A Revision of the Genus Astragalus L (Leguminosae Papilionoideae) in India
This book presents a comprehensive taxonomic account of the most difficult and largest genus of angiosperm Astragalus of the family Leguminosae in India. Astragalus is chiefly distributed in the cold desert regions of the Himalaya. This is the first revisionary study on the genus in independent India. It is the outcome of extensive field survey and examination of large number of herbarium specimens housed at various herbaria. The present work includes 79 species of Astragalus found in the present political boundary of India. The detail taxonomic account such as nomenclature, description, phenology, habitat, distribution, list of specimens examined etc. have been provided for each species. In addition, taxonomic notes on nomenclature, variation pattern, distribution etc. have also been given wherever found necessary. Large numbers of colour and black and white photographs of the habit of the plants provided in the book further enhanced the quality of the work. All species have been grouped into 28 sections following recent classification. Each section has been briefly characterized and taxonomic keys to the sections and species within the sections have been provided for quick identification. A recently segregated genus from Astragalus, Phyllolobium with four species has also been dealt separately at the end of work for the sake of convenience as people may search these species here due to their long placement in Astragalus. This book would be quite useful for the students of botany, molecular taxonomy, palynology, anatomy etc. to take up the genus for further studies to resolve its complex taxonomy and phylogeny. Some of the species of Astragalus are the source of the commercial gum tragacanth and they are highly medicinal. Astragalus malacophyllus is a well known drug as Rudanti or Rudravanti used for tuberculosis, skin diseases, coughs and blood purifier in India. Astragalus root is also a well known drug in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient time and large numbers of products have been developed on it. Hence, this book will also serve as reference for those who are involved in drug discovery research.'