Megacarpaea polyandra Benth. ex Madden, Hooker’s J. Bot. Kew Gard. Misc. 7: 356 1855.;


Robust, much branched perennial herbs or undershrubs, sparsely pubescent with simple short trichomes or glabrous, up to 60 cm tall. Rootstocks thick, taproot. Stem erect, simple near the base, branched above. Leaves oblanceolate to oblong in outline, with linear lanceolate-oblong lobes, about 30-60 x 15-25 cm across, margin deeply bipinnately dissected, segments 6-12, irregularly serrate-dentate, apex acute, long petiolate, cauline leaves usually gradually smaller, about 10-30 x 5-25 cm across base auriculate, margins pinnately lobed, lobes lanceolate, petiole short, flattened, sometimes spongy. Inflorescence panicle racemes, much branched, strongly recurved, densely many flowered, densely pubescent, elongated in fruit, up to 25 cm long in fruit, ebracteate. Flowers usually bisexual rarely monoecious with lower female flowers and upper male flowers, white, pale yellow, lilac, pedicel erect, filiform, divaricate, stout, slender, ascending, sepals 4, elliptic-obovate, deciduous, inner lateral pair base not saccate, about 3.5-5 x 3-3.5 mm across, petals 4, obovate-oblong to spathulate, base attenuate, margins entire or 3-5 dentate, about 3.5-5.5 x 2-3 mm across, claw about 1-2 mm long. Stamens 8-12, filaments dilated near the base, about 4-5 mm long, anthers linear-oblong, about 0.9-1.3 mm long, nectar glands confluent, near the bases of stamens, semiannular, median glands present. Ovary superior, orbicular, bicarpellary, ovules 2. Fruit silicles, indehiscent, obovate-oblong, about 3-3.5 x 2.5-2.8 cm across, flattened or compressed, bilobed or longitudinally divided into 2, single seeded diverging oblong halves, rarely 1 abortive, base and apex almost equally notched, shortly stipitate or sessile, angustiseptate, broadly winged, replum rounded, septum narrow complete, style obsolete or short, stigma capitate, disciform, obscurely bilobed. Seeds 1 per locule, dark brown, compressed or flattened, orbicular-obovate, about 1.5 x 0.8 cm across, minutely reticulate, not mucilaginous when soaked, cotyledons accumbent.

Himalayan valley slopes, near streams and rivers, altitude about
Megacarpaea species flowers are complete, bisexual, i.e., with functional male (androecium) and female (gynoecium), including stamens, carpels and ovary, rarely monoecious. Pollination is entomophilous i.e., by insects, or cleistogamy i.e., by self or allogamy i.e., by cross pollination. Flowering/Fruiting: May—August.
2250-3900 m
Asia: China, India, Nepal, Pakistan

(Attributions- Ganeshaiah, K. N., UAS, Bangalore, India.; Kailash, B. R., ATREE, Bangalore, India.; Royal Norwegian Embassy grants. Indian Bioresource Information Network (IBIN), Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi, India. from India Biodiversity Portal )               




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Fwd: Fwd: Megacarpaea polyandra : 12 posts by 5 authors. Attachments (1)

Since we are looking at tall umbellifers at present incl. Angelicas, thought of sharing this.
I attach a single image scanned in from a not especially good slide taken of a plant in cultivation by Alastair McKelvie in the UK.
Looks like a first for eFI, so this is especially useful.
I have never ‘encountered’ Megacarpaea polyandra in the Himalaya myself.
Flowers of Himalaya says open slopes, light forests @ 3000-4300m from Kashmir to C.Nepal.
Stewart recorded 2 species from N.Pakistan and Kashmir:
M.bifida – N.Pakistan
M.polyandra – Kashmir, where he said it was used for greens; 3000-3900m. Records from Khelanmarg and ‘W.Tibet’.
M.polyandra is not mentioned in ‘Plants of Gulmarg’ Naqshi, Singh & Koul.
Has it been seen in Uttarakhand in recent years?  It is given in a Supplementary List of plants collected by Holdsworth in the ‘Valley of Flowers’ and Upper Garwhal within the book ‘The Valley of Flowers’.


