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Published In: Species Plantarum 2: 570. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
Contributor Text: I.C. Hedge
General/Distribution: Over 200 species mainly in Eurasia. The largest labiate genus by far in Pakistan, with a mixture of some very clear-cut species and others extremely polymorphic. Many of the difficulties of classification stem from the paucity of reliable characters. To mention only two, indumentum and calyx teeth can vary greatly within an individual species. One of the few characters that seems reliable is nutlet size, shape, surface texture and areole length. Male-sterile flowers occur in a number of species; hybridization and introgression probably also play a role in the complexities of classification. Some species have far from adequate types. Many outstanding problems still remain among the Pakistan species and an improvement on the existing classification will have to be preceded by detailed studies in the field; and collation with the taxonomic situation in adjacent areas. Kashmir is an area where field studies are particularly needed; about half of the species in this account grow there.
Comment/Acknowledgements: It is almost impossible to formulate a truly satisfactory and practical key to the species; inevitably some of the contrasts in the couplets are not clearcut.

Species of doubtful status or doubtfully in our area

Nepeta ciliaris Wall. ex Benth. in Wall. [Cat. 2082. 1829], Pl. As. Rar. 1: 64. 1830; Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 619. 1972.

This is a problematical species nomenclaturally and taxonomically. The specimen of Wallich Cat. No. 2082 (collected by Royle) at Kew seems not to agree with the original description of Nepeta ciliaris and in my opinion is Nepeta distans. The name Nepeta cilians has generally been applied to plants related to Nepeta leucophylla Benth. and also to Nepeta hindostana, but I have not seen any specimens of it from Pakistan.

Nepeta glomerulosa Boiss., Diagn. Pl. Or. Nov. Set. 1, 5: 21. 1844; Mukerjee in Rec. Sot. Surv. Ind. 14, 1: 130. 1940; Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 621. 1972.

Plants from Pakistan so-named are better identified as Nepeta juncea (q.v.), but they are part of a difficult complex stretching west to Iran. Nepeta glomerulosa is the earliest specific epithet.

Nepeta leucophylla Benth., Lab. Gen. et Sp. 476. 1834; Kitamura, Pl. W. Pak. & Afghan. 128. 1964; Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 623. 1972.

I have seen no Pakistan specimens which match this more eastern mainly Himalayan species. It is a close ally of Nepeta ciliaris.

Nepeta micrantha Bunge in Ledeb., Fl. Alt. 2: 401. 1830; Hedge & Lamond in Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Edinb. 28: 118. 1968; Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 623. 1972.

The record of this annual in Pakistan seems to stem from Boissier (Fl. Orient. 4: 664. 1879) who cites Stocks 1023 from Baluchistan. The specimen of this number at Kew is Drepanocaryum sewerzowii (Regel) Pojark. Nepeta micrantha is mainly a C. Asiatic species.

Nepeta multicaulis S.K. Mukerjee in Journ. Ind. Bot. Soc. 19: 86, f. 6. 1940.

The description, drawing and type locality (Baltistan, Saltaro) suggest that this is a form of Dracocephatum stamineum , q.v., in which the stamens are not exserted. The type (Hunter-Weston, herb. Debra Dun 10266) has not been seen.

Nepeta spathulifera Benth. in DC., Prodr. 12: 380. 1848; Mukerjee in Rec. Bot. Surv. Ind. 14, 1: 126. 1940.

Mukerjee (l.c.) indicated this species from Baluchistan without giving details. Rechinger (Fl. Iran. 150: 200. 1982), for the external distribution of this Afghan-Pamir Alai annual, gave "Pakistan/Gilgit"; this possibly stems from his giving Nepeta gilesii, described from Gilgit, as a synonym of Nepeta spathulifera. In this account Nepeta gilesii is given as a synonym of Nepeta floccose.


