Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 July 2021 | 13(8): 19185–19188



ISSN 0974-7907 (Online) | ISSN 0974-7893 (Print)

#6686 | Received 08 September 2020 | Final received 15 April 2021 | Finally accepted 22 June 2021



On the rediscovery of a rare root parasite Gleadovia ruborum Gamble & Prain (Orobanchaceae) from Uttarakhand, western Himalaya, India


Amit Kumar 1, Navendu V. Page 2, Bhupendra S. Adhikari 3, Manoj V. Nair 4 & Gopal S. Rawat 5


1,2,3,5 Wildlife Institute of India, Chandrabani, Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248002, India.

4 Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand 248179, India.

1, 2, 3 (corresponding author), 4,



Editor: Anonymity requested.   Date of publication: 26 July 2021 (online & print)


Citation: Kumar, A., N.V. Page, B.S. Adhikari, M.V. Nair & G.S. Rawat (2021). On the rediscovery of a rare root parasite Gleadovia ruborum Gamble & Prain (Orobanchaceae) from Uttarakhand, western Himalaya, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 13(8): 19185–19188.


Copyright: © Kumar et al. 2021. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  JoTT allows unrestricted use, reproduction, and distribution of this article in any medium by providing adequate credit to the author(s) and the source of publication.


Funding: Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.


Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: The authors are thankful to the director and dean, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun for providing necessary facilities. 


The family Orobanchaceae Vent. comprising ca. 2,060 species under 90 genera are distributed across all continents except Antarctica (McNeal et al. 2013).  Commonly known as the broomrape family, Orobanchaceae includes holoparasites (non-photosynthetic) that depend on their hosts and hemi-parasites (photosynthetic), most of which were earlier kept in Scrophulariaceae.  Pedicularis L. with ca. 600 species (Li et al. 2019) followed by Euphrasia L. (250–300 species), Castilleja Mutis ex L.f. (200–210 species), Buchnera L. (130–140 species), and Orobanche L. (80–100 species) are the largest genera under this family (POWO).  The genus Gleadovia Gamble & Prain, a member of Orobanchaceae is native to the western and eastern Himalaya in India and southwestern Yunnan to western Hunan, China.  Described by J.S. Gamble and D. Prain in 1900, Gleadovia is currently represented by four species namely G. ruborum Gamble & Prain (type species; Uttarakhand in western Himalaya, India and China: 1900), G. mupinensis Hu (China: 1939), G. banerjiana Deb (Manipur, India: 1957) and G. konyakianorum Odyuo, D.K. Roy & Aver. (Nagaland, India: 2017).

During a recent floristic exploration (June–July 2020) in and around Surkanda in the outer Himalayan range of Uttarakhand, western Himalaya, an interesting plant species of family Orobanchaceae was observed.  Detailed study of the characters observed in the field, scrutiny of literature (Gamble & Prain 1900; Issar 1966; Wu & Raven 1998; Agarwal 2017; Roy 2017) and examination of online herbarium specimens at Kew (J.S. Gamble, 26949K! (K000999865 and K000999866)) and DD (Osmaston, 23093; Charlton Thomas, 20794) revealed that the taxon is a rare root parasite, Gleadovia ruborum, a species previously known only from three localities (Figure 1).  The species was originally collected by M.F. Gleadov in 1898 and later described by J.S. Gamble and D. Prain in 1900 from Bodyar (Budher) near Chakrata, Uttarakhand.  The species was recollected from the same locality by Osmaston in 1900.  Later, it was also collected by Charlton Thomas in 1951 from Balate valley in eastern Almora (now in Pithoragarh district), Kumaon and Ramesh Bedi in 1964 (GKV 1234) from Yamuna Forest Division, Garhwal (Issar 1966).

The plant specimen of G. ruborum along with roots of the host, Rubus pedunculosus has been preserved (wet specimen) following standard methods and deposited at the herbarium of the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun (WII).  Detailed information on the distribution range, known host, habitat, elevation range and phenology of Gleadovia species are provided in Table 1.

