Phlomis latifolia Royle ex Benth.
Perennial with a rather slender rootstock. Stems few, 20-50 (-100) cm, usually unbranched, with an indumentum of simple usually retrorse eglandular hairs, sometimes also with irregularly rayed branched hairs. Leaves ovate, herbaceous, aromatic; lamina 5-10 x 4-7 cm, ± regularly crenate, deeply cordate to truncate, above with short eglandular unbranched hairs, below with unbranched and irregularly rayed branched hairs; nervation inconspicuous; petiole 3-8 cm on lower leaves, less above. Verticillasters at least lower-most in axils of upper leaves, distant, c. 14-20-flowered, 2-4 (-5), 2.5-4 cm in
diameter. Bracts numerous, slightly shorter than calyces, herbaceous, ± adpressed to calyx, linear, acuminate to spinulose, fimbriate with long simple eglandular hairs only or also with irregularly rayed branched hairs. Calyx 10-12 mm, with a similar indumentum to bracts, sometimes glabrescent; teeth 3-4 mm, subulate to spinulose. Corolla rose, or pinkish purple or violet, 1.5-2 cm; upper lip falcate densely white-villous, inner margin white-bearded, laterally denticulate. Mature nutlets not seen.
Type: [India: Simla/Tehri Garwhal] Choor mountain and Kedarkonta, Boyle (LIV photo.!).
Distribution: E. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir to Nepal. (? - Soviet C. Asia).
This is a variable species in its indumentum, bract and calyx characters. Although Phlomis setigera Falconer ex Benth. (type locality: India, Utta Pradesh, Badrinath) has at various times been recorded from our area, I believe that these are misidentifications of Phlomis bracteosa. Phlomis setigera, sometimes regarded as a synonym of the essentially east Himalayan Phlomis macrophylla Wall. ex Benth., reputedly differs from Phlomis bracteosa in the harder stiffer bracts and its taller sturdier habit. From the available field notes Phlomis bracteosa appears to be a high altitude plant (from 3100 to 3700 m in Kashmir) of dry rocky slopes whereas Phlomis macrophylla (incl. Phlomis setigera) is a more mesophytic plant of forest habitats.
Two specimens from our area are apparently very anomalous in Phlomis bracteosa having some of the characters of Phlomis macrophylla/setigera: Swat: Jaba, large handsome shrub in forest, 2740 m, E. Nasir 3936 (E, RAW); Ilam, 2560 m, R. R. Stewart 24382 (RAW). In their large leaves they resemble Phlomis macrophylla/setigera but the small c. 12 mm corollas (of the Nasir specimen) are anomalous both for the latter and Phlomis bracteosa. Further gatherings are needed, as is a review of all the Himalayan taxa involved.