Bupleurum Chinense Radix Bupleuri Seeds Bei Chai Hu
北柴胡 bei chai hu
Bupleurum chinense Franchet (1883), not de Candolle (1830); B. chinense de Candolle f. vanheurckii (Müller Argoviensis) R. H. Shan & Yin Li; B. falcatum Linnaeus f. ensifolium H. Wolff; B. togasii Kitagawa; B. vanheurckii Müller Argoviensis.
Plants 50–85 cm, perennial. Root stout, elongate, brown, woody, usually branched. Stem solitary or several, dichotomously much-branched above, base without fibrous remnant sheaths. Basal leaves oblanceolate or narrow-elliptic, 4–7 × 0.6–0.8 cm, base tapering into petioles, apex acuminate. Middle leaves broadly linear-lanceolate, 4–12 × 0.6–1.8(–3) cm, 7–9-nerved, abaxially glaucous, apex apiculate. Apical leaves small. Umbels numerous, 2–6 cm across; peduncles slender, greatly spreading forming a large loose panicle; bracts 0 or 2–3, linear, 1–5 × 0.5–1 mm, 3-nerved; rays 3–8, very slender, 1–3 cm, unequal; bracteoles 5, lanceolate, 3–3.5 × 0.6–1 mm, shorter than flowers; umbellules 4–6 mm across, 5–10-flowered. Petal bright yellow. Stylopodium low-conic, discoid, dark yellow. Fruit oblong, brown, ca. 3 × 2 mm; ribs prominent, narrowly winged, wings pale brown; vittae 3(–4) in each furrow, 4 on commissure. Fl. and fr. Sep–Oct. n = 6*.
Grasslands, stream banks, sunny slopes, roadsides; 100–2700 m. Anhui, Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Zhejiang.
This Bupleurum is one of two primary species the roots of which are used for the major traditional Chinese medicine “chai hu” (see also B. scorzonerifolium). It is a very widespread species, within which three forms are currently recognized: f. pekinense (Franchet ex Hemsley) R. H. Shan & Yin Li (Acta Phytotax. Sin. 12: 293. 1974; B. pekinense Franchet ex Hemsley, J. Linn. Soc., Bot. 23: 327. 1887), distinguished by having leaves rigid, papery, both surfaces gray-green; f. chiliosciadium (H. Wolff) R. H. Shan & Yin Li (loc. cit.; B. falcatum Linnaeus var. chiliosciadium H. Wolff, Acta Horti Gothob. 2: 303. 1926), distinguished by having peduncles much-branched and umbellules numerous, small; and f. octoradiatum (Bunge) R. H. Shan & M. L. Sheh (Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 55(1): 293. 1979; B. octoradiatum Bunge, Mém. Acad. Imp. Sci. St.-Pétersbourg Divers Savans 2: 106. 1835), distinguished by having branches non-flexuous, bracteoles elliptic-lanceolate, usually exceeding umbellules in flower and longer than pedicels in fruit, and chromosome number n = 6 + 1 - 2B*.
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