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Ligusticum L.
Mark F. Watson
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Medium-sized biennial or perennial herbs. Leaves 2–3(–4) x pinnately to tenately divided, triangular in outline; ultimate segments ovate or linear-lanceolate; pubescent above and below (at least on the main veins) or whole plant essentially glabrous. Umbels compound, rays numerous; bracts and bracteoles linear to linear-lanceolate. Calyx teeth obsolete or small, triangular to narrowly so, unequal, rarely as long as stylopodium. Petals white, obovate, emarginate with inflexed tip, somewhat unequal. Stylopodium domed. Fruit ovoid or ellipsoid, greatly dorsally compressed, lateral ribs winged, dorsal ribs prominent to narrowly winged; vittae usually at least 2 per dorsal furrow, at least 3 per lateral furrow, 6 or more on the commisural (inner) face; vittae 2–3 in dorsal furrows, 3 in laterals and 6–8 on commisural face. 

Note: The generic limits between this and Selinum in the Sino-Himalayan region are indistinct, see notes under Selinum.

Key to species
1 Stems and leaves puberulent; stems fibrous at base; calyx teeth present L. elatum
+ Plant essentially glabrous; stems not fibrous at base; calyx teeth obsolete L. acuminatum

Ligusticum elatum (Edgeworth) C.B.Clarke
    Cortia elata Edgeworth
Aromatic herb to 1m high, with a stout tap-root and erect stem surrounded by fibrous leaf remains at base; stem 0.5–1cm thick, ridged, glabrous to minutely puberulent (at least in upper parts). Leaves 2–3-pinnate, ultimate segments ovate, 3–9 x 1.5–5mm, deeply pinnatifid to serrate, lobes obtuse-acute, puberulent on the main veins above and below; basal leaves rather less incised than the upper stem leaves; basal leaves to 40 x 26cm (including petiole); petioles to 15cm long, with narrow sheath running the full length of the petiole, upper leaves with sheath somewhat auriculate at juncture with leaf blade. Main umbels 6–12cm across, 12–30-rayed; rays densely to moderately white puberulent, 2–3.5cm in flower, elongating to 6cm in fruit; bracts to 1.5cm, early falling; umbellules c 1cm across; bracteoles 3–5mm, white margined with papillose to hispid pubescence, recurved or not after flowering; pedicels 3–5mm, pubescence as for rays. Calyx teeth small, triangular, about half as long as stylopodium. Petals c 1.5–1mm. Style 0.7mm. Fruit elliptic in outline c 5 x 4mm; dorsal ribs narrowly winged, laterals with wing c 0.7mm broad. 

Bhutan: C—Thimphu district (Dochong La).
Darjeeling: Sandakphu. 

Ecology: Moist grassy clearings in open broad-leaved forest, 3100–3000m. Flowers September. 

Specimen List [8531]

Ligusticum acuminatum Franchet
    Ligusticopsis acumniata (Franchet) Leute
Ascending aromatic (celery scented) perennials to 1m tall, whole plant essentially glabrous excepting the inflorescence branches); stems often purplish, especially near the base, without fibrous leaf remins at base. Leaves c 3-pinnately or -ternately divided, 12–25 x 7–15cm (including petiole), triangular in outline; leaflets ovate-elliptic, 0.6–3.5 x 0.5-2cm, serrate to pinnatifid, apex of terminal leaflet acuminate. Umbels rather few, mainly terminal, 5–9cm across, 10–24-rayed; rays 2.5–5cm in flower; pedicels 2–9mm. Calyx teeth obsolete. Petals to 1.5 x 1mm. Styles 0.7mm, reflexed. Fruit c 5 x 4mm (from Chinese material), lateral wings c 1mm broad, dorsal ribs very narrowly winged. 

Bhutan: C—Thimphu district (Barshong, Changri, Thimphu). 

Ecology: Semi-shaded areas. open woodlands, moist ground, 2500–3400m. Flowers August–September. 

Specimen List [8410]

Note: Previously thought to be a W China endemic; Chinese specimens have been recorded as up to 2m tall.

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