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Heracleum L.
Mark F. Watson
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Perennial herbs. Leaves 1–3 x pinnately or ternately divided, leaflets often lobed. Umbels compound, rays usually numerous, bracts absent, few, usually deciduous; bracteoles usually linear and deciduous, sometimes persistent. Calyx teeth small or obsolete. Petals obovate, emarginate or 2-lobed, outermost ones often longer and radiant. Fruit ellipsoid or orbicular, dorsally much compressed, dorsal ridges somewhat inconspicuous, with one or more dark lines (vittae) between each pair extending from top to below middle of mericarp, lateral ridges broadly winged; strengthening cells continuous about seed cavity and under ribs. 

Note: The himalayan species are sometimes poorly defined and intermediate specimens are not uncommon. It is very probable that this is the result of hybridisation, a feature well documented for this genus elsewhere. 

Key to species
1 Leaves white tomentose beneath; leaflets rounded to sub-orbicular, obtuse H. obtusifolium
+ Leaves pubescent but not white tomentose beneath; leaflets subacute, acute or acuminate 2
2 Leaves moderately to densely covered in coarse hairs; flowers yellow H. bhutanicum
+ Leaves hairy but not with coarse white hairs; flowers white 3
3 Plants slender, erect to ascending, <8Ocm tall 4
+ Plants stout, erect, usually >1m tall 5
4 Petals of outer flowers greatly expanded; leaflets of middle and upper leaves linear usually <0.8mm wide, glabrous above excepting the midrib, sparsely pubescent below concentrated on the main veins  H. sublineare
+ Radiant petals not so greatly expanded; leaflets of middle and upper leaves ovate-lanceolate usually >0.8mm wide, moderately hairy above and below H. wallichii
5 Stems with coarse white hairs; calyx teeth absent; vittae on outer face extending just below the middle of the main body of the fruit H. sphondylium agg.
+ Stems finely hairy but without coarse white hairs; calyx teeth present; vittae on outer face extending the whole length of the main body of the fruit 6
6 Flowers white; main umbels >30-rayed, distinctly overtopped by a pair of subtending secondary lateral umbels H. nepalense
+ Flowers yellowish-green; main umbels <25-rayed, not overtopped by the solitary subtending lateral umbel H. woodii

Heracleum obtusifolium DC.
    Tetrataenium obtusifolium (DC.) Mandenova
Vernacular Name: Trucha, Tukar (Medicinal Names). 

Erect stout biennial? 30–150cm tall from a stout woody rootstock, plant finely pubescent, stem base surrounded by leaf remains. Leaves ternate or pinnate with 5 leaflets 10–45 x 5–25cm (including petiole); leaflets broadly ovate to suborbicular, 2.5–9.5 x 2–6cm, petiolulate, often 3-lobed, apex rounded, base obtuse to truncate, margin crenate to bluntly serrate, thinly pubescent above, densely white tomentose beneath; petioles 4–30cm, broadly sheathing in upper leaves. Umbels 3–5cm across, (12-)16–40-rayed; rays 2–5cm in flower extending to 10cm in fruit, unequal; bracts 3–4, lanceolate, 0.5–2cm, falling early; umbellules 1–1.5cm across, 16–25-flowered; pedicels 3–6mm in flower extending to 15mm in fruit; bracteoles 4–7, linear-lanceolate, 3–8mm. Calyx teeth triangular-acuminate, to 1mm unequal. Petals white to pinkish, the outer ones radiant to 6 x 7mm. Fruit obovoid, 8–10 x 5–7mm, 4 lines of vittae on outer face, 2 lines on inner face, minutely pubescent when young becomming glabrous at maturity. 

Bhutan: C—Thimphu district (Chapcha, Chelai La [pers. comm.], Confluence, Paro Dzong, Pumo La [pers. comm.] Thimphu) and Punakha district (Lobesa to Mendegong); N—Upper Mo Chu district (Zambuthang), Upper Pho Chu district (Lhedi) and Upper Bumthang Chu district (Pangotang).
Sikkim: Chamgong, Lachen. 

