Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Claoxylon mercurialis (L.) Thwaites, Enum. Pl. Zeyl. 271. 1861; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5: 412. 1887; Susila & N.P.Balakr. in Rheedea 5(2): 131. 1995. Tragia mercurialis L., Sp. Pl. 980. 1753. Micrococca mercurialis (L.) Benth. in Hook., Niger Fl. 503. 1849; Haines, Bot. Bihar Orissa 2: 116. 1921; Gamble, Fl. Madras 2(7): 1328. 1921 (repr. ed. 2: 929. 1957); Govaerts et al., World Checkl. & Bibl. Euphorbiaceae 3: 1182. 2000. Microstachys mercurialis (L.) Dalzell & A. Gibson, Bombay Fl. 227. 1861.


Guj.: Ardio-okharad.

Herbs or subshrubs, annual or rarely perennial, 30 - 80 cm high, much-branched; branches minutely pubescent. Leaves ovate, rhombate-ovate, elliptic-ovate to elliptic-lanceolate, acute, obtuse, cuneate or truncate at base, shortly acuminate at apex, crenate-serrate along margins, 1.5 - 8 x 0.7 - 3 cm, coriaceous to membranous, pilose, puberulous or subglabrous or minutely pubescent on nerves; lateral nerves 5 - 7 pairs; petioles 1 - 6 cm long; stipules subulate, ca 0.2 mm long, finely hairy. Racemes bisexual, axillary or terminal, 2.5 - 10 cm long, hispid; bracts very remote; flowers short to long-pedicelled, few, in distant clusters. Male flowers: subsessile, 1 - 1.5 mm across; sepals 3, ovate, ca 1 mm across; stamens 3 - 10, mixed with ciliate scales or glands, up to 0.8 mm long; filaments up to 0.2 mm long; anther-locules parallel, linear, ca 0.4 mm wide. Female flowers: 2 - 4 mm across, solitary or sometimes 2 with many male flowers; pedicels 0.5 - 2 mm long; sepals 3 or 4, ovate-lanceolate, elliptic to suborbicular, 2 - 4 mm across, hirsute; scales 3, attached to ovary, alternate with sepals, ligulate, oblong, obtuse or subacute at apex, 1 - 2 mm long, hyaline. Fruits tridymous or rarely didymous, globose or subglobose, 0.7 - 1 cm across, depressed, glabrous or sparsely hairy; seeds globose, 3 - 4 mm across, pitted or verrucose.

Fl. & Fr. Aug. - Dec.

Distrib. India: Generally in humid regions, a weed of cultivation, restricted to moist, shaded gravelly hill slopes, often found in fertile soils of plains, wastelands and in places where city wastes are heaped. Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshadweep, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.

Tropical Africa, Arabia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.

Uses. Leaves said to be useful in jaundice. Ash of the plant mixed with oil used in skin diseases. Dye from the fruit used as an anti-oxidant for ghee and vegetable oils.

Notes. Chromosome numbers: 2n = 20 (Datta, Taxon 16: 341 -350. 1967); 2n = 20, 40, 60 (Champault, Bull. Soc. Bot. France 117: 137 - 168. 1970); 2n = 40 (Brunel & Laplace, Taxon 26: 557 - 565. 1977).





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