Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Shrubs, undershrubs or herbs, very occasionally scandent or climbing, monoecious, glabrous or rarely pubescent. Leaves usually arising on lateral branchlets, alternate, entire and often reflexed along margins, penninerved or occasionally strongly 3-nerved at base; petioles short; stipules subpersistent. Inflorescences axillary, fasciculate or sometimes borne on densely bracteate brachyblasts, often bisexual, few-flowered, the females usually on the upper axils and solitary or in pairs, the males mostly maturing singly per axil. Male flowers: pedicellate; calyx unlobed and almost entire or variously lobed (lobes 3 + 3, imbricating), cupular or obconic, concave-cupular or globose in outline or flattened and discoid or star-shaped or very rarely reflexed forming an inverted urceolate-campanulate tube, the tips of the lobes inflexed; petals absent; disc absent; stamens 3, opposite the outer perianth segments; filaments connate into a minute or short column; anthers borne either horizontally at the corners of the common triangular connective and facing downwards, or vertically at the free apices of the filaments or sometimes connate into a mass. Female flowers: pedicellate; calyx segments 3 + 3, shortly connate, the outer usually larger than the inner, often accrescent in fruit; petals and disc absent; ovary 3- locular; locules biovulate; styles short, broad, mostly bifid and horizontal, rarely erect. Fruits capsular, occasionally somewhat fleshy, thin-walled, rarely shortly stipitate; seeds triquetrous, without arils.

Africa (Mauritius), India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Thailand to Malesia, extending to Australia, about 80 species; 12 species in India.

Literature. CHAKRABARTY, T. & M. GANGOPADHYAY (1996). The genus Sauropus Blume (Euphorbiaceae) in the Indian subcontinent. J. Econ. Taxon. Bot. 20(3): 513 - 545, ff. 1- 13.

Notes. The chromosome number reports so far are only for two species, S. bacciformis having n = 24 (Miller & Webster, Brittonia 14: 174 - 180. 1962; Datta, Taxon 16: 341 - 350. 1967) and S. androgynus with 2n = 50 (Sampath Kumar & Navaneetham, Proc. 68th Indian Sci. Congress, Part 3, p. 78. 1981) as well as 2n = 52 (Kothari et al., Taxon 29: 703 - 730. 1980).

Pollen grains of 3 species were studied by Punt (Wentia 7: 1 - 116. 1962). The grains are stephanocolporate, oblate, oblate-spheroidal or subprolate, intectate or tectate, reticulate or not.



KEY TO THE SPECIES


1 a. Leaves strongly trinerved at base 2
b. Leaves penninerved 3
2 a. Male perianth 2.5 - 5 mm in diam., discoid, unlobed, repand along margins 8. Sauropus repandus
b. Male perianth 4 - 10 mm in diam., star-shaped, deeply 6-lobed 12. Sauropus trinervis
3 a. Male flowers flattened 4
b. Male flowers not flattened 11
4 a. Male calyx discoid, entire or almost so 5
b. Male calyx star-shaped, lobed 6
5 a. Fruiting calyx up to 8 mm in diam. 1. Sauropus androgynus
b. Fruiting calyx 20 - 30 mm in diam. 9. Sauropus rhamnoides
6 a. Branchlets, petioles and leaves beneath puberulous 7
b. Branchlets, petioles and leaves beneath glabrous 8
7 a. Lateral nerves of leaves 7 - 8 pairs; male pedicels 8 - 10 mm long; calyx segments unlobed 3. Sauropus bishnupadae
b. Lateral nerves of leaves 3 - 6 pairs; male pedicels 2 - 6 mm long; calyx segments emarginate to deeply bilobulate 4. Sauropus compressus
8 a. Leaves 9 - 22 x 3 - 7.5 cm; petioles 4 - 6 mm long; female pedicels 5 - 20 mm long; fruits 10- 12 x 18 - 20 mm; fruiting pedicels 15 - 60 mm long 6. Sauropus macranthus
b. Leaves 0.5 - 5 x 0.1 - 3 cm; petioles 0.2 - 3 mm long; female pedicels 0.5 - 3 mm long; fruits 3 - 6 x 3.5 - 8 mm; fruiting pedicels up to 5 mm long 9
9 a. Segments of male calyx unlobed, entire 7. Sauropus quadrangularis
b. Segments of male calyx emarginate to deeply bilobulate 10
10 a. Petioles up to 0.6 mm long; male calyx 1 - 1.5 mm in diam. 2. Sauropus bacciformis
b. Petioles 1- 1.5 (- 2.5) mm long; male calyx 2 - 3.5 mm in diam. 4. Sauropus compressus
11 a. Male calyx unlobed or almost so, subglobose; fruits splitting into 6 segments forming a star- shaped structure 11. Sauropus stipitatus
b. Male calyx deeply lobed; fruits not splitting as above 12
12 a. Branchlets terete; leaves membranous; lateral nerves 7 - 8 pairs; male pedicels 1.5 - 4 mm long; male calyx concave-cupular (bowl-shaped) with oblong-lanceolate acute segments, ca 1 x 1.5 mm; female pedicels 4 - 5 mm long; female calyx segments ovate, acute; fruits somewhat depressed, 8 - 10 x 13 - 15 mm 5. Sauropus gour-maitii
b. Branchlets winged; leaves thinly chartaceous to thinly coriaceous; lateral nerves 4 - 7 pairs; male pedicels 4 - 8 mm long; male calyx cupular to more or less obconic, 2 - 3.5 x 2 - 4 mm; male calyx segments oblanceolate or wedge-shaped, emarginate-sinuate at apex; female pedicels 5 - 13 mm long; female calyx segments orbicular to flabellate; fruits globose to pyriform, 15 - 20 x 18 - 25 mm 10. Sauropus saksenanus


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