Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Viscum monoicum Roxb. ex DC., Prodr. 4: 278. 1830; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5: 224. 1886. V. benghalense Roxb. ex Wight & Arn., Prodr. Fl. Ind. Orient. 1: 379. 1834. V. edgeworthii Brandis, Ind. Trees 552. 1906. V. orientale Talbot, Forest Fl. Bombay & Sind 2: 421. 1911 (non Willd., 1806).


Tam.: Pullurivi.

Monoecious, evergreen, semiparasitic shrubs, 30 - 75 cm long, drooping from branches and trunks of the host, much branched; a pair of prophylls, usually indistinct, present at the base of every branch. Leaves normal, subsessile, opposite, asymmetric, elliptic to lanceolate, attenuate at base, acute or acuminate at apex, thinly coriaceous, entire or wavy along margins, dull or slightly shiny, palmately 5-nerved from the base. Inflorescence cymose at the axils of the leaves, aggregated at nodes, up to 6 at each node, sessile or subsessile; peduncle up to 2 mm long, bearing a boat-shaped pair of connate acute bracts of 1 mm length at its apex, enclosing a cluster of 3 flowers, the central one being male, the laterals female or all flowers female. Male flowers: sessile, oblong, ca 2 x 1 mm; perianth lobes 4, subcordate at base, ca 1.2 x 1 mm, bearing an anther on its inner surface; stamens 4:anthers 2-loculed, attached to the inner side of the perianth lobes. Female flowers: clavate or obovate, ca 2.5 x 1 mm; perianth with 4 triangular lobes, ca 1 x 0.7 mm; ovary inferior; style short; stigma capitate. Fruits usually oblong, attenuate to rounded at base, truncate at apex, green, glossy, smooth, 4 - 6 x 2 - 3 mm.

Fl. & Fr. Almost throughout the year.

Distrib. India: Starting from the northeast, extending to the central India and further towards west and southwards to South India and Sri Lanka. Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar. China, Vietnam and Thailand.

Notes. The plant is a powerful narcotic and is poisonous to animals. The leaves of this species parasitic on Strychnos nux-vomica possess poisonous properties, more or less similar to that of the host. They are dried and used as a substitute for the medicinal chemicals, strychnine and brucine, obtained from Strychnos trees.




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