Gleadovia ruborum Gamble & Prain, J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, Pt. 2, Nat. Hist. 69(2): 489 (1900).

Type: Northwestern Himalaya. Bodyar Jaunsar, 2,500–3,000 m; on the northern slopes in very shady forest of Fir and Deodar on the roots of wild Raspberry Rubus niveus; very scarce, Gleadov! Gamble! Duthie! Duthie’s collectors!

Lectotype (Roy 2017): India. Erstwhile Uttar Pradesh Hills (now Uttarakhand): northwestern Himalaya, Jaunsar, Bodyar (on the northern slopes in very shady woods of Fir and Deodar), 2,500–3,000 m,  June 1898, J.S. Gamble 26949-K! (K000999865); Isolectotypes-K! (K000999866); CAL! (Acc. No. 329959).

Fleshy, root-parasitic herb 10–18 cm high. Rootstock bulbous and swollen at the point of attachment with the host root.  Stem largely sub-terranean, with ovate scales; lower scales rounded, upper oblong and sometimes bifid.  Flowers in dense corymbose or paniculate inflorescences at the end of stem.  Pedicel stout ca. 0.8cm long.  Bracts solitary, ca. 1.5 cm long, sheathing, rounded; bracteoles two, 1.5–2.5 cm long, spatulate, acute, concave.  Calyx 2.5–3 cm long, light red, tubular, somewhat inflated, equally five-lobed, lobes rounded, divided to less than half the tube length.  Corolla up to 5 cm long, white at the base, reddish towards the apex, with dark longitudinal veins; tube much longer than the calyx, slightly curved, two-lipped; upper lip of two connate, rounded, lobes; lower lip of three narrow, acute lobes.  Stamens 4; filaments bent at point of insertion; anthers spurred, connectives produced beyond the anther lobes, 3-fid at the apex.  Ovary one-celled, ovate. Style shorter than the filaments; stigma of two fleshy, semi-orbicular lobes depressed in the centre; placenta 2 pairs, free below and above, confluent in the middle; ovules numerous.  Seeds numerous, minute.

Etymology: Genus Gleadovia is dedicated to M.F. Gleadov who was first to discover it in 1898 and ruborum refers to red corolla with darker veins.

Specimen examined: 22201 (WII, wet collection of flowers),, India, Uttarakhand, Surkanda hill near Mussoorie of Tehri Garhwal district, 30.4150N, 78.2800E, 2,450 m, coll. N. Page, A. Kumar, B.S. Adhikari & G.S. Rawat; 22202 (WII, wet collection of the fruiting specimen along with rootstock of host plant), 08.vii.2020, India, Uttarakhand, Surkanda hill near Mussoorie of Tehri District, 30.4150N, 78.2800E, 2,450m, coll. N. Page, A. Kumar, B.S. Adhikari & G.S. Rawat (Image 1).

Distribution range, host, and habitat: G. ruborum was first recorded in shady forest at Bodyar or Budher in Jaunsar, Dehradun district at 2,500 m above mean sea level by M.F. Gleadov in 1898 (Gamble & Prain 1900).  Interestingly, it shows disjunct distribution as it has also been reported in northern Guangxi, Hubei, western Hunan and southwestern Yunnan areas of China (Hu 1939; eflora China).  Notably, it has not been recorded anywhere else from India and China (Agarwal 2017).  Issar (1966), Roy (2017), and Osmaston (1900) had recorded Glaedovia ruborum on the roots of Rubus pedunculosus (R. niveus Wall. ex. Hook; Agarwal 2017).  Agarwal (2017) studied the flora of Chakrata hills in detail but he could not locate populations of G. ruborum in its type locality despite best efforts.  In Surkanda (the new locality), all the four individuals were recorded on the roots of Rubus pedunculosus in Abies pindrow-Quercus floribunda forest at 2,450 m on northern slopes.  The common species recorded in the vicinity (314 m2) of Gleadovia were Quercus floribunda, Abies pindrow, Viburnum cotinifolium, Daphne papyracea, Salix denticulata, Rosa macrophylla, Hypericum oblongifolium, Senecio rufinervis, Roscoea purpurea, and Geranium wallichianum.

