Epimedium leptorrhizum Stearn, 1938

Zhang, Yanjun, Dang, Haishan, Li, Shengyu, Li, Jianqiang & Wang, Ying, 2015, Five new synonyms in Epimedium (Berberidaceae) from China, PhytoKeys 49, pp. 1-12 : 6-7

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Epimedium leptorrhizum Stearn


Epimedium leptorrhizum Stearn

Epimedium leptorrhizum Stearn, J. Bot., 71: 343. 1933. Type: China. Guizhou: Guiyang, Bodinier 2184 (holotype, P!).

Epimedium brachyrrhizum Stearn, Kew Bull., 52(3): 659. 1997. Syn. nov. Type: China. Guizhou: Fanjingshan Mts., cult. USA. Massachusetts: Hubbardston, Darrell Probst CPC 94.0495 (holotype, K!).


Herbs 12-30 cm tall. Rhizome long-creeping, occasionally clump-forming, 1-2 mm in diam. Leaves basal and cauline, trifoliolate or occasionally unifoliolate; leaflets of trifoliolate leaves narrowly ovate or ovate, 3-10 × 2-5 cm, apex long acuminate, base deeply cordate with usually rounded lobes nearly touching, those of the lateral leaflets very unequal; unifoliolate leaves ovate or broadly ovate, 8-13.7 × 5-11 cm, apex acuminate, base cordate with lobes equal, rounded and rarely acute; leaves leathery, margin spinous-serrate, adaxially deep green, glossy, abaxially glaucous, papillose, and reddish pubescent along veins, especially dense at insertion of petioles and petiolules. Flowering stem with 1 leaf or 2 opposite leaves. Inflorescence racemose, 12-25 cm long, 4-12-flowered, glandular; pedicels 1-2.5 cm. Flowers ca. 4 cm in diam., white, tinged with rose or deep rose. Outer sepals green or purplish, outer pair ovate-oblong, 3-4 × ca. 2 mm, apex obtuse, inner pair broadly ovate, 4-5.5 × 3-4.5 mm, apex obtuse. Inner sepals white or pale rose, narrowly elliptic or lanceolate, 11-22 × 4-7 mm, apex acuminate. Petals slightly longer than inner sepals, almost white with base rose or deep rose, horn-shaped, up to 2.6 cm, tapering from the swollen but lamina-less base. Stamens ca. 4 mm, anthers ca. 3 mm, yellow or green. Capsules oblong, 1.5-2 cm.

Distribution and habitat.

Epimedium leptorrhizum occurs in montane forests or thickets in Chongqing, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hubei and Hunan, at elevations of 600 to 1500 m.


Epimedium leptorrhizum flowers from April to May, and fruits from May to June.

IUCN Red List category.

Epimedium leptorrhizum should be designated as nearly threatened (NT) according to IUCN Red List criteria ( IUCN 2013), because of exploitation for medicinal use.


Stearn (1997) published Epimedium brachyrrhizum , which had been only known from the type locality. In the protologue for Epimedium brachyrrhizum , the major difference between Epimedium leptorrhizum and Epimedium brachyrrhizum was that the former had a very slender elongated rhizome while the latter bore a more compact clump-forming rhizome. However, examination of a series of Epimedium leptorrhizum specimens shows that its rhizome is often slender and long-creeping but occasionally thicker and compact. In addition, we observed Epimedium leptorrhizum and Epimedium brachyrrhizum in herbaria, the field, and gardens, and did not observe any associated floral or foliar differences between the two species. Epimedium brachyrrhizum is reduced here as a new synonym of Epimedium leptorrhizum .

Specimens examined.

China. Chongqing: Fengdu, Anon. 109 (SM), 247 (SM); Shizhu, Anon. 135 (SM), 202 (SM), Y.J. Zhang 30 (HIB), 31 (HIB), 32 (HIB); Youyang, Anon. 216 (SM), 503 (SM), 1510 (SM); Zhongxian, J.X. Shi 637 (HWA). Guangxi: Quanxian, Y.C. Chen 102 (IBK). Guizhou: Anshun, Anshun Exped. 1548 (HGAS); Guiyang, Anon. 45 (HGAS), 635 (IMD), B.L. Guo 94018 (IMD), S. Guizhou Exped. 77 (HGAS, PE, KUN); Jiangkou, S.Z. He 90005 (HGAS); Kaili, Y.J. Zhang 156 (HIB), 435 (HIB); Longli, B.L. Guo A38 (IMD), A81 (IMD), D.Q. Zhang 19 (GZTM), Y.Y. Wang 403030 (GZTM); Luodian, Y.J. Zhang 429 (HIB); Meitan, Anon. 254 (IMD), Guizhou Med. Pl. Exped. 37 (IMD); Pingba, Anshun Exped. 1548 (PE); Songtao, B.L. Guo A87 (IMD), A98 (IMD), Y.J. Zhang 174 (HIB), 177 (HIB), 298 (HIB); Suiyang, P. Zhao 452 (HGAS); Tongzi, Y.K. Li 11171 (HAGS); Wuchuan, J.M. Yuan & S.L. Yang 1 (HGAS), 2 (HGAS), Y.J. Zhang 168 (HIB), 172 (HIB); Xifeng, B.L. Guo A104 (IMD); Yinjiang, Anon. 680 (HGAS), S.Z. He s.n. (IMD), Y.J. Zhang 159 (HIB), Z.S. Zhang et al. 401219 (HGAS, PE). Hubei: Enshi, H.J. Li 8738 (PE, HIB), Y.J. Zhang 13 (HIB), 14 (HIB), 15 (HIB), 16 (HIB), 18 (HIB), 71 (HIB), 141 (HIB), 142 (HIB), 143 (HIB), 144 (HIB), 145 (HIB), 146 (HIB), 147 (HIB); Hefeng, Y.J. Zhang 64 (HIB); Laifeng, B.L. Guo A05 (IMD); Lichuan, B.L. Guo & X.Z. Luo 89005 (IMD), 89009 (IMD), A47 (IMD), A52 (IMD), A54 (IMD), H.J. Li 11020 (HIB), Y.J. Zhang 22 (HIB), 23 (HIB), 24 (HIB), 25 (HIB), 26 (HIB), 27 (HIB), 29 (HIB), 30 (HIB), 64 (HIB), 73 (HIB), Z.C. Ye 25 (HIB), Z.E. Zhao 32 26 (HIB), 3237 (HIB), 3238 (HIB), 3240 (HIB), 9053 (HIB); Xianfeng, Y.M. Wang 6657 (HIB), X.S. Zou 74010 (HIB); Xuan’en, Y.J. Zhang 416 (HIB). Hunan: Baojing, B.M. Yang 34B (HNNU), Y.J. Zhang 180 (HIB); Longshan, B.L. Guo A99 (IMD); Sangzhi, B.L. Guo A32 (IMD), Sangzhi Insititute of Forestry Scinece 202 (KUN), 263 (KUN), Hunan-Guizhou Exped. 3469 (KUN), Y.J. Zhang 189 (HIB).














Epimedium leptorrhizum Stearn

Zhang, Yanjun, Dang, Haishan, Li, Shengyu, Li, Jianqiang & Wang, Ying 2015

Epimedium leptorrhizum

Stearn 1938