stewart 19024 from Burzil have long petioles (17-20 cm), unusually long racemes are sometimes met with in robust specimens: R.R. Stewart 18300 from Gadsar. Kashmir (raceme 25 cm long). The characters of spreading leaflets and long pedicels are not reliable diagnostic characters as described by the authors (op. cit.). Specimens typical of Aconitum chasmanthum but with spreading leaflets and long pedicels are: R.R. Stewart 20014 from the Deosai and Swiss Entomological collection s.n. in 20.7.1953 from the Kagan, the latter also has spreading leaflets.
Fairly common on alpine meadows from 2300-4300 m.