Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Trees, evergreen or deciduous, monoecious or dioecious; indumentum with simple or bifurcate hairs. Leaves alternate, simple, entire or shallowly palmately 3 - 7-lobed; main basal nerves 3 - 7, pinnate along midrib; petioles long, striate, biglandular on anterior side of apex; stipules small, early caducous. Inflorescences terminal or upper axillary, laxly much-branched paniculate or corymbose cymes with solitary terminal female flower and several male flowers per cyme; flowers unisexual or imperfectly bisexual, showy. Male flowers: expanding before female flowers; calyx subglobose, spathaceously dividing into 2 - 5 subequal valvate lobes; petals 5, imbricate or contorted in bud; disc glands 5 (- 7), free, alternipetalous; stamens 8 – 15, in distinct whorls from the conical receptacle; filaments connate at base into a hairy column, inner 3 or 4 longer; anthers basifixed to dorsifixed, erect; thecae 2, parallel, dehiscing longitudinally by slits; connectives broad; pistillode absent. Female flowers: calyx and corolla as in male; disc absent or consisting of 5 minute glands, episepalous; ovary 2-locular; styles 2 - 5, free, each 2- lobed or 2-partite with 2 linear stout arms; ovule solitary in each locule. Fruits capsular; pyrene 1, 1 - 5-loculed, indehiscent or tardily dehiscent; exocarp thick, woody; endocarp crustaceous;seeds 3, globose with thick woody smooth or rugose testa, carunculate; endosperm oily, straight; cotyledons broad, flat.

Temperate and subtropical N. E. India, Myanmar to China and Japan, 3 species; 2 in India.



KEY TO THE SPECIES


1 a. Deciduous trees with flowers appearing before leaves; petiole-apices with 2 globose capitate sessile glands; inflorescences usually bisexual; flowers reddish white to purple, veined with pink, yellow in the centre; ovary 4 (or 5 ) locular, gradually narrowing into styles; fruits subglobose, shortly mucronate at apex, 4 - 5 cm in diam., smooth, slightly verrucose, not grooved 1. Vernicia fordii
b. Evergreen trees with both flowers and leaves together; petiole-apices with 2 capitate or cup- shaped stalked glands; inflorescences usually unisexual; flowers white; ovary 3- (- 5) locular, gradually or abruptly narrowing into styles; fruits ovoid, narrowly attenuate and pointed at apex, 4 - 6 cm long, 3.5 - 4.5 cm across, wrinkled when dry, distinctly longitudinally 3 - 5- grooved and ridged 2
2a. Glands at the apex of petioles slenderly stalked, capitate, slightly divergent, hook-shaped to almost inrolled (at least when dry); ovary abruptly narrowing into styles (cult.) 0. Vernicia cordata
b. Glands at the apex of petioles clavately stalked, turbinate, cup-shaped; ovary gradually narrowing into the styles 2. Vernicia montana


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