Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Small trees or shrubs. Leaves opposite, entire or spiny-dentate, hairs sometimes appressed and stinging, shortly petioled; stipules minute, caducous. Flowers bisexual, axillary or terminal, fasciculate or subumbellate-corymbose, rarely solitary. Calyx 5-partite, 6-10-glandular, 1-2 glands at base of each calyx-lobe. Petals unequal, clawed, denticulate, sometimes keeled, glabrous. Stamens 10, all perfect; filaments united at base, glabrous, sometimes unequal. Ovary 3-locular; styles 3, free, truncate at apex. Drupes fleshy, composed of 3 pyrenes, these at length scarcely coherent, with 3-5 crests or ribs on back; seeds ovoid; embryo straight; cotyledons plano-convex.

Tropical America and West Indies; ca 30 species, 5 species grown as ornamentals in India.


1a. Leaf-margins projected into mucronate marginal teeth 2. Malpighia coccigera
b. Leaf-margins entire 2
2a. Mature leaves usually 7.5-17 x 4.5-8.5 cm, obtuse or rounded at apex 5. Malpighia urens
b. Mature leaves usually less than 7 x 4 cm, acute or acuminate at apex (expect M. punicifolia var. obovata) 3
3a. Corymbs usually 1-4-flowered; drupes more than 10 cm across 4. Malpighia punicifolia
b. Corymbs usually more than 4-flowered; drupes less than 10 cm across 4
4a. Leaves linear-oblong, less than 25 mm broad 1. Malpighia angustifolia
b. Leaves ovate-elliptic or oblong-lanceolate, more than 25 mm broad 3. Malpighia glabra

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