Ecology: Locally frequent on well-grazed short pasture in dry areas, 1500–4600m. Flowers April–September. 

Specimen List [6850]

Note: The relationship between this species and the more western Himalyan H. candicans DC. needs further study. The former has more rounded leaflets with crenate margins, the latter acute leaflets with serrate-dentate margin and slightly larger fruits (to 14 x 8mm). The depth of the divisions and separation of the leaflets used by some authors does not seem to hold. Two specimens from Chumbi (Champitang to Yatung, Chumbi) maybe H. candicans but are insufficient for a firm determination. 

Heracleum bhutanicum M.F.Watson

Erect to decumbent, branched perennial 35-100cm tall; stems moderately to sparsely covered in coarse, whitish, patent hairs, densest around the nodes. Leaves 1–2-pinnate, ovate-triangular in outline; ultimate segments ovate-lanceolate to narrowly ovate, 0.4–2.5 x 0.7–6.5cm, margins serrate, apex acute to acuminate, base cuneate, moderately to densely covered in coarse hairs; petiole 1.5–11cm, hairy, narrowly sheathing at base, sheath with two lanceolate lobes at the apex. Umbels lateral, (6-)8–12-rayed; rays to 6cm, unequal, thickening in fruit, with scattered hairs; umbellules 12–20-flowered, 6–9mm across; pedicels to 13mm in fruit; bracteoles 3–4, lanceolate, to 5 x 1mm. Calyx teeth obsolete. Petals yellow, c 1 x 0.7mm, obovate with inflexed tip. Styles short. Fruits rounded to broadly elliptic, 5–10 x 5–8mm, wing 1.5–2mm broad; vittae 4 on outer surface, 2–4 on the inner surface (sometimes obscured). 

Bhutan: S—Chukka district (Awaka to Taktichu, Marichong). 

Ecology: On disturbed open cliff banks in moist broad-leaved forest, 1000-1600m. Flowers July–October. 


Specimen List [15154]

Note: Endemic to Bhutan. 

Heracleum sublineare C.B.Clarke
    Tetrataenium sublineare (C.B.Clarke) Mandenova ex Farille, Cauwet-Marc & S.B.Malla
Stems erect to ascending, slender, 20–45cm tall, sparsely hairy to glabrous except at nodes and below umbels; woody tap-root narrow. Leaves ternate to pinnate with 5 leaflets; leaflets of mid to upper stem leaves linear-lanceolate, 3–10 x 0.2–0.8cm (lower leaflets to 1.3cm wide), acuminate, base rounded, margin broadly serrate and slightly inrolled, essentially glabrous above excepting the midrib, sparsely pubescent beneath especially on the main veins; petiole with expanded sheathing base (widest in upper leaves). Umbels 3–4.5cm across, 2–7-rayed; rays 1–4cm, ridged, pubescent with short pilose hairs and longer glandular hairs; bracts usually 1, linear-lanceolate, 3–4mm, early falling; umbellules 5–11-flowered; pedicels 2–5mm; bracteoles 3–5, linear-subulate 3–8mm, droping after flowering, persistent. Calyx teeth long-acuminate to 0.7mm, unequal; Marginal petals white to pinkish, greatly expanded to triangular-obovate, radiant up to 6 x 10mm, bilobed. Stylopodium dark purple, domed, with pale thickening between the mericarps evident in mature fruit. Fruit ellipsoid or orbicular, 5–5.5 x 4–5mm, marginal wings 0.5–1mm broad, 4–6 vittae on outer surface, 2 on inner face, sparsely pubescent becomming glabrous. 

Bhutan: S—Sankosh district (Lawgu to Daga Chu); C—Ha district (Damthang to Sharithang), Thimphu district (Barshong, Darkey Pang Tso [pers. comm.], Pajoding) and Bumthang district (Dhur Valley, Gortsam).
Darjeeling: Phullalong, Sandakphu.
Sikkim: Lachen, Lachung, Sherabthang, Thanggu, Yathang, Yumthang.
Chumbi: Rinchengang. 

