YASIN J. NASIR
Lithospermum lignosum Schweinf. ex Vatke
Perennial, decumbent or procumbent with a woody base, short and stout up to 15 mm thick at base. Leaves lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 5-55 x 2-16 mm, flat or t terete, hairy on both surfaces, margin revolute, longer hairs stiff, up to 2 mm long, arising from bulbous base. Inflorescence reduced, up to 20 mm long, bearing close set uniseriate flowers. Calyx persistent, 2-2.5 mm long, 5-partite into lanceolate lobes, hairy to the outside; hairs often stiff and arising from a bulbous base. Corolla white, c. 2.5-3 mm long; tube shortly cylindrical, hairy outside, glabrous within; lobes imbricate, 0.7-0.8 mm long, oblong to suborbicular, crenulate to t undulate. Anthers 1-1.2 mm long, elongate, broader at base, attached c. 1.1 mm from the corolla base, slightly furrowed and sometimes 2-fid at apex. Style shorter than stigma. Fruit globose, usually hairy when young; nutlets 4, brown, margin winged, back rugulose, sometimes with a membranous inflated back.
Fl. Per.: December-April.
Type: Arabia: Felix Lohaja, Forsskal (C).
Distribution: N. Africa, Arabia, Pakistan.
In the present work a broad view has been taken of A. bacciferum. The species is very variable in habit, leaf and fruit characters and in the past, several infraspecific taxa have been recognised (Kazmi, l.c. 161); The characters employed to separate the taxa are too relative and variable. For instance Kazmi (l.c.) distinguishes ssp. bacciferum from ssp. lignosum, in the nutlets being either broad or thin margined and their degree of separation at maturity; further Kazmi's recognition of 4 varieties is not satisfactory. The var. tuberculosum, although generally with narrower leaves, may in some cases exhibit leaves up to 10 mm broad (A. Rahman 25721; Sultanul Abedin 4251). From specimens seen of (Heliotropium tuberculosum), it appears that this taxon frequents coastal areas and is characterised by its short twisted stems and branches and small leaves. Insect galls are frequent on the branches. It is doubtful if the corky or membranous back of the nutlets (Jafri, 1966, p. 281) is of any taxonomic value. Hooker (l.c.) on the basis of this character described a new variety: Heliotropium undulatum var. suberosa. This corky nature occasion-ally occurs in M. crispum and to a varying degree in Heliotropium bacciferum (M. Salim 43). In the form of leaves and habit, as already pointed out by Kazmi (l.c. p. 164) the var. lignosum resembles var. tuberculosum and var. fartakense bears similarity; with var. bacciferum. In my view Heliotropium bacciferum has been too finely split into infraspecific forms. As already noted, intermediate forms occur which cannot with certaintly be ascribed to any particular taxon discussed above. The species is allied to Heliotropium crispum.