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Annual or perennial often aromatic herbs of varied habit and indumentum; hairs usually simple, rarely branched. Leaves simple, rarely pinnatisect, with entire, crenate or serrate margins, sessile or petiolate. Inflorescence of verticillasters, distant or crowded into spike-like or ovoid heads, or lax pedunculate cynics, borne in axils of upper leaves or not. Bracts shorter to longer than calyces. Flowers hermaphrodite or male-sterile. Calyx ± clearly 15-veined or ribbed, ± tubular, bilabiate, little changed in fruit, straight or curved; upper lip 3-dentate, lower 2-dentate, rarely both lips entire; tube glabrous within or pilose at throat; throat straight to strongly oblique. Corolla blue, violet, pink, yellow or white, bilabiate; tube straight or curved, included in or exserted from calyx; upper and lower lips relatively short. Stamens 4, didynamous, posterior pair longer than anterior; thecae usually diverging at an angle of 180°. Style unequally bibbed. Nutlets ellipsoid to obovoid, apically rounded, smooth or variously tuberculate, mucilaginous on wetting or not; areole (attachment scar) bibbed, of varied length.

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1 Annuals (2)
+ Perennials (9)
2 (1) Leaves undivided (3)
+ Leaves bipinnatisect 48 Nepeta annua
3 (2) Inflorescence of clearly separated verticillasters or of lax pedunculate cymes (4)
+ Inflorescence of terminal ovoid heads (7)
4 (3) Verticiilasters borne in axis of leaves or bract-like upper leaves, ± sessile (7)
+ Cymes pedunculate with clearly pedicellate flowers (6)
5 Cauline leaves linear, upper spreading and recurved
+ Cauline leaves ovate to elliptic, upper spreading 46 Nepeta pungens
6 (4) Calyx 3.5-4 mm; nutlets inconspicuously depressed-tuberculate; peduncles not filiform 34 Nepeta hindostana
+ Calyx c. 4.5 mm; nutlets clearly depressed-tuberculate; peduncles filiform 33 Nepeta graciliflora
7 (3) Indumentum of short hairs; nutlets smooth, shiny, with a small basal areole (8)
+ Indumentum dense, of long white villous hairs; nutlets verrucose with a long U-V-shaped areole 47 Nepeta eriosphaera
8 (7) Leaves ovate to rhombic; stems with only eglandular retrorse hairs 43 Nepeta bracteata
+ Leaves linear-elliptic; stems with some papillose glandular hairs 44 Nepeta daenensis
9 (1) All cauline leaves sessile, amplexicaul or not, or lowest stem leaves with a short, up to 3 mm petiole (10)
+ At least the lower leaves clearly petiolate with a petiole more than 4 mm (18)
10 (9) Plants with a dense all-over indumentum of long and short capitate glandular hairs (11)
+ Plants not as above, glabrous, eglandular pilose or vinous, or with glandular papillae (12)
11 (10) Leaves deeply serrate-incised 2 Nepeta glutinosa
+ Leaves crenate 3 Nepeta adenophyta
12 (10) Verticillasters forming elongated spikes not as above (13)
+ Verticillasters crowded in ails of uppermost, often lilac-blue, leaves 14 Nepeta coerulescens
13 (12) Leaves with entire or finely serrulate margins, linear to linear-elliptic; indumentum sparse or subabsent without glandular papillae (14)
+ Leaves pectinate-serrate, narrow or broad elliptic; indumentum of plant ± dense, villous, with or without glandular papillae 8 Nepeta elliptica
14 (13) Calyx 10 mm or less; corolla 12-15 mm; pedicel absent to 2 mm (15)
+ Calyx 11-16 mm; corolla 20-25 mm; pedicel up to 12 mm 13 Nepeta connata
15 (14) Leaves 20-90 mm long; calyx 6-10 mm [NW Pakistan, Kashmir] (16)
+ Leaves up to 20 mm long; calyx 5-7 mm [Quetta] 5 Nepeta podostachys
16 (15) Leaves linear-lanceolate to linear-elliptic, up to 10 mm wide; rootstock not as above (17)
