Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Aconitum spicatum (Bruehl) Stapf in Ann. R. Bot. Gard. Calc. 10: 165, t. 106 & 107. 1905. A. ferox auct. non Wallich ex Seringe; Hook. f. & Thomson, Fl. Ind. 56. 1855, p. p. & in Fl. Brit. India 1: 28. 1872, p. p. A. ferox var. spicata Bruehl in Ann. R. Bot. Gard. Calc. 5: 110. 1896.

Nep.: Bikh (Sikkim), Bikha-bharyan (Darjeeling).

Herbs, biennial, 1.5 - 2 m high; roots paired, tuberous; stems erect, robust, simple, greyish pubescent. Basal leaves decayed at flowering time; upper many; lamina fleshy, mostly orbicular-cordate or reniform, 6 - 12 cm in diam., deeply cut into ovate lobes which are further cut into toothed or pointed segments. Inflorescence a stiff racemose panicle, many-flowered, 15 - 40 cm long. Flowers 2 - 2.5 cm long, dark blue or violet blue, often white, tinged purple. Uppermost sepal helmet-shaped with a short beak, 2.5 x 1.3 cm, shortly (2 - 3 mm) beaked; upper lateral sepals orbicular, ca 1.5 cm across; lower sepals elliptic, ca 13 x 3 mm. Petals sparsely hispidulous or sometimes glabrous; head S-shaped, 10 - 11 mm long; spur recurved. Filaments mauve or white; anthers dark bluish purple. Follicles 5, swollen, oblong, ca 1 cm long, hairy. Seeds transversely lamellate.

Fl. & Fr. July - Sept.

Distrib. India: E. Himalayas, open alpine slopes or sheltered forests of Fir', Juniper or Rhododendron scrub, 3500 - 4500 m. West Bengal and Sikkim.

Nepal, Bhutan and China (S.E. Tibet).

Notes. Chromosome no. n = 16, 2n = 32 (Banerjee & Sharma in Form, Str. & Funct. in Plants, Meerut 25. 1965). A note on Burkill's specimen in herb. CAL states: "Very common all the way from Kalipokbri to Phalut; now in full flower - one large specimen had 190 flowers on it."

The poisonous roots contain valuable alkaloids (Stapf, l. c.)

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