Elsholtzia pilosa

Elsholtzia pilosa (Benth.) Benth., Labiat. Gen. Spec. 163 1833. (Syn: Aphanochilus pilosus Benth.; Dysophylla mairei H.Lév.);

amit uid 1 06092016 : 8 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (1)
Please find attached photo of Elsholtzia sp. Kindly identify the same.
collected from Chopta, Chamoli, Uttarakhand 02.09.2016 altitude about 2000 m
Elsholtzia species in eFloraofindia (with details/ keys from published papers/ regional floras/ FRLHT/ FOI/ Biotik/ efloras/ books etc., where ever available on net)
Looks like E. pilosa.
Your plant looks very similar to mine at "Lamiaceae for ID ABSEP2016/33”. You had suggested Elsholtzia strobilifera as a possible ID. Please advise.
efi page on Elsholtzia strobilifera & Elsholtzia pilosa ?
Thanks for the beautiful photo!
The Elsholtzia strobilifera and E. pilosa belong to different sections. In the former the Inflorescence strobiliform spike, bracts cup-shaped connate and persistent; where as in E. pilosa the Bracts longer than or as long as flowers (4 – 6 mm) midrib stout, pilose. Indeed the entire plant would be pilose (dense indumentum).
In the photo I could not see any cup shaped connate bracts, but the plant is densely hairy, I feel it is E. pilosa only.

Lamiaceae for ID ABSEP2016/33 : 13 posts by 4 authors. 3 images.
  • The small spikes are reminiscent of Elsholtzia. Please help identify this.
  • Mcleodganj-Triund, HP 2500m 10-11 September 2016
    looks like Elsholtzia strobilifera
    Thank you once again!
  • Images of Elsholtzia strobilifera look different at
    In another thread, similar plant has been identified as E. pilosa
    Also looks close to images of this species at http://www.virboga.de/Elsholtzia_pilosa.htm

    It is Elsholtzia pilosa
    This is not E.strobilifera.  In this species the spike is one-sided with prominent bracts.
    It is not E.pilosa either. That species is "pilose" as the name suggests is covered with long soft hairs. It is only known from Kumaon to Bhutan (and on to China).  This is not an easy genus with a fair amount of confusion.
    Appears to be Elsholtzia densa to me; the flower spikes are dense +/- even.  Interestingly, this species is not in 'Flora Simlensis'.  Stewart found it to be common in fields and hedgerows @ 2400-4200m in Kashmir.  It is found in Ladakh.  I recently named an image of this species posted from Ladakh and ones sent to me from Gansu in China (where it is utilised medicinally).  It is also found in Lahoul.
    I am not convinced about the information and records for this genus in 'Flora of Lahaul-Spiti'.
    Thank you Chris for the explanation. I will keep it as Elsholtzia sp. (likely E. densa) for the moment.
    Since many of the species from my area are not easy to identify, I will be happy to collect as much evidence (photos) as possible. If we could come up with a short guide on what to photograph and what information to collect for a given species to aid identification, it would greatly help the non-experts in the field.

    Thanks, ...
    To me leaves do not match as per images of Elsholtzia densa at the following:
    I still feel it is closer to Elsholtzia pilosa as per

    Good that you questioned this.  Always be confident to do so. Nobody should ever object to someone checking or even challenging an identification (or full scientific 'determination'). I must admit to rather hastily deciding your plant was probably E.densa though I was not that sure - partly a matter of attempting to "fit it into existing species" recorded from your region. Progress has been made - see the very end.
    Elsholtzia is not any easy genus.  I am not that familiar with it yet.  I attach the pdf of the account of the genus in Flora of China just in case you do not have it (see attached) - which has more than 30 species to consider (though thankfully a majority are not found in India)!  Bear in mind that Chinese botanists have traditionally been what is known as "splitters" i.e. they are prone to sub-divide into species what British botanists (known as "clumpers") tend to treat as varieties or subspecies at most.  This is not absolute and a rather sweeping generalisation.
    There are 10 species of Elsholtzia listed for Nepal.
    Stewart lists 5 perhaps 6 in his catalogue.
    I am in agreement with you that the plant you photographed does not remotely match the images taken by Professor Boufford of Harvard in SW China.  I would generally consider one can have a high degree of confidence in Boufford's work. One must bear in mind that a species found all the way from the NW Himalaya to China is likely to vary.  I have seen images of e.g. Saussurea (a difficult genus) from the same region that Boufford photographed the Elsholtzia, named as species found in Ladakh which do not match the examples I have seen there.
    Looking properly at the images I named as E.densa from Ladakh the foliage does not come close to that of your plant!  I was not paying proper attention. It was a mistake to provisionally name your plant as E.densa.
    But what of your suggestion of E.pilosa, which I had originally dismissed - this has the complication of not having been recorded to the NW of what was Kumaon and according to FoC reddish flowers?
    So if your plant, which must be an Elsholtzia is not E.densa or E.pilosa nor E.strobilfera, then what is it? It is definitely not E.ciliata, E.fruticosa nor E.stachyodes.  That eliminates all the known possibilities.
    So let us return to your suggestion.  I don't think your plants match particularly well the image you gave links to.  But it is does seem close to a photo taken in Uttarakhand @ 2000m thought to probably be E.pilosa, see: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/indiantreepix/yqC1ZqgiSH0. Not that this is a guarantee your plant is this species.
    Your plant also comes close to: http://apps.kew.org/herbcat/getImage.do?imageBarcode=K000881687 - such a shame the Kew herbarium images are of such low resolution.  Not possible to zoom in and compare floral parts.
    However, there is also a specimen scanned in at Edinburgh, which provided you download as a full TIFF (this may take some time depending upon the speed of your computer) which will allow you to zoom in: http://elmer.rbge.org.uk/bgbase/vherb/bgbasevherb.php?cfg=bgbase/vherb/zoom.cfg&filename=E00275765.zip&queryRow=2.
    This is a big help except your photos do not show detail of the bracts, which can be seen on the dried specimen - albeit only the shape agreeing with the description of E.pilosa from the line drawing you gave a link to - one cannot see the ciliate margins.
    Unfortunately, one would still need to inspect the dried specimens with a hand lens (involving a visit to a herbarium that has a specimen of E.pilosa reliably named.  You can, in addition to taking more close-up images of the colony of your plant, using a hand lens (which I have recommended elsewhere) to inspect the bracts on the living specimens.
    Always remember, species are traditionally identified on the basis of characteristics which can be viewed (sometimes at x10 or x20 or higher magnification) not necessarily what can be viewed from a photo.
    Well done for looking more closely than I did - even though I am still not certain what it is.   Let me know what you think?
    Have you ever visited a herbarium? 
    Attachments (1) - elsholtzia of China.pdf

    The credit of this query goes to ... who tirelessly keeps checking new sources, discrepancies in older messages and posts queries on doubtful IDs for explanations. Many thanks are due to him.
    Thank you very much for again taking the time to explain this. We had only kept this provisionally as E. densa. I will hopefully be able to look at the bracts and shed more light on the subject.
    Till then we could leave it as Elsholtzia species.
    Thanks for clarifying this.  Yes it is impressive the professional efforts he puts in and lengths he goes to check nomenclature and latest taxonomic treatments - something I am not always good at just as proof-reading is not my forte!