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Pakistan | Family List | Ranunculaceae

9. Aconitum L., Sp. Pl. 523. 1753. Gen. Pl.ed. 5.236.1754, Reich., Ubersicht der Gattung Aconitum, Grundzuge einer Monographic derselben. Regensburg 1819, Reich., Monogr. generis Aconiti, Fasc. 1-2.1820, Fasc. 3-4.1821, Reich., Illustratio spec. Aconitii genera addition is Delphinius quibusdam. 1823-1827, Hook.f. & Thoms. in Hook.f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 1:27.1872, Stapf in Ann. Roy. Bot. Garden Calc. X. 12:115-197. 1905, Rapaces in Nov. Bot. Kaslem. 6:137-176. 1907, Shteinberg in Komarov, Fl. URSS. 7:183-236.1937, Stewart, Ann. Catalogue Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 57. 1972, Riedl in Willdenowia. 8:317-328.1978, Lauener & Tamura in Notes Roy. Bot. Gard. Fdinb. 37:113 1978, Qureshi & Chaudhri in Pak. Syst. 4 (1-2):34.1988.


National Herbarium, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Aconitum laeve

Perennial or biennial herbs, often with stout leafy stem, bulbs or creeping rhizomes. Leaves mostly cauline, palmatisect or lobed, rarely undivided and dentate. Flowers in simple or branched racemes, rarely 1-2, zygomorphic. Pedicels 2-bracteolate. Sepals 5, petaloid, the upper one shaped l ike a helmet, the 2 lateral ones wider than the basal pair. Petals 2, with a long stipe and small hooded limb, nectariferous staminodes 3-8. Stamens many. Carpels 3-7, free. with many ovules. Follicles triquetrous, rarely oblong with winged or costate seeds.

The genus comprises of c. 300 species, widely distributed in the northern temperate zone and mountainous regions of the subtropics. Represented in Pakistan by about 7 species.

Doubtful Species

1. Aconitum swatense Tamura in Acta Phytotax. Geobot. 19:108, f.45.1963.

Sepals pale purple, glabrous. Pedicel up to 4.5 cm long.

Type: Described from Swat.

The photograph and description suggests it might be a variable form of Aconitum chasmanthum.

2. Aconitum swatense vars. kashmeriense and bracteatum Qureshi & Chaudhri in Pak. Syst. 3(1):5.1978.

The figure and description of var. kashmeriense suggest Aconitum violaceum and those of var. bracteatum, suggest Aconitum chasmanthum. Gatherings that may be attributed to Aconitum swatense var. kashmeriense but are typical Aconitum violaceum are: R.R. & I.D. Stewart 3467 from Sonamarg & Kashmir and R.R. Stewart et al. 1120 from Lowari Pass, Chitral.

1 Helmet of flowers longer than wide or ± as long as the abruptly widened base   1 Aconitum laeve
+ Helmet as wide as long, base not abruptly widened   (2)
2 (1) All or most of the leaves undivided sometimes deeply lobed, cordate with coarse teeth   2 Aconitum heterophyllum
+ All the leaves palmately partite for more than half their diameter, the uppermost sometimes bract-l ike   (3)
3 (2) Carpels usually 3(-4)   (4)
+ Carpels usually 5, rarely 4 or 6.   (5)
4 (3) Carpels glabrous   6 Aconitum soongaricum
+ Carpels with short strongly curved hairs   7 Aconitum curvipilum
5 (3) Plants slender, stem up to 30 cm tall. Lamina of leaf 2-3 cm broad. Claw of petal 12-15 mm long. Carpels generally densely hairy   (6)
+ Plants generally robust, 30-90 cm tall, leafy. Lamina 4-8 cm broad. Claw of petal 5-7 mm long. Carpels glabrous to pubescent   4 Aconitum chasmanthum
6 (5) Leaves divided for more than half into narrow linear-lanceolate lobes   3 Aconitum violaceum
+ Leaves divided for half or less than half into obovate or cuneate lobes, secondary lobes acute   5 Aconitum rotundifolium

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