+ Leaves linear 1.5-5 mm wide; root- stock tuberous or fusiform 17 Nepeta linearis
17 (16) Spike shorter than that of N. campestris, congested not interrupted near the base; leaves linear-lanceolate or linear-elliptic, up to 80 x 10 mm 11 Nepeta nervosa
+ Spike longer and slender than that of N. nervosa, often interrupted near the base; leaves oblong-lanceolate, c. 25-50 x 12-20 mm 12 Nepeta campestris
18 (9) Calyx with distinct teeth (19)
+ Calyx with entire upper and lower rounded lobes 42 Nepeta suavis
19 (18) Stems with an indumentum of distinct numerous stellate-dendroid hairs (20)
+ Stems without or with few indistinct furcate or branched hairs (strong magnification needed) (21)
20 (19) Inflorescence of mostly solitary terminal ovoid heads; calyx with pilose or villous simple hairs 22 Nepeta kokanica
+ Inflorescence of several ± distant verticillasters borne in axils of leaves or leaf-like bracts; calyx with a dense stellate-dendroid indumentum 28 Nepeta leucolaena
21 (19) Inflorescence of loose pedunculate cymes with clearly pedicellate flowers (22)
+ Inflorescence of ± condensed pedunculate cymes, of distant verticillasters, ovoid heads or spikes (25)
22 (21) Nutlets with a prominent U- or V-shaped areole extending c. 2/3 nutlet length (23)
+ Areole of nutlet c. 1/3 or less the nutlet length (24)
23 (22) Leaves c. 7-10 x 7-10 mm, serrulate; peduncles up to 20 mm [NW Pakistan: Chitral] 36 Nepeta brachyantha
+ Leaves up to 25 x 25 mm, crenate-dentate; peduncles up to c. 10 mm [W Pakistan)
24 (22) Calyx c. 4.5 mm; nutlets clearly depressed-tuberculate; peduncles filiform 33 Nepeta graciliflora
+ Calyx 3.5-4 mm; nutlets inconspicuously depressed-tuberculate; peduncles not filiform 34 Nepeta hindostana
25 (21) Corolla 20-25 mm long (26)
+ Corolla 6-17 mm long (29)
26 (25) Larger leaves 4-11 cm long (27)
+ Larger leaves 15-3 cm long (28)
27 (26) Corolla yellowish, c. 25 mm long 18 Nepeta govaniana
+ Corolla mauve to deep violet-blue, 20-25 mm long 19 Nepeta erecta
28 (26) Indumentum on inflorescence vinous, with flat eglandular multicellular hairs; stems ± uniformly leafy 24 Nepeta glechomifolia
+ Indumentum on inflorescence sparse, of short eglandular or glandular hairs; leaves mostly on lower part of stem 38 Nepeta pinetorum
29 (25) Verticillasters ± clearly separated from each other or uppermost loosely con-gested (30)
+ Verticillasters forming ± continuous spikes or ovoid heads, sometimes lowermost verticillasters distant (37)
30 (29) Corolla c. 15 mm or more (31)
+ Corolla less than 10 mm (32)
31 (30) Stems erect, ± sturdy throughout; bracts linear 1/2 as long as to as long as calyces 20 Nepeta clarkei
+ Stems erect-ascending, slender in region of inflorescence; bracts subulate, 2-4 mm 38 Nepeta pinetorum
32 (30) Inflorescence paniculate (33)
+ Inflorescence unbranched or lower verti-cillasters shortly pedunculate, not panicu-late (34)
33 (32) Basal and lower leaves triangular-ovate with a greyish indumentum; peduncles not horizontally spreading 27 Nepeta cataria
+ Basal leaves suborbicular-ovate, white tomentose to lanate; cymes mostly on horizontally spreading peduncles 25 Nepeta floccosa
34 (32) Inflorescence of ± globose densely white-lanate-villose verticillasters; stems procumbent-ascending; nutlets with a U-V-shaped areole c. 3/4 length of nutlet 37 Nepeta lagopsis
+ Inflorescence not lanate-villose; stems erect; areole c. 1/3 length of nutlet (35)
35 (34) Bracts c. 1/3 length of calyx; calyx often purplish 41 Nepeta rugosa
+ Bracts 1/3 to as long as calyx; calyx pale green or straw-coloured (36)
36 (35) Leaves ovate-triangular, ± as long as broad; verticillasters up to c. 15 mm diameter in fruit 39 Nepeta praetervisa