Yes it is new for eFI. Thank you for sending this.
It is not so uncommon and its absence in eFI is a bit surprising. I have seen it in a plenty in Dalisera Alpine zone where it characteristically grow under the canopy of Rhododendron campanulatum. At other places it may grow on steep subalpine and alpine meadows. I have even eaten leaves as green vegetable (it is edible) and tastes like other brassicaceae members but with a little more pungency. Root is fusiform and medicinal.


Thanks for your interesting comments …
Hopefully, members can now spot and post better, digital images including quality close-ups of this plant. I find many Apiaceae have attractive or at least curious parts to them, well worth showing in detail – as I do when giving digital presentations on ‘Wild Flowers of Britain’ to audiences in the UK. I will check my images of UK members of this family and if any exhibiting such characteristics belong to genera or, ideally, species found in the Himalaya, may post some.
Many people in the UK will “dismiss” or walk past plants belonging to particular families or genera viewing them of rather ‘weedy appearance’ missing genuine beauty if they examined them more closely.
I have been “Hit” by the additional detail my digital images bring when examining UK plants closely in the past couple of years compared
with what I had seen with the naked eye and hand lens back in the 1980s when I worked for a couple of years a field-surveyor of plants. I
also notice the extra detail I can see compared with the books published at that time containing photographs of British Wild Flowers. How fortunate we are nowadays.


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I have dug up a couple of images I clicked at altitude of about 4000 m asl in September 2014 while on a trek to a high altitude lake in Shimla district of Himachal Pradesh. I am attaching these two images I think are of Megacarpaea polyandraAttachments (2)


Yes both are M.polyandra in fruiting state. First picture show the habitat among the R.campanulatum.


I enjoyed your images particularly the one showing the pods so well combined with a distant view of the mountains.  Such ‘habitat’ shots are so informative – it really is important to know and understand the conditions under which a plant grows, rather than just its identity.  Such insights are often completely missing from pressed specimens in herbaria (regardless of their quality) as accompanying field notes are so often minimal to zero and even when detailed cannot match what a good photo imparts.
Field experience and knowledge is under-valued and something contributing members of this group can contribute much valuable information towards by posting their images.
Do share more such images of a variety of species with us.  My compliments.
As to identity. The broadly winged fruits appear quite distinctive (not that I have gone into the Brassicaceae family in any detail yet) and as far as is thought at present, only 1 species to consider – which always comes as a relief! Of course we must always STEEL ourselves for a future revision to recognise additional taxa. Plus someone check that there has not been a nomenclatural or taxonomic change as far as genus or family is concerned….


Thanks for the compliments. I sure will try to contribute more such images of high Himalayan plants. 


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 I am posting my collection of Megacarpaea from 4200m altitude in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand. Looks different from other posts. It is locally called Rugee and is eaten as a vegetable by persons who go to collect cordyceps.


I was interested to learn of the use of Megacarpaea in the Pthoragarh district.
I first got to know about Cordyceps when working as a consultant to The Royal Government of Bhutan.  Prior to my visit I was sent a partial list of PLANT species utilised in Bhutanese Medicine which included Cordyceps.  I had never heard of this and could not find it is any reference books on FLOWERING PLANTS – with very good reason I subsequently discovered because, of course, it is not!!
Thanks for sending the image (which is a very good one) but single images are often difficult to work with when comparing with other postings. PLEASE ensure on future occasions you photograph close-up the flowers (front and back), upper and lower/basal leaves (upper and lower surfaces), habit and habitat.
In what ways do you consider the specimen you photographed to be different?
The flowers in your specimen are most in bud which makes it hard to match them and of course the most distinctive feature of Megacarpaea is the fruits.
I have never seen the plant in the wild.
Only one species of this genus has been recorded from the Himalaya to-date. Were you thinking your specimen might belong to a different species to M.polyandra or not belong to the Megacarpaea genus at all?

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