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Chenopodium foliosum

Description from Flora of China

Morocarpus foliosus Moench, Methodus, 342. 1794, nom. illeg. superfl., based on Blitum virgatum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 4. 1753; Chenopodium blitum J. D. Hooker; C. virgatum (Linnaeus) Ambrosi (1857), not Thunberg (1815).

Herbs annual, 20-70 cm tall. Stem mostly branched from base; branches erect or oblique, light green, slender, glabrous. Leaf blade of lower leaves light green on both surfaces, narrowly triangular-ovate, 2-5 × 2-3 cm, equaling or longer than petiole, not or only slightly farinose, base cuneate, truncate, or hastate, margin irregularly dentate, apex acuminate; teeth near base slightly recurved; leaves gradually reduced on upper stem and branches, lanceolate or ovate-hastate, margin with 1-4 pairs of teeth bilaterally or entire. Flowers bisexual and female, borne on short, axillary branches, forming globose or cylindric-globose, linear arranged glomerules. Perianth light green, usually 3-parted, becoming red and succulent in fruit. Stamens 1-3. Style very short; stigmas 2, slightly divaricate. Utricle compressed globose; pericarp membranous, adnate to seed. Seed vertical, red-brown to black, sublustrous, ca. 1 mm in diam., rim margin obtuse or slightly concave; embryo semi-annular. Fl. Jun-Jul, fr. Aug-Sep.

The variable Chenopodium foliosum aggregate is represented in the mountains of C and SW Asia by several weakly differentiated and closely related races, which are often treated as separate species or at least as subspecies. Probably these entities are high-mountain subspecies or varieties of C. foliosum s.l. They include: (1) C. foliosum subsp. montanum Uotila (Ann. Bot. Fenn. 30: 190. 1993), reported from SW Asia eastward to Iraq and Iran; (2) C. korshinskyi (Litvinov) Minkwitz (in B. Fedtschenko, Rastit. Turkestana, 332. 1915; Blitum korshinskyi Litvinov, Trudy Bot. Muz. Imp. Akad. Nauk 7: 76. 1910), described from Tajikistan and reported from the Pamir-Alai and Karakoram mountains; and (3) C. litwinowii (Paulsen) Uotila (Ann. Bot. Fenn. 30: 190. 1993; Monolepis litwinowii Paulsen, Vidensk. Meddel. Dansk Naturhist. Foren. Kjøbenhavn 6(5): 187. 1903), described from the Pamir mountains and reported from the Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountains. Chenopodium foliosum s.str. has stem normally erect, branches spreading, and both rather stout; leaf blade of lower leaves longer than broad, margin dentate-serrate to uppermost bracts; fruiting glomerules at least 4 mm, usually red and succulent; seed 1–1.4 mm in diam.; C. korshinskyi has stem and branches ascending, slender; leaf blade of lower leaves as long as broad, margin entire but for basal lobes; fruiting glomerules 2–4 mm, dry; C. litwinowii has stem and branches prostrate or nearly so; leaf blade of lower leaves longer than broad, margin dentate-serrate (but on upper bracts entire but for a pair of basal lobes); seed 0.8–1.2 mm in diam. Several taxa of the C. foliosum aggregate could be expected to occur in China. However, the taxonomic status and distributional patterns of these entities remain rather problematic and, because of that, this group in China needs additional collecting and special taxonomic studies.

Forest margins, valleys, slopes. W Gansu, E and N Xinjiang [N Africa, C and SW Asia, Europe; occasionally naturalized in other regions].


 

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