Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Trees or shrubs, evergreen or deciduous, monoecious or dioecious; indumentum of stellate and sometimes simple hairs, usually mixed with sessile granular yellow, orange or red gland dots. Leaves alternate, subopposite or opposite, decussate, often unequal in size and shape at each node, entire or sometimes palmately lobed or toothed, penninerved or palmately 3 - 9- nerved and sometimes peltate at base, sometimes with hairy domatia, usually with discoid almost immersed glands near the base on upper surface; stipules minute, often caducous. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, simple or branched racemes or spikes. Male flowers: 1 – 9 per node; sepals 3 or 4, valvate; petals and disc absent; stamens 20 - 50 (- 150), free, crowded on a central flat or convex receptacle; anthers globose to oblong, basi- to dorsifixed; thecae parallel, often separated by wide thickened and widened connective; disc rarely present; pistillode minute or absent. Female flowers: solitary or rarely paired at nodes along the rachis; calyx spathaceous, deeply 3 - 6-lobed or minutely toothed at length; ovary (2 -) 3 (- 4)-loculed, rarely up to 5-loculed, usually echinate, muricate or tubercled; styles 2 or 3, simple, free or shortly connate at base, erecto-patent, spreading or recurved, papillose or laciniate. Fruits capsular, (2 -) 3 (- 4)-loculed, dehiscing into bivalved parts, tubercled, muricate or echinate; seeds usually 3, rarely 2, ovoid to oblong or globose, black to red, ecarunculate; testa crustaceous; endosperm fleshy; cotyledons broader than radicles.

Paleotropical, ca 135 species, of which only two are in Africa, the rest in Asia; 17 species in India.


1a . Leaves penninerved, not palmately nerved at base 2
b. Leaves palmately 3 - 9-nerved at base, penninerved above 7
2 a. Leaves strictly opposite 3
b. Leaves alternate or opposite in young shoots 4
3 a. Branchlets terete; leaves of each pair at each node unequal in size, one being of normal size and the other stipuliform 12. Mallotus penangensis
b. Branchlets flattened; leaves of each pair at each node equal and normal in size and shape 15. Mallotus resinosus
4 a. Leaves glandular or glands appressed on both surfaces; fruits smooth, neither echinate nor tubercled 1. Mallotus atrovirens
b. Leaves eglandular above; fruits echinate or tubercled 5
5 a. Anther-connective broad; mature fruits with hard conical spines 2. Mallotus aureo-punctatus
b. Anther-connective linear; mature fruits with soft spines 6
6 a. Fruits glandular 4. Mallotus beddomei
b. Fruits eglandular 7. Mallotus khasianus
7 a. Leaves opposite, epeltate 8
b. Leaves alternate, usually peltate, rarely epeltate 9
8 a. Leaves 5 - 25 x 3.5 - 15 cm; petioles 2 - 9 cm long; ovary and fruits smooth, not echinate 5. Mallotus distans
b. Leaves 18 - 30 x 15 - 25 cm; petioles 8 - 20 cm long; ovary and fruits echinate 8. Mallotus leucocarpus
9 a. Fruits smooth, not echinate or tubercled 10
b. Fruits echinate or tubercled 12
10 a. Leaves opposite and alternate, subglabrous beneath; male receptacle central; fruits minutely pale brown stellate tomentose; seeds brown 16. Mallotus rhamnifolius
b. Leaves alternate, tomentose beneath; male receptacle not central; fruits densely fulvous tomentose; seeds black 11
11 a. Leaves narrowly oblong-ovate, mostly twice as long as broad, with red granules beneath; stamens 15 - 30; styles 2; fruits 3 or 4-loculed, densely clothed with crimson-red resinous powder 13. Mallotus philippensis
b. Leaves broadly ovate-deltoid, mostly as long as broad, yellow tomentose and glandular beneath; stamens 40 - 80; styles 2; fruits 2-loculed, densely fulvous tomentose, not with red resinous powdery glands 14. Mallotus repandus
12 a. Stamens 45 - 100; female calyx persistent in fruit 13
b. Stamens 17 - 42; female calyx caducous 16
13 a. Leaves shortly 3-lobed; basal nerves 9 or 11; spine-layer on fruits continuous 3. Mallotus barbatus
13 a. Leaves not 3-lobed; basal nerves 3 or 5 (rarely 9); spine-layer on fruits not continuous 14
14 a. Spikes simple 10. Mallotus nepalensis
b. Spikes branched 15
15 a. Inflorescences simple or compound spikes; rachis of spikes stout, 5 - 8 mm thick; male bracts linear to linear-lanceolate or subulate 9. Mallotus mollissimus
b. Inflorescences axillary or terminal pyramidal panicles; rachis of spikes less than 2 mm thick; male bracts ovate to ovate-triangular 6. Mallotus ferrugineus
16 a. Leaves nearly oblong to elliptic or ovate-elliptic, 10 – 35 cm long; lateral nerves 5 – 10 pairs; racemes 6 – 22 cm long, much shorter than the leaves 11. Mallotus peltatus
b. Leaves orbicular or triangular-ovate, 8 – 20 cm long; lateral nerves 4 – 5 pairs; racemes 6 – 30 cm long, as long as or much longer than the leaves 17. Mallotus roxburghianus

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