Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Mesua assamica (King & Prain) Kosterm. in Reinwardtia 7: 426. 1969. Kayea assarnica King & Prain in Ind. For. 27: 62. 1901

Asm.: Sia - nahor.

Evergreen trees, up to 25 m tall; bole straight, cylindrical, ca 12 m long, 2 - 2.5 m in girth, handsome, slow growing; glabrous; wood light red to reddish-brown, somewhat lustrous, hard and heavy; bark grey or brownish-grey, light, often exfoliating in large square flakes; branchlets greenish-yenow, terete. Leaves opposite, 8 - 16 x 4 - 5 cm, cuneate at base, shortly acuminate at apex, often finely mucronulate, more or less shiny above, dull beneath, firmly coriaceous; lateral nerves 15 - 30, forming an uneven marginal nerve; petioles slender, ca 2 cm long. Infloresence axillary or terminal, fascicled panicles with short, glabrous, bracteate, slender, decussate branches. Flower buds globular or globose, ca 2 mm in diam.; flowers white, ca 7 - 8 mm across, bracts and bracteoles opposite, small, caducous; pedicels very slender, 5 - 7 mm long, elongated and thickened in fruit. Sepals 4 in 2 pairs, imbricate; outer pair ca 5 mm long, orbicular or suborbicular; inner spathulate, accrescent in fruit. Petals 4, suborbicular, ca 4 mm long, thin, white. Stamens numerous, longer than sepals; filaments free, capillary; anthers globose. Ovary unilocular, ovules 4, erect; style slender; stigmas 4-fid. Fruits ca 2.5 x 4.5 - 6.0 cm, depressed globose, corky outside, almost entirely encased by hard accrescent sepals; latex yellowish-brown. Seeds ca 2.5 - 3.2 cm in diam., usually solitary, reddish-brown, ca 2.5 - 3.2 cm in diam., globose but very depressed, smooth.

Fl. & Fr. April- Dec.; sometimes up to Feb. - April.

Distrib. India: Common and gregarious in submontane forests of Assam (North Lakhimpur and Dibrugarh).


Notes. This species closely resembles M. floribunda, which has longer leaves with fewer, conspicuously arcuate lateral nerves and copious racemes with larger flowers and fruits.

Wood is more elastic, harder and stronger than teak and is durable under cover. The timber is used for construction work, internal posts, beams, rafters and for sleepers after treatment. Fruits are used for fish poisoning.

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