Aspidistra typica

Accepted name Aspidistra typica Baill. Bull. Soc. Linn. Paris, 2. 1129. (1894).
Distribution China (SW Guangxi, SE Yunnan), Vietnam
Description J. D. Hooker's description (fitted to standard format but otherwise unedited).

Rhizome: stout, creeping.

Leaves: 12 - 18 inches long, long-petioled, elliptic-lanceolate, nerves about 7, with many cross nervules, base acute, unequal;   petiole longer than blade, channelled in front.

Peduncle: flowers very many, radical; peduncles 2 - 2 inches long, stout, flexuous, prostrate or geniculately decurved, purple with darker blotches; sheaths few, distant, oblong, obtuse.

Perianth [Perigone]:  flowers ⅔ in. in diameter, thickly coriaceous, globose, 6-cleft, base closely embraced by 2 ovate spreading purple bracts, dirty white or greenish speckled with red, dark purple within; lobes ⅓ to the length of the perianth, biseriate, ovate, subacute, erect, then spreading.

Stamens: 6, anthers reniform, sessile on the base of the perianth.

Pistil: ovary very short, crowned with an umbrella-like 6-lobed stigma.

Description from FoC (fitted to standard format & lightly edited)

Rhizome: subterete, diameter ca. 7 mm.

Leaves: 2- or 3-tufted to ca. 50 cm; cataphylls undescribed; petiole 12 - 21 cm, stiff; lamina green, sometimes sparsely yellowish spotted, ovate-lanceolate to ovate, 18 - 32 cm long x 7 - 12 cm wide, base rounded or nearly so.

Peduncle: usually tufted, arching or horizontal, 2.5 - 4.6 cm long with 3 - 5 bracts; flowers solitary.

Perianth [Perigone]: urceolate, purple; tube 0.9 - 1.2 cm long x 1.4 - 1.8 cm diameter; lobes 6, suberect, ovate, 3 - 5 mm long x 3 - 5 mm wide.

Stamens: 6, inserted at base of perianth tube, subsessile.

Pistil: stigma peltate, orbicular, large, 0.9 - 1.5 cm in diameter, slightly 6-lobed at margin.

Fruit: undescribed.

Phenology: flowers June.

2n = ?

Comments For such a long established species, and one supposedly in cultivation, this seems a remarkably little known species.  I assume the drawing below (from Li Guangzhao) to be reproduced from Baillon's paper in Bull. Soc. Linn. Paris, 2. 1129. (1894). It appears to show a stalked ovary with the stigma sessile upon it.  This unusual arrangement has not been noted by FoC or Tillich.

There is a fine plate ostensibly of A. typica in Curtis's botanical magazine t. 7484 with a description by J. D. Hooker, available at http://www.botanicus.org/page/453959 et seq. Tillich 2005 obviously takes his information on the colouring of the perigone tubes from this plate.  Curtis's plate shows the stigma to be 6-lobed but does not clearly show the rest of the pistil.  In Curtis's plate there appear to be 2 stamens per perigone lobe although the number of stamens is given as 6.


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last updated 19/02/2008