Dwarf or medium-sized perennial herbs. Leaves 3–4 x pinnately divided, triangular in outline; ultimate segments ovate or linear-lanceolate; glabrous above, often pubescent below. Umbels compound, rays numerous; bracts linear or sometimes pinnatifid. Calyx teeth small, linear, unequal. Petals obovate, emarginate, somewhat unequal. Fruit ovoid, usually greatly dorsally compressed, lateral ribs winged, dorsal ribs prominent to narrowly winged; vittae 1(–3) per dorsal furrow, 2–3 per lateral furrow, 4–6 on the commissural (inner) face.
Note: A complex genus where large ranges of variation in morphology have clouded specific limits. The rather poor herbarium specimens on which early names have been based compound the problems. The situation in Bhutan has been greatly enlightened by detailed field observations and quality herbarium collections by John Woods. These plants have been equated with the names S. tenuifolium and S. candollii, but the situation in Sikkim (and the rest of the Sino-Himalayan region) can only be provisional awaiting further work.
Non-fruiting specimens can be confused
with Ligusticum, which usually has
hairs on the upper surface of the leaves and rather longer hairs around
the nodes and base of umbel. Also compare with Pleurospermum
Selinum wallichianum (DC.) Raizada & H.O.Saxena
Selinum tenuifolium C.B.ClarkeVernacular Name: Rabe (Bhutanese Drug Name), Tsed (Medicinal name)
Foetid herb 50–95(–120)cm high, with a stout tap-root and erect or ascending stem, surrounded by fibrous leaf remains at base; stem 3–6mm thick, ridged, usually suffused purple, densely whitish puberulent (at least in upper parts), upper parts sparingly leafy. Leaves 3-pinnate, ultimate segments ovate-oblong, deeply pinnatifid, lobes acute 0.8–1.2mm broad; basal leaves to 40 x 20cm (including petiole), usually finely pubescent on the rachis and veins beneath; petioles to 25cm long, with narrow sheathing base c 1.5cm broad (c 8mm broad in upper leaves). Main umbels 6–8cm across, 15–22(–30)-rayed; rays densely to moderately white papillose-puberulent, 2–3.5cm in flower, elongating to 5cm and ascending in fruit; bracts linear, occasionally forked, rarely pinnatifid, 0.8–2cm, early falling; umbellules c 1cm across; bracteoles linear-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate c 8 x 0.5–1.4mm, white margined with papillose to hispid pubescence or almost glabrous, recurved or not after flowering; pedicels 5–6mm, papillose pubescent. Calyx teeth to 1mm. Petals white, c 1.5–2 x 1mm, somewhat unequal. Style 0.8mm. Fruit elliptic to circular in outline, 3–5 x 2.2-3.5mm; dorsal ribs prominent, scarcely winged, laterals with wing 0.5–0.7mm broad; lateral furrows 2-vittate, dorsal furrows 2-vittate, 4 vittae on commissural face.
district (Barshong to Dotena, Darkey Pang Tso, Dechencholing to Begana,
Motithang, Paro, Samakha, Serbitang, Talukah Gompah, Thimphu); N—Upper
Mo Chu district (Laya, Zambuthang) and Upper Pho Chu district (Chojo Dzong).
Ecology: Open, well-drained rough grassland, yak pasture, tracksides, in coniferous forest clearings, scrubland, etc., 2300–4000m. Flowers July–September.
Specimen List 
Note: Common in eastern Bhutan, the roots used medicinally for treating coughs and colds.
The above descripition is entirely based on Bhutanese material. Finer-leaved specimens from Nepal and the W Himalaya have been attributed to var. filicifolia (Edgeworth) C.B.Clarke, but this has not been seen in Sikkim.
Selinum candollii DC.
Similar to S. tenuifolium, but differing as follows. Plant more vigourous, usually 75–125cm tall with stouter more obviously hollow stem 6–15mm thick; stem mainly glabrous, only puberulent immediately below the umbels and around the leaf nodes, also suffused purple, but more often green. Leaves more finely and sparsely divided with ultimate segments or lobes narrower, lanceolate-acuminate 0.4–0.6mm wide; petiole with a wider sheathing base to 2–3cm across. Main umbels many-rayed, 10–15(–22)cm across with 35–50 rays; rays elongating to 8.5cm in fruit and becomming erect, forming a dense fruiting head with concave sides at maturity; bracts and bracteoles more often forked and more densely pubescent, occasionally pinnatifid. Fruit 6–6 x 2.5–3mm usually oblong-elliptic in outline; lateral wings c 0.7mm wide, dorsal ribs narrowly winged; lateral furrows 1–3-vittate, dorsal furrows 1(–3)-vittate, 4–6 vittae on commissural face.
district (Daga La); C—Thimphu district (Chiwdokha Gompa, Phajoding,
Pumola, Talukah Gompah, Thimphu, Wang Chu Gorge).
Ecology: Lush, moist clearings in Abies forests, riverine gorges, rich yak pasture, around human settlement (nitrophile?), 3200–4000m. Flowers August–September.
Illustration [Fig. 51 a,b]
Specimen List 
Note: Athough morphologically rather similar to the more common S. tenuifolium, S. candollii has a clearly distinct habitat preference. Western Himalayan material appears to have leaves with broader segments and broader leaf sheaths.
Selinum papyraceum C.B.Clarke
Similar to S. tenuifolium, but differing as follows. A rather slender plant with stems glabrous to minutely puberulent (particularly around nodes), 5–9mm thick at base, usually leafy to the base of the umbels. Leaves to 28 x 24cm in outline, often rather less pinnatifid, the ovate segments 3–6 x 2–3mm with a serrate margin, lobes acute, glabrous (sometimes puberulent around rachis nodes); petioles with a distinctive broad, puberulous sheathing base, those of the upper leaves particularly conspicuous, 6–12mm broad and rather longer than the blade. Main umbel 6–12cm across, 17–35-rayed; rays 2.5–5cm in flower, extending slightly in fruit, hispid pubescent/puberulent; pedicels hispid puberulent, 6–10mm long in fruit; bracts linear, 10–25mm long, sometimes forked at the end; bracteoles linear to linear-lanceolate, 5–10 x 0.5–1mm, hispid pubescent, strongly deflexed after flowering. Calyx teeth as long as stylopodium, c 0.5mm. Petals to 2 x 1.5mm. Fruit elliptic-oblong in outline with emarginate ends, 4–5 x 2.5–3.5mm;lateral wings 1–1.5mm broad, dorsal ribs narrowly winged.
Sikkim: Chiya Bhanjang, Dzongri.
Ecology: Mountain pasture?, 3000–3400m. Flowers August–October.
Specimen List 
Note: This unusual species has mainly been collected from the summit of Tanglu.