+ Leaves oblong to oblong-ovate, longer than broad; verticillasters up to 10 mm in fruit 40 Nepeta juncea
37 (29) Rootstock not tuberous (38)
+ Rootstock with a distinct tuber 8-20 mm in diameter [leaves green, broad triangular-ovate, 5-20 x 5-15 mm; calyx teeth subequal] 4 Nepeta raphanorhiza
38 (37) Scree plants with scale-like leaves on rootstock (39)
+ Not scree plants; without scalelike leaves on rootstock (40)
39 (38) Leaves cordate, margins crenulate; bracts ± equal to calyces 26 Nepeta kurramensis
+ Leaves cuneate, margins deeply incised with obtuse round lobes; at least some bracts as long as or longer than flowers 1 Nepeta longibracteata
40 (38) Leaves markedly discolorous or grayish white canescent (41)
+ Leaves ± green on both surfaces (46)
41 (40) Leaves discolorous; all hairs unbranched (42)
+ Leaves densely adpressed canescent with at least some branched hairs (strong magnification needed) 22 Nepeta kokanica
42 (41) Nutlets smooth; outer bracts elliptic to obtrullate (43)
+ Nutlets tuberculate; outer bracts ± linear (44)
43 (42) Leaves up to 30 (-45) x 20 (-30) mm; corolla up to 17 mm 15 Nepeta eriostachys
+ Leaves c. 7-20 x 7-12 mm; corolla c. 12 mm 16 Nepeta discolor
44 (42) Calyx 9-10 mm; leaf apices obtuse 31 Nepeta schmidii
+ Calyx 6.5-8 mm; leaf apices ± acute (45)
45 (44) Perennial herb, 30-50 cm, leaves broadly ovate to triangular-ovate, 15-35 x 10-30 mm; inflorescence of numerous sessile or shortly pedunculate, many-flowered congested cymes forming an elongated or short spike interrupted below 29 Nepeta griffithii
+ Dwarf suffruticose herb, c. 10 cm high, leaves c. 15 x 18 mm, cordate-reniform; verticillasters condensed into a ± loose head or spike 30 Nepeta amicorum
46 (40) Vertillasters crowded in axils of uppermost often lilac-blue leaves; lowermost leaves with a short petiole to 4 mm, all other leaves sessile 14 Nepeta coerulescens
+ Verticillasters not as above; lowermost leaves with petioles of 6 mm or more (47)
47 (46) Inflorescence a terminal ovoid head (48)
+ Inflorescence an elongated oblong-cylindrical spike (50)
48 (47) Leaves serrate, acute 21 Nepeta paucifolia
+ leaves crenate, apically rounded or obtuse (49)
49 (48) Plants aromatic, stem erect, c. 30 cm; leaves triangular-ovate, indumentum of simple hairs; inflorescence of 2-3 con-densed or separated verticillasters 23 Nepeta grata
+ Plants not aromatic, suffruticose, clump-forming, stems 15-30 cm; leaves ± broadly ovate, flabelliform or trullate, indumentum of simple or branched hairs; inflorescence of terminal congested ovoid heads, or sometimes with a distinct lower verticillaster 22 Nepeta kokanica
50 (47) Outer bracts at base of spikes ovate-lanceolate, often coloured (51)
+ Outer bracts at base of spikes narrow lanceolate to linear (52)
51 (50) Leaves ± broad-ovate, 12-20 x 10-15 mm, with a rather dense short indumentum of retrorse hairs 32 Nepeta distans
+ Leaves triangular-ovate to elliptic, 30-60 x 20-30 mm, usually glabrous to minutely pilose 10 Nepeta laevigata
52 (50) Leaf margin serrate to subpectinate 7 Nepeta subincisa
+ Leaf margin crenate to crenulate (53)
53 (52) Leaves linear-elliptic to elliptic, rarely with some leaves ternately pinnatisect; clusters of young leaves present in leaf axils 9 Nepeta paulsenii
+ Leaves oblong-ovate to oblong-triangular, simple; usually without clusters of young leaves in leaf axils (54)
54 (53) Leaves 20-40 x 15-25 mm, villous; inflorescence ± white villous 6 Nepeta pubescens
+ Leaves 10-20 x 8-15 mm, glabrous to pilose; inflorescence ± glabrous 5 Nepeta podostachys

Lower Taxa
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