Col di Tenda Galium

Galium tendae Rchb.

Galium tendae Rchb. | APAM Archive

Appearance

Herbaceous plant, perennial, 7-15 cm tall with short stolons and ascending stems, smooth, glabrous, a slightly rigid, few branches, with short internodes, forming little dense pads, with a compact appearance, shiny green, blackening as it dries.
Leaves spatulate, linear-lanceolate or linear, somewhat fleshy, rigid and completely glabrous, epidermis with oily lucidity and cartilaginous apex, obtuse, never hyaline, up to 1.5 mm wide and 5-9 mm long, with a well distinct median nerve along the length of the leaf, equal in the sterile and fertile stems, with stipules identical to the foliar lamina and therefore leaves apparently verticillate, 6-10.
Flowers hermaphrodite and actinomorphic, tetrameric and tetracyclic, on thin and more or less divergent peduncles at the flowering, patent to the fruitiness, at the axil of narrow bract leaves, forming a shortened, poor and leafy, panicle-like inflorescence; calyx with almost null flap, obscurely toothed; rotated corolla with almost null tube, of 2.5-3 mm diameter, yellowish-white; 4 stamens inserted at the base of the corolla, inferior bilocular ovary, 2 styles, more or less fused at the base, each one terminated by a capitated stigma. Fruit smooth or slightly wrinkled, 2-2.5 mm long, composed of 2 joined mericarp, each containing one seed adhering to the pericarp.


Flowering

July-August.


Habitat

Siliceous cliffs from 1600 to 3000 metres above sea level.


Distribution

Sub-endemic species, present in the Maritime and Cottian Alps on both the Italian and French sides.


Etymology

The name of the genus comes from the Greek gála, "milk". The specific epithet derives from Tenda, a French town in the Maritime Alps on the border with Italy at Col di Tenda.


Property and uses

As the name implies, this plant was once used as a vegetable rennet to make cheese.



Endemism: Endemic species are animals or plants living exclusively in a given territory. When this is very limited, we speak of "restricted" endemism. "Endemic" is not necessarily synonymous with "rare": rare species may have few individuals distributed over large areas, an endemic species can also be abundant in a given area, but be limited to that single territory.