Stachys oblongifolia


Annual herb, erect. Leaves thick-membranaceous, narrowly elliptic or lanceolate, 4-6 by 1.5-2.5 cm, broadly acute, base truncate or subauriculate, margin crenate-serrate, densely villose on the surfaces;


SE. Asia (Bengal, Assam, Silhet, Himalaya), ? S. China; in Malesia: West Java: Preanger Mts (Talun and Rantja Gedeh near Kertosari).


Already HOOKER f. (1885) remarked on the difficulty of specific delimitation in this genus in India — 6 epithets being involved — which is also felt elsewhere in the world, even in Europe. BACKER and I ( were uncertain about the proper correlation of the Javanese specimens with those from Asia. After having now studied the types of S. sericea, S. melissaefolia, and S. oblongi-folia, it is clear that they are very closely allied. Neither in the leaves (shape, hairiness) nor in the number of flowers or their bracteoles I can find consistent differences.
The conclusion is that for distinction (rather smallish) characters can only be found in the flowers, three taxa being provisionally defined as follows:
  • S. floccosa BTH. (S. sericea WALL., homon. illeg., non CAV.; S. vestita BTH., p.p.; S. splendens BTH., p.p.): Corolla tube rather slender, clearly exceeding the calyx tube, as high as the calyx teeth, limb mostly long densely silky hairy beneath. Calyx tube c. 1.5-2 times as long as the teeth, the bays between the teeth rather narrow-acute, teeth rather narrow-deltoid, with a long mucro, about as long as the limb. Calyx c. 7-9 mm in all.
  • S. melissaefoiia BTH. (S. splendens BTH., p.p.): Corolla tube distinctly exceeding the calyx tube, limb hairy beneath but not prominently long-silky. Calyx tube 2-4 times as long as the unequal calyx teeth, the latter separated at the base by rounded bays, deltoid, not mucronate, the tip acutish ending in a sort of gland. Calyx c. 8 mm in all.
  • S. oblongifolia BTH.: Corolla tube slightly exceeding the calyx tube, shorter than the calyx teeth, the limb hairy beneath but not densely long-sericeous. Calyx tube c. 1.5-2 times as long as the teeth, the bays between the teeth rather acutish, teeth deltoid, sharply acute to shortish mucronate. Calyx c. 5.5-7 mm long in all.

Those who would adhere to a broader species concept would accept possibly only one species which then should bear the name S. oblongifolia BTH. in WALL. AS specimens are scarce in the herbarium, population field studies should bring evidence for a final conclusion. Anyway the Javanese specimens are conspecific with S. oblongi-folia s. str. although it seems that there is a small difference in having the two lower calyx teeth somewhat fused at the base.
Finally I remark that the assemblage of continental Asian specimens is heterogeneous and some forms may not be distinguishable from the European S. alpina L. — Ed.


KENG - in Gard. Bull. Sing. 1969: 173
BTH. - in DC., Prod. 12. 1848: 474
HOOK.f. - in Fl. Br. Ind. 1885: 676
STEEN., Mt. Fl. Java. 1972: pl. 25-6
BACK. - in Bekn. Fl. Java, (em. ed.). 1944: fam. 201, p. 57
BTH., Lab. Gen. Sp. 1834: 545
MUKERJEE - in Rec. Bot. Surv. India. 1940: 188


Stachys oblongifolia BTH. in Wall., Pl. As. Rar. 1: 64. 1830
  • Stachys sericea (non WALL. ex BTH.) STEEN. in Bull. Jard. Bot. Btzg III: 223. 1934
  • Stachys melissaefolia (non BTH.) BACK. & BAKH.f. in Fl. Java 2: 624. 1965