Ecology: Dry to moist areas, bushy rocky ground in upper reaches of fir and rhododendron forest, morraine gravel, 3100–4000m. Flowers July–October. 

Illustration [Fig 52 c-e]

Specimen List [6909]

Note: Some West Sikkimese (and Nepali) specimens have more hairy, broader and more closely serrate leaves and have been misidentified as H. wallichii

Heracleum wallichii DC.
    Tetrataenium wallichii (DC.) Mandenova
Plant (30-)40–80cm tall, almost glabrous except around the nodes and base of umbels. Leaves 1(–2)-pinnate with 3–5 leaflets (or more in lowest leaves); leaflets deeply 3-lobed (to almost ternate), lobes 1.5–7 x 1–3.7cm (largest the teminal lobe), ovate-lanceolate to oblong-elliptic, acute to acuminate, base truncate–obtuse, margin densely mucro-serrate, not inrolled, moderately hairy above and less so below (apart from main veins and margin). Umbels 3–8cm across, (6-)9–30-rayed; rays 1.5–3.5cm in flower, elongating to 7cm in fruit, almost glabrous to puberulent; bracts 1–3, to 2 cm, early falling; bracteoles 1–5, c 5mm. Petals white to purplish, outer petals moderately enlarged, to 2.5 x 2mm. Stylopodium as for H. sublineare. Fruits obovate, 7–10 x 6–8mm, 4 vittae on outer surface, 0–2 on inner face, wing to 3mm broad. 

Sikkim: Phalut, Singalila.
Darjeeling: Tanglu. 

Ecology: 3000–3300m. Flowers July–August. 

Specimen List [6928]

Heracleum sphondylium L. agg.

Stout erect biennial or perennial 1–1.5m high whole plant rough hairy; stem with coarse white hairs especially in the lower parts, the thickened bases leaving tubercles when falling. Lower leaves bipinnate or biternate (or ternately lobed), to 80 x 40cm; lobes 6–10 x 2–12cm, elliptic-oblong, apex acute to obtuse, margin serrate-dentate, hairy above and below; petiole with a broadly sheathing base; upper leaves smaller and less divided. Main umbels 7–10cm across in flower, (7-)16–20-rayed; rays 2–4cm in flower, elongating to 14cm in fruit; bracts 3–5, linear-subulate to 8mm long; umbellules 18–25-flowered; bracteoles 4–6, linear-subulate, to 6mm. Calyx teeth obsolete. Petals white, to 5 x 4mm. Young ovary coarsely hairy; stylopodium conical; styles 1.5–2mm. Fruit broadly ellipsoid, 6–9 x 5–7.5mm; vittae 4 on outer face extending to just below the main body of the fruit, 2 on inner face (sometimes indistinct). 

Bhutan: C—Ha district (Ha to Punda) and Thimphu district (Barshong, Guljekha, Serbithang, Thimphu).
Chumbi: Phomong.
Sikkim: Lachen, Yume Samdong. 

Ecology: Hedgerows, streamsides, field borders, rough cultivation, 2100–3400m. Flowers May–July(-August). 

Specimen List [6902]

Heracleum nepalense D.Don
    Heracleum nepalense D.Don var. bivittatum C.B.Clarke p.p.
    Tetrataenium nepalense (D.Don) Mandenova
Vernacular Names: Trunag, Tunak (Bhutanese drug names) 

