Tibetan Madder
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Tibetan Madder
ative Photo: Krishan Lal
Common name: Tibetan Madder
Botanical name: Rubia tibetica    Family: Rubiaceae (Coffee family)
Synonyms: Rubia transalaica

Tibetan Madder is a perennial, erect herb, forming loose cushions from a massive woody rootstock. Stems are up to 0.3 m, quadrangular, smooth or hairy. Lower nodes are usually shortly sheathed with membranous bases of old leaves. Leaves are opposite, and with interpetiolar and leaflike stipules, in whorls of 4-6, stalkless or nearly so, blade drying leathery, broadly to narrowly ovate, elliptic, elliptic-oblong, or lanceshaped, 1-3 x 0.3-1.5 cm, both surfaces hairy to hairless, base acute to obtuse. Principal vein is 1, sometimes with 2 weak lateral veins. Flowers are borne in a leafy and bracteose inflorescence, with 1- to few-flowered cymes, in leaf axils and branch ends. Flower-stalks are 4-6 mm. Ovary is 0.8-1.2 mm, sometimes hirtellous. Flowers are yellow, flat, 5-8 mm in diameter, outside sometimes rough, fused base about 0.5 mm, petals lanceshaped or lanceshaped-ovate, 2-2.5 mm, long-pointed. Fruit is a berry 3-4 mm in diameter. Tibetan Madder is found in the Himalayas, from Afghanistan to Kashmir, Lahaul and Tibet, at altitudes of 2000-4400 m. Flowering: June-July.

Identification credit: Krishan Lal Photographed in Sarchu, Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh.

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