Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Helixanthera ligustrina (Wall.) Danser in Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg, Ser. 3, 10: 317. 1929. Loranthus ligustrinus Wall. in Roxb., Fl. Ind., eds. Carey & Wall. 2: 219. 1824; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5: 207. 1886.

Garo: Suthekmi-songepa; Kh.: Makariang.

Shrubs, up to 2 m tall; branches sparsely covered with cinnamomeous brown conchiform hairs when young, glabrous when old. Leaves opposite when young, alternate when old, elliptic-ovate to narrowly ovate-lanceolate, often attenuate towards base, acute, subacute or acuminate at apex, 4 - 9.5 x 1.2 - 5 cm, subcoriaceous, hairy on young branches, glabrous when old; lateral nerves 4 or 5 pairs; petioles 0.5 - 1 cm long, glabrous. Inflorescence axillary, centripetal pseudoracemes, 1 - 4 cm long, bearing 2 - 8 flowers in opposite pairs, ending in 2 or 3 (rarely up to 5) flowers at the top; peduncle solitary or paired, 5 - 15 mm long. Flowers 2 or 3 per peduncle, 4-merous, glabrous, ca 15 mm long; pedicels glabrous, 0 - 2 mm long; bracts cucullate, ovate- elliptic, 1.2 - 1.5 x 0.5 - 0.8 mm. Calyculus urceolate or cupular, truncate, 0.3 - 0.4 mm long. Petals 4, linear, widening towards base, constricted above base, 6.5 - 8 mm long, yellow or red, minutely conchiform hairy at base. Stamens 4, erect; filaments 4.5 - 5 mm long; anthers contiguous with filament, linear-oblong with subtriangular sterile apex. Ovary cupular or urceolate, warty, 2 - 2.5 mm long; style 6.5 - 7 mm long; stigma capitate or lobed with granulate surface. Fruits ellipsoid to ovoid with persistent stylar scar, truncate at apex, 6.5 - 8 x 3 - 3.5 mm, green, turning to red when ripe, cinnamomeous brown, conchiform hairy.

Fl. & Fr. April - Nov.

Distrib. India: Tropical or subtropical Himalayas, up to 1500 m altitude, found on a limited number of hosts, the few recorded are Eurya acuminata, Cedrela toona, Ficus clavata, Mallotus philippensis and Melia azedarach. Uttar Pradesh, W. Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura.

Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, S. China, Indo-china, Thailand and Philippines (Luzon).

Notes. Brandis (For. Fl. 395. 1902) and Kanjilal et al. (Fl. Assam 4: 121. 1940) describe this species as apparently terrestrial. However Kanjilal & Das have also furnished a variety of hosts for this species. J. D. Hooker (l. c.) suspecting that this species may be a root parasite on the basis of the statement made by Brandis, suggests that parasitism of this species should be carefully checked in the field.

Vessel pittings scalariform; fibres excessively thick-walled with narrow lumen and simple vestigial pits.

Pollen triangular; P - 24 (24.5) 26 µm; E - 37 µm; P/E - 0.70 µm; ex. 2 µm; col. 1 µm.

Chromosome number: n = 9 (Barlow & Wiens, Flinders Univ. S. Austr. Sch. Biol. Sci. Bedford Park, S. Austr. 1971).

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