Rubia scandens Tol. et Mor.
Perennial climbing herb. Stem divaricately branched, branches, rigid, quadrangular, glabrous or prickly-hispid, specially on the angles. Leaves (2-) 4 (-8) in a whorl, one pair of each whorl usually larger than the other with longer petioles, 1-10 x 2.1-6 cm, ovate-cordate, entire, acute, acuminate-cuspidate, cordate at base rarely rounded, 3-9 palmately veined, upper surface mostly glabrous and rough; petiole usually (0.5) 5-10 cm long, with sharp, recurved prickles; stipules absent or modified into leaves. Inflorescence of axillary and terminal paniculate cyme, trichotomously branched, few-many flowered; bracts ovate, 3-4.5 mm long, acute, foliaceous, sessile, in pairs. Flowers 3.5-4.5 mm in diameter, (4-) 5-merous, pedicel 3.4-5 mm, quadrangular. Calyx c. 1 mm long, globose, glabrous. Corolla greenish-white, tube ± absent, lobes (4-) 5, lanceolate, acute, c. 3-3.5 x 1-1.5 mm. Stamens 5, 0.5-0.75 mm, anthers oblong, basifixed. Styles 2, united at the base, c. 0.6 mm long; stigma globose. Fruit 4-5 x 3.5-5 mm, didymous or globose by suppression of one carpel, purplish black when ripe.
Fl. Per.: June-November.
Type: Habitat in Majorca, L. Gerard..
Distribution: Greece, N. Africa, Siberia, Manchuria, China, Japan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Sikkam, Nepal and Tibet.
In our area the variation in Rubio cordifolia L. is immense, especially in the length of petiole, indumentum, size of the leaf and the number of leaves per node. Usually several infraspecific taxes have been recognized. However, the splitting does not seem to be feasible as intermediates are not infrequent and variation seem to be more or less continuous. Nevertheless experimental taxonomic studies are needed to unravel the systematics of this species and its allies.
Rubia cordifolia L. is treated here in a broad sense. However, there are workers like tiara (in Fl. E. Himal. 315 & 652. 1966; in Hara & Williams, Enum. Fl. Pl. Nepal 2: 207. 1984) who believe that Rubia cordifolia L. (sen. str.), characterized by the red fruits, does not occur in our area. According to such workers, the correct name of our species is Rubia wallichiana Decene. (Recher Garance 61: 1837) which is characterized by smaller, whitish or grayish white flowers and blackish fruits.
Although the type is described from Majorca (Baleric Islands). However, this species is not recorded from these islands nor is there any material in any herbarium. It may be an error or the plant may have become extinct at an early date (Verdc. in Polhill, Fl. Trop. East Afr. (Rubiaceae-I) 381. 1976).