Nepeta podostachys* auctt. p.p.: Hedge & Lamond
Suffruticose perennial, aromatic, clump-forming. Stems erect or ascending, 15-40 cm, branched or not, with a sparse eglandular indumentum of short or long eglandular hairs or ± glabrous. Leaves green, concolorous, somewhat thick-textured, 10-20 x 8-15 mm, glabrous to pilose, oblong, oblong-ovate to oblong-triangular, broad truncate to subcordate, crenulate or crenate, rarely entire, acute; petiole 8-10 mm on lower leaves, or rarely all leaves sessile. Inflorescence a congested ovoid to oblong spike, usually distant from upper leaves. Calyx 5-7 mm, green or purplish, obtriangular tubular, pilose to ± villous with eglandular hairs or glandular-papillose; throat scarcely oblique; teeth subequal 1/2 to as long as calyx, ciliate, attenuate-subulate. Corolla white, cream or lilac-blue, 12-14 mm. Nutlets (e. Fl. Iran.) c. 1.2 x8 mm, ellipsoid, brown, smooth.
Holotype: [Afghanistan, Bamian, Kaloo] In regno Cabulico, Griffith (K!).
Distribution: Afghanistan, Pakistan.
Although no specimens have been seen from Pakistan which agree well with the description above, based on Afghan material, it is most probable that this species is in our area. An anomalous specimen is: D-4 Sibi, Ziarat,
2440 m, Lace 3404 (E). This has leaves which are almost all quite entire (a few are sub-crenulate); it had originally been determined as “Nepeta linearis var.?” It is very similar in leaf shape to a C. Afghanistan specimen of N. podostachys cited as such in Flora Ironica.
Nepeta podostachys is at the centre of a particularly difficult complex, concentrated in Afghanistan. In Pakistan, relatively little material of the complex (species 5-9) has been available for study and my decision to adopt a narrow species-concept, largely following Rechinger (l.c.), is based on the situation in Afghanistan where much material has been collected. Previous authors have sometimes recognized Nepeta podostachys as a most variable species and, reduced Nepeta subincisa and Nepeta paulsenii to synonymy within it. Better material from Pakistan and intensive field studies are much needed. The treatment followed here for the complex is provisional.
Rechinger (l.c.) considered that Nepeta podostachys was a tuberous rooted species and that it was a close ally of Nepeta raphanorhiza. But none of the specimens examined showed the kind of tuber that characterizes Nepeta raphanorhiza.