Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Viola biflora L., Sp. Pl. 2: 936. 1753. Hook. f. & Thomson in Fl. Brit. India 1:182. 1872, p.p. (excl.syn. V. wallichiana Ging. & V. reniformis Wallich).

Hindi: Banfsa.

Herbs, annual or perennial, glabrous or pubescent, up to 30 cm high; stem slender, erect or decumbent; rhizome horizontal or oblique, more or less stout. Leaves reniform to broadly ovate, cordate at base, crenate along margins, 1 - 6 x 0.8 - 4 cm, subcoriaceous, glabrous to hirsute along margins and nerves above, 5 - 7 -nerved; petioles glabrous to pubescent, slender, up to 10 cm long; stipules ovate or oblong, acute, up to 8 mm long, entire or sparsely denticulate sometimes leafy. Peduncles slender, 1 - 10 cm long, exceeding leaves, bibracteolate above the middle; bracteoles. opposite or subopposite, setaceous, membranous. Flowers solitary, 0.6 - 1.5 cm across, spreading, yellow with brownish purple veins. Sepals linear to linear-oblong, acute, up to 7 mm long, ciliate on scarious, obtuse, entire, 7 - 15 x 3 - 5 mm; lateral petals slightly larger and beardless, stripped with black and brown coloured nerves; spur cylindrical, straight, obtuse, ca 1.5 mm long. Ovary glabrous; style geniculate at base, clavate distally, 1.2 - 1.5 mm long, bilobed at top with no stigmatic beak. Capsules ovoid to oblong-ellipsoid, 4 - 9 mm long, glabrous.

Fl. April- Aug.; Fr. July - Oct.

Distrib. India: Alpine rocky grasslands and in damp Fir forest margins, 2500 - 3500 m. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Eastern &. Northern Asia, Russia, Europe and N. America.

Notes. Medicinal, roots emetic, flowers antiseptic and leaves laxative. Decoction of the whole plant is used for cough and acute bronchitis (Kapahi in J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 14: 55. 1990).

W. Becker (in Beih. Bot. Centrabl. Abt. 2, 36: 42. 1918) included most of the Himalayan materials, having reniform and much broader than long leaves, under V. biflora var. platyphylla and hirsute materials under V. biflora var. hirsuta. The materials from the type locality and other materials of this variety have been examined and it became clear that these are intergrading characters and do not justify distinct varietal status.

Chromosome numbers reported: 2n = 12 (Clausen in Hereditus 8: 1. 1926); 2n = 48 (Taylor &. Mulligan, Queen's Printer, Ottawa 148. 1968); 2n = 12 (Miyaji in Cytologis 1: 28 - 58. 1929); 2n = 12 (Kobayashi in J. Jap. Bot. 47: 171 - 179. 1972); 2n = 12, 20 (Chatterjee &. Sharma in J. Genet. 61: 52 - 63. 1973).

Pollen grains 3 (4) zonocolporate, prolate spheroidal (34 x 32 u); endocolpium very faintly demarcated; exine 1 u thick, psilate. (Nair, Pollen grains of western Himalayan plants, Bombay 13. 1965).

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