Scientific name: Ophiopogon alatus Aver. & N.TanakaEnglish name: Vietnamese name: Xà bì cánhOther name:
The specific epithet refers to the prominent, proximal marginal wings of the leaves.
Herb terrestrial, perennial. Stem short, erect, unbranching, (3)5–7(10) cm tall, (0.8)1–1.5(2.2) cm in diam., covered with spirally arranged, imbricate leaf sheaths with prominent wings. Roots few from basal part of stem, rigid, fleshy, whitish, (1.5)2–3(3.5) mm in diam. near base. Leaves many, tufted, spirally and densely arranged on apical part of stem, arching, crinkled, linear, slightly narrowed and winged proximally; the wings white, scarious-papyraceous, to 5–8(10) mm wide; acute at apex, entire along margins, leathery, glabrous, (15)20–25(30) cm long, (3)4–5.5(6.5) mm wide; adaxially uniformly dark grass-green; abaxially light green-glaucous, with 4–6(8) narrow white parallel stripes; main longitudinal veins many, indistinct; secondary veins hardly visible. Inflorescence a lax raceme with distant fascicles of (1)2–3(4) pedicellate flowers; peduncle (scape) and rachis straight or flexuose, finely ridged, dull greenish to dull pale brownish-purple; peduncle (3.5)4.5–6(7) cm long, (1.5)2–2.5(3) mm in diam., ebracteate or with 1(2) small, brownish, papyraceous, sterile bracts; rachis (5)6–7(8) cm long; the pedicels arising from bracteal axils, usually antrorse to subperpendicular (to rachis), arching, terete, light violet to white, (2)2.5–4(4.5) mm long, (0.6)0.8– 1(1.2) mm in diam., as long as or a little longer than stalky part of floral base, terminally slightly broadened and jointed to floral base forming a distinct articulation; the outermost (lowermost) bract within a fascicle of floral bracts narrowly triangular, acute or acuminate, light greenish, white and scarious along margin, sometimes with light violet tint, (0.6)1–3(3.5) cm long, (1)1.5–3(3.5) mm wide; the inner bract laterally subtending each pedicel, twice-thrice smaller, narrowly triangular, light greenish to whitish, scarious. Flowers drooping, campanulate, not much broadly opening, odorless, (5.5)6–7(7.5) mm long, (6)7–8(8.5) mm across; floral base funnel-form, pale violet to white, (1.4)1.6–2(2.2) mm long, 0.8–1(1.2) mm in diam. Perianth segments subsimilar, narrowly ovate, blunt to rounded at apex, straight, slightly concave, somewhat thick, (4.8)5–6(7) mm long, (1.8)2–2.2(2.4) mm wide, externally pale violet, medially paler and whitish, internally violet-purple; inner segments (petals) slightly wider. Stamens 6, located at base of each perianth segment, subsessile; anthers broadly triangular, subconic, slightly dorsiventrally flattened, shallowly cordate at base, shortly truncate at apex, introrse, light pale yellow-greenish, (1.9)2–2.2(2.3) mm long, (1.3)1.4–1.5(1.6) mm wide; filaments very short, thin, flat and wide, 0.2–0.3 mm long, 0.5–0.6 mm wide. Ovary inferior, 3-locular; (1)2–4 ovules on basal placenta in each locule; style purely white, erect, straight or curved apically, narrowly pyramidal to sub-cylindric, (4.8)5– 5.2(5.4) mm long, basal part cylindric, (0.5)0.6–0.7(0.8) mm wide; stigma almost negligibly minute, acute to obtuse. Seeds ovoid, glossy, black-green.
N. Vietnam: Nghe An province (Ky Son district).
Habitat, phenology and conservation status
Terrestrial herb usually on humid steep mountain slopes covered with primary or secondary broad-leaved evergreen forests on sandstone or shale at elevations 2000–2300 m a.s.l.
Plants grown from seeds flower in July – August in cultivation.
IUCN Red List status tentatively assessed as LC.