FoI
Fragrant Biebersteinia   
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Fragrant Biebersteinia
P Native Herb Unknown Photo: Krishan Lal
Common name: Fragrant Biebersteinia
Botanical name: Biebersteinia odora    Family: Begoniaceae (Begonia family)

Fragrant Biebersteinia is a perennial herb, named for Baron Friedrich August Marschall von Bieberstein, 19th century German explorer in southern Russia. It is a woody plant, 10-30 cm tall, with a pleasant odor when fresh. Rhizome stout, about 5 mm thick, upper part densely covered with withered remains of leaf-stalks. Stem is few branched or unbranched. Leaves are all nearly basal; stipules brown, lanceshaped, 2- or 3-fid or -partite, velvet-hairy glandular; leaf blade 6-14 cm at anthesis, 1-pinnatisect; segment pairs 12-18, stalkless, 4-20 mm, pinnately cut into blunt lobules. Flowers are borne in short, few-flowered racemes; bracts leaflike, ovate-oblong, 4-6 mm, margin often irregular; bracteoles 2, lanceshaped-ovate, shorter than bracts. Flowers are looking down at first, lower ones remote, about 1.2 cm wide; flower-stalk to 2 cm, glandular hairy. Sepals are unequal, elliptic-oblong, 7-9 mm, glandular velvet-hairy. Petals are yellow, occasionally orange near base, nearly round-obovate, 1.25-1.5 times as long as sepals, sparsely fringed with hairs and strigose on inner surface, narrow at base. Filaments 5-6 mm, hairy. Mericarps about 3 mm, strigose, rugose. Fragrant Biebersteinia is found in the Himalayas in N. India, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, N Pakistan, C Russia, Tajikistan, at altitudes of 4200-5600 m. Flowering: July-August.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal Photographed at Baralacha, Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh

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