Epimedium membranaceum K. Mey.

Zhang, Yanjun, Dang, Haishan, Li, Shengyu, Li, Jianqiang & Wang, Ying, 2015, Five new synonyms in Epimedium (Berberidaceae) from China, PhytoKeys 49, pp. 1-12 : 4-5

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Epimedium membranaceum K. Mey.


Epimedium membranaceum K. Mey.

Epimedium membranaceum K. Mey., Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. Beih., 12: 380. 1922. Type: China. Sichuan: Dujiangyan, Limpricht 1293 (isotypes, K!, WU!).

Epimedium rhizomatosum Stearn, Kew Bull., 53(1): 226. 1998. Syn. nov. Type: China. Sichuan: Leibo, Selenggong, alt. 2040 m, cult. England. Hampshire: Kilmeston, Blackthorn Nursery, July 1997, Ogisu 92114 (holotype, K!).


Herbs 20-65 cm tall. Rhizome compact or elongated. Leaves basal or cauline, trifoliolate; leaflets broadly ovate or narrowly ovate, 4-6 × 2-3 cm, apex acute or acuminate, margin with spines 1-1.5 mm, base cordate with lobes rounded or acute, those of lateral leaflets conspicuously oblique, subleathery, adaxially glabrous, abaxially glaucous, with scattered minute erect hairs. Flowering stem with 2 opposite or alternate leaves. Inflorescence paniculate, 9-40 cm long, 5-35-flowered, glandular; pedicels 1.5-2 cm. Flowers yellow, 4-6 cm in diam. Outer sepals green with base purplish. Inner sepals red, ovate-elliptic or narrowly ovate, 6-7 × 2.5-3 cm, apex acute. Petals pale yellow, much longer than inner sepals, subulate, 1.5-3.5 cm, lamina-less base. Stamens ca. 4 mm; anthers ca. 3 mm, yellow. Capsules ca. 2.5 cm.

Distribution and habitat.

Epimedium membranaceum occurs in montane forests and thickets of Sichuan and the adjoining region of northern Yunnan, at elevations of 1200 to 2500 m.


Epimedium membranaceum flowers from April to June, and fruits from May to July.

IUCN Red List category.

Epimedium membranaceum should be designated as Least concern (LC) according to IUCN Red List criteria ( IUCN 2013).


Ying (1975) placed Epimedium membranaceum into synonymy of Epimedium davidii Franch., which was adopted by the Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae ( Ying 2001) and the Flora of China ( Ying et al. 2011). However, the two species can be easily distinguished by petal shape, with the petals of Epimedium davidii bearing obvious lamina while those of Epimedium membranaceum have no lamina. Additionally, Epimedium davidii was treated as the type species of series Davidianae Stearn while Epimedium membranaceum was referred to series Dolichocerae Stearn in the updated taxonomic system of Epimedium ( Stearn 2002).

Epimedium rhizomatosum is much like Epimedium membranaceum . In the protologue for Epimedium rhizomatosum , Stearn (1998) distinguished it from Epimedium membranaceum in rhizome shape, closeness of spines along the leaflet margin, inflorescence morphology, and number of flowers. Epimedium membranaceum had a compact rhizome with annual-growth shoots 1-2 cm long while Epimedium rhizomatosum had an elongated rhizome and annual-growth shoots about 3-5 cm long; the leaflets of Epimedium membranaceum had about 9-11 spines to 3 cm of leaflet margin whereas leaflets of the same size in Epimedium rhizomatosum had about 15-17 spines to 3 cm of margin; Epimedium membranaceum had a 30-40 cm long inflorescence with numerous well-separated flowers whereas Epimedium rhizomatosum had a much shorter inflorescence with fewer, more crowded flowers. However, based on extensive investigation in herbaria and the field, it was found that Epimedium membranaceum continuously varies in the morphology of these organs and the diagnostic features of Epimedium rhizomatosum can fall into the variation range of Epimedium membranaceum . For instance, Epimedium membranaceum not only has compact but also slender and elongated rhizome in the type locality (even in one collection X.J. He et al. 131825 (SZ)).Therefore, Epimedium rhizomatosum is here reduced as a new synonym of Epimedium membranaceum .

