J Syst Evol ›› 1979, Vol. 17 ›› Issue (4): 61-71.
• Research Articles •
The present paper is an attempt to propose a preliminary taxomomic treatment of
the genus Hippolytia Poljak. and to analyse the geographical distribution of its composite elements.
This small genus with 17 species is divided into 2 sections, namely, section
Anthodesma Shih and section Hippolytia. Anthodesma is a small section with 3 species
and is characterized by fascicled corymbs, campanulate and nitid involucres, rigidly
herbaceous phyllaries, and undershrubs, while Hippolytia consisting of 14 species is
characterized by corymbose inflorescence or glomerules or compund heads, cuneate and
unpolished involucres, herbaceous phyllaries with pitch black margines.
There are 12 species of Hippolytia in China, of which 3 are proposed as new in the
Regarding the distribution pattern of Hippolytia, it is noteworthy to note that its
range of distribution forms a more or less U-shape as shown in map 2. It may be seen
that Hippolytia distributes in Central Asia-Sino-Himalaya-Median Asia. Section Anthodesma Shih occurs in central Asia, while section Hippolytia in the whole Himalayan
region and northern Meridional Ranges and Median Asia.
There seems to be no center of species concentration within the total range of
Hippolytia, whose species are localized in distribution, for example, H. desmantha Shih
is known only from Qinghai provence (Yu-Shu-Hsien), H. alashanensis (Ling) Shih
is restricted to Ninghsia and central part of Kansu provence. It is interesting to note
that H. yunnanensis (J. F. Jeffrey) Shih and H. longifolia (Wall.) Shih are referred
to as vicarious species. The localization of the species distribution and the obvious
discontinuity of morphological characters between species indicate a remarkable geographical influence on the species formation of Hippolytia.
Hippolytia is an alpine genus of temperate zone of Asia, in which 64 per cent of
species occurs at high elevations of above 3300m. altitude, 30 per cent of species are
distributed in middle elevations of above 2200m. altitude. The life forms are microundershrubs, erect perennial herbs, glomerule stemless herbs or stemless herbs. It is very
possible that its geographical origin and development may be linked up with occurance
of desert steppe, especially of alpine meadow vegetations in the northern temperate
zone of Asia.
With regard to the geographical elements to which each species of Hippolytia
belongs, it seems to indicate that H. trifida (Turcz.) Poljak., H. alashanensis (Ling)
Shih and H. desmantha Shih belong to the geographical elements of central Asia,
while H. yunnanensis (J. F. Jeffrey) Shih, H. glomerata Shih, H. tomentosa (DC.)
Tzvel., H. senecionis (Bess.) Poljak. H. longifolia (Wall.) Shih, H. kennedayi (Dunn)
Ling, H. syncalathiformis Shih, H. gossypina (Hook. f. et Thoms.) Shih and H. nana
(C. B. Clarke) Shih to Himalayan elements, and H. darvasica (C. Winkl.) Poljak., H.
megacephala (Rupr.) Poljak,, H. herderi (Rgl. et Schmalh.) Poljak. to Median Asia, H.
delavayi (W. W. Smith) Shih to North-West-Yunna.
Shih Chu. A taxonomic study of the genus Hippolytia Poljak.. J Syst Evol, 1979, 17 (4): 61-71.
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