Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Abelmoschus ficulneus (L.) Wight & Arn. ex Wight, Cat. No. 14. 1833; Wight & Arn., Prodr. 53. 1834. Hibiscus ficulneus L., Sp. Pl. 695. 1753; Masters in Fl. Brit. India 1: 340.1874.

Beng.: Ban-dheras, Jangli bhindi; Hindi: Ran bhendi; Punj.: Deola dula, Kapasiya,' Tam.: Kattu vendai; Tel.: Nela benda, Parupubenda.

Herbs or undershrubs, 0.5 - 2 m high; branchlets simple hairy, rarely hairs small. prickly with bulbous bases, ultimately glabrescent. Leaves 2 - 12 cm across, orbicular, palmately 3 - 5-lobed, cordate at base, lobes 2 - 8 x 1 - 4 cm, obovate to spathulate, rounded or obtuse at apex, serrate, sparsely stiff simple hairy on both surfaces, also mixed with stellate hairs beneath; petioles 1.5 - 20 cm long; stipules 4 - 10 mm long, linear to filiform, hairy. Flowers axillary, solitary or in terminal racemes by decrescens of upper leaves; pedicels 1 - 1.5 cm long, accrescent up to 3 cm. Epicalyx segments 5 - 6, 5 - 10 x 1 - 1.5 cm, linear to lanceolate, acute, hirsute, caducous. Calyx in bud lageniform with 3 mm long linear lobes. Corolla white becoming pink with deep purple centre, 1.5 - 2 cm in across; petals 2 - 3 x 1 - 2 cm, obovate, rounded at apex, glabrous. Capsules 2 - 4.5 x 1.5 - 2 cm, ovoid, 5-angular, obtuse, rarely short acuminate, tomentose with simple hairs, glabrescent; valves hirsute inside with short simple hairs. Seeds ca 3 mm across, globular, stellate-tomentose in concentric rings, blackish.

Fl. Sept. - Nov.; Fr. Nov. - March

Distrib. India: In tropical forests between 300 to 1200 m. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Africa, Malesia and N. Australia.

Notes. This species can be easily recognised by its flask-shaped calyx in buds and blunt, hairy capsules. The leaves resemble those of Ficus carica L., hence the specific epithet.

Seeds yield an oil and are also used for flavouring coffee. Stems yield an excellent fibre.


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