Conservation status: G. ruborum has been assessed as ‘rare’ and ‘extremely rare’ by Issar (1966) and Agarwal (2017), respectively.  The IUCN conservation status of this species is yet to be assessed.

In the current communication, we report a new locality of G. ruborum at 2,450 m in Surkanda near Mussoorie of Tehri Garhwal district, Uttarakhand.  The present collection marks the rediscovery of the species after a gap of 57 years from a new locality in the Uttarakhand, western Himalaya.  The new location is approximately 60km from the type locality.  Intensive surveys in the right season, in temperate and sub-alpine shady moist forests with a dense undergrowth of Rubus pedunculosus may yield more distributional records and better understanding of its distributional range.


Table 1. Distribution range, habitat, host, elevation range, and phenology of Gleadovia species.


Distribution range



Elevation (m)

Flowering (fl.) and fruiting (fr.)


Gleadovia ruborum

Chakrata (Budher) and Mussoorie hills (Surkanda) in Uttarakhand, western Himalaya, India

Northern slopes in very shady Cedrus deodara - Abies pindrow and Abies pindrow - Quercus floribunda forests

Roots of wild raspberry, Rubus pedunculosus


Jun–Jul (fl.), Jul–Aug (fr.)

Gamble & Prain (1900), Issar (1966), Agarwal (2017), Roy (2017), present study

Southwestern Yunnan to western Hunan, China

Temperate rainforest under bamboo; humid places in forests or thickets

Not ascertained


Apr–Aug (fl.),

Aug–Oct (fr.)

Gamble & Prain (1900), Wu & Raven (1998)

Gleadovia mupinensis

Southcentral and Southeastern China

Roadsides, forests and humid places

Not ascertained


Apr–Jul (fl.)

Hu (1939), Wu & Raven (1998)

Gleadovia banerjiana

Koubru hill, Manipur, India


Roots of Strobilanthes discolor



Deb (1956)

Gleadovia konyakianorum

Nagaland, India

Semi-evergreen forest

Roots of Strobilanthes sp.


Apr (fl)

Odyuo et al. (2017)



For figure & image - - click here





Agarwal, S.K. (2017). Flora of Jaunsar-Bawar (Chakrata Hills, Western Himalaya): with ethno-botanical notes. Bishen Singh Mahendra Pal Singh, Dehradun, 1001pp.

Deb, D.B. (1957). A new species of Gleadovia Gamble et Prain from Manipur. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 54(3): 799–801.

Gamble, J.S. & D. Prain (1900). Description of a new Himalayan genus of Orobanchaceae. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 69(2): 488–489.

Hu, H.H. (1939). On the genus Gleadovia in China. Sunyatsenia 4(1–2): 1–9.

Issar, R.K. (1966). A note on the occurrence of Gleadoviaruborum a rare Himalayan genus. The Indian Forester 92(2): 131–132.

Li, X., H. Wang, L. De-Zhu & Y. Wen-Bin (2019). Taxonomic and nomenclatural notes on Pedicularis (Orobanchaceae): I. One new species from north-west Yunnan, China. Phytokeys 130: 205–215.

McNeal, J.R., J.R. Bennett, A.D. Wolfe & S. Mathews (2013). Phylogeny and origins of holoparasitism in Orobanchaceae. American Journal of Botany 100(5): 971–983.

Plants of the World Online (POWO). Available from (accessed 1 April, 2021).

Roy, D.K. (2017). Lectotypification of the name Gleadoviaruborum Gamble & Prain (Orobanchaceae). Phytotaxa 323(2): 197–198.

Wu, Z.Y. & P.H. Raven (eds.) (1998). Flora of China (Scrophulariaceae through Gesneriaceae). Science Press, Beijing and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis, 241pp.