Tall stout erect biennial/perennial 1–2m high (stunted specimens as small as 25cm), all parts densely bristly pubescent; stems purplish-brown, slightly foetid when crushed. Basal leaves large, to 45 x 35cm, pinnate with 5–7 pinnae (upper 3 sometimes confluent), ovate in outline, spreading horizontally when they first appear; pinnae deeply lobed into ovate-elliptic rounded segments 3–15 x 3.5–12cm. Upper leaves ternate to deeply ternately lobed; segments 3–23 x 1.7–6cm, narrowly elliptic, acute, base cuneate, margin serrate-dentate; petiole broadly winged. Primary terminal umbels very large (11-)15–30cm across, (25-)30–60(or more)-rayed, distinctly over-topped by the smaller secondary lateral umbels, inflorescence branches 2 per node; rays to 8cm in flower, extending and thickening to 17cm in fruit; bracts 7–8, linear-lanceolate 5–9mm, persistent; umbelules 1.5–2cm across, 30-40-flowered; pedicels 3–8mm in flower, thickening and elongating to 3.5cm in fruit, fruiting head lax with spreading rays; bracteoles 5–7, lanceolate, c 5 x 0.75mm. Calyx teeth minute, triangular-acuminate, c 0.5mm. Petals white, occasionally flushed pink, outer ones enlarged, radiant, bilobed to 3 x 2.3mm. Young ovary densely puberulent. Stylopodium domed, with pale thickenings on the inner face in fruit; styles 1–1.2mm in maturing fruit. Fruit obovate to elliptic-obovate, 9–11(-17) x 7–10(-14)mm, smooth, wing 2.2–4mm wide, seed in upper half, vittae 2–4 in inner face. 

Bhutan: S—Chukka district (Bunakha, Gedu) and Deothang district (Khaling to Wamrong); C—Thimphu district (Barshong, Dochong La, Dotena, Hongtsho, Phajoding, Thimphu); N—Upper Mo Chu district (Gasa, Jari La, Laya, Zambuthang), Upper Pho Chu district (Lhedi) and Upper Bumthang Chu district (Kantanang, Shimitang).
Chumbi: Backchung, Chumbi, Yathong.
Sikkim: Chunthang, Kabi, Lachen, Lachung, Phenop.
Darjeeling: Darjeeling. 

Ecology: Well drained disturbed places, roadsides, cliff edges, etc., in pine and fir forest, 1750–4000m. Flowers (May-)June–August(-September). 

Specimen List [6848]

Heracleum woodii M.F.Watson
    Heracleum nepalense D.Don var bivittatum C.B.Clarke p.p.
Similar to H. nepalense but a smaller less robust plant and generally less hairy. Stems 0.5–1m, 8–13cm thick at base, often suffused purple. Leaves rather few, often 1–2 basal and 1–2 cauline, internodes long. Lowest leaves pinnate with 5 ternately lobed or divided pinnae, to 50 x 25cm, oblong-ovate in outline, petiole to 11cm slender slightly winged at base. Upper leaves to 30 x 30cm biternate, triangular-ovate in outline; leaflets ovate, rounded, shallow to deeply lobed c 5–10 x 3–6cm; petioles broadly winged to auriculate, often purple. Central primary umbel 3–6cm in flower (to 10cm in fruit), 11–26-rayed, held above the subtending solitary secondary lateral umbel; rays to 6cm and sturdy in fruit, fruiting head compact, with erect often concave rays; umbellules (12-)16–25-flowered; pedicels to 13mm in fruit; bracteoles 3–4, lanceolate to 5 x 1mm. Calyx teeth linear-lanceolate to 1mm, unequal. Petals greenish-yellow or brownish yellow, rarely whitish. Style long, (1.2-)1.7–3(-4)mm erect in maturing fruit. Fruit elliptic to broadly elliptic-obovate, 6.5–10 x 6.5–8mm, wing 2–2.5mm broad; vittae 4 on outer surface, 2 on inner surface (sometimes obscured). 

Bhutan: C—Thimphu district (Dungtshola, Hongtsho, Phajoding, Saga La, Tataka Gompa).
Sikkim: Dzongri, Kangling, Thangshing, Yampung. 

Ecology: Fir forest and rocky slopes above tree-line, scrubby alpine turf, grassy banks, 3900–4300m. Flowers July–September. 


Specimen List [15156]

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