Salvia dianthera Roth
Shrub with an aromatic, camphor-like, odour. Stems woody and leafless below, up to 1 m, above leafy and with an indumentum of short dendroid hairs only. Leaves regularly ovate-oblong to elliptic, 5-11 x 1-3 cm, thickish-textured, very finely crenulate, cuneate, rounded or cordate, acute, rugulose on adaxial side; indumentum denser on abaxial side, whitish; petiole up to 12 mm; clusters of young leaves sometimes present in axils. Inflorescence spike-like, of distinct, clearly separated or almost so, verticillasters. Bracts equal to or shorter than calyces. Calyx in flower c. 2-3 mm, in fruit to c. 7 mm, with a dense indumentum of eglandular branched hairs; upper lip subentire; lower lip with 2, c.1-15 mm lobes. Corolla 6-7 mm, white or pale lilac, with spreading lobes; tube with a dense annulus. Stamens 2, exserted; thecae separated by a short connective, parallel; small staminodes usually present. Nutlets c. 1.8 x 1 mm, brown, not mucilaginous on wetting.
Type: India [without indication of locality or collector; from extant specimens collected by Roxburgh one could serve as lectotype].
Distribution: Ethiopia, NE Africa, Saudi Arabia, N. Yemen.
R. R. Stewart (l.c.) notes that it is sometimes grown in gardens on the plains; presumably as a culinary herb or for its aromatic fragrance. No specimens from our area have been seen.
The other member of the genus Meriandra strobilifera Benth., with dense 4-angled spikes, is recorded by Wali & Tiku (Bull. Bet. Surv. Ind. 6: 147. 1964) from the Lolab valley of Kashmir (NW of Srinagar). I have not seen the specimen, but the record seems to require confirmation as the species was previously known only from the areas of Simla and Kumaon.