Specimens examined.

China. Sichuan: Beichuan, Sichuan Econ. Pl. Exped. Mian 530 (SAU, SZ), 1149 (KUN, SM, SZ), S. Jiang et al. 7050 (PE); Butuo, Butuo Med. Pl. Exped. 19 (SM); Dechang, Grade 1974, SW Normal Univ. 12067 (CDBI, HWA, PE); Dujiangyan, B.L. Guo 603 (IMD), 604 (IMD), Z. He 12229 (HWA, PE), F.T. Wang 20851 (KUN, PE), X.J. He et al. 131825 (SZ), Y.J. Zhang 391 (HIB); Huidong, Huidong Med. Pl. Exped. 1 (SM), S.K. Wu 1433 (KUN, SM, SAU, SZ); Jiangyou, Jiangyou Med. Pl. Exped. 223 (SM); Jinyang, B.L. Guo 612 (IMD), Jinyang Med. Pl. Exped. 440 (SM), Y.J. Zhang 307 (HIB); Leibo, M.Y. Fang 11740 (SZ), S. Jiang et al. 7534 (KUN, PE, SZ), Sichuan Econ. Pl. Exped. Liang 26 (PE, KUN), Sichuan Med. Pl. Exped. 27948 (SM), K.P. Yin 83 (SZ), Y.J. Zhang 303 (HIB); Maoxian, B.L. Guo 529 (IMD), 88187 (IMD), B.L. Guo & W.K. Bao 97017 (IMD), C. Zhang et al. 2004010 (PE), Maowen Med. Pl. Exped. 183 (SM), 275 (SM), S.H. Ma 65-331 (CDCM), Sichuan Econ. Pl. Exped. E 166 (IMD), 5189 (CDBI, KUN, SAU, SM), Z.L. Shen 89024 (IMD); Meigu, Meigu Med. Pl. Exped. 154 (SM), Sichuan Econ. Pl. Exped. Liang 6001 (PE); Ningnan, Ningnan Med. Pl. Exped. 254 (SM); Pengzhou, G.H. Jiang 200606001 (SM), Q. Wang et al. yc013 (SZ), yc017 (SZ), W.Z. Zeng 25 (CDCM), X.M. Lu 18 (CDCM); Pingwu, Sichuan Econ. Pl. Exped. Mian 2195 (SM), X.L. Jiang 10231 (PE, SZ); Qingchuan, Qingchuan Exped. 594 (SM), 595 (SM), Qingchuan Med. Pl. Exped. 2222 (SM), 3130 (SM); Shifang, B.L. Guo 536 (IMD), X.J. He et al. 138339 (SZ), Shifang Exped. 118 (SM); Wanyuan, Sichuan Econ. Pl. Exped. Da 2323 (SAU); Xichang, Q.E. Yang 93032 (PE); Yanbian, Yanbian Exped. 295 (SM); Yanyuan, Yanyuan Exped. 218 (SM); Zhaojue, Zhaojue Exped. 90 (SM). Yunnan: Dongchuan, S.B. Lan 250 (PE); Kunming, J.H. Chen 679 (SM); Lijiang, Y.Z. Zhao 20510 (KUN); Suijiang, B.X. Sun et al. 233 (PE, KUN); Weixi, K.M. Feng 3510 (PE, KUN), 3383 (PE, KUN), 4371 (PE, KUN), Qing-Zhi Exped. 6300 (PE, KUN), 6595 (PE, KUN), Q.W. Wang 63581 (PE, KUN), 63697 (PE, KUN), 64285 (PE).














Epimedium membranaceum K. Mey.

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

Epimedium rhizomatosum

Stearn 1998