Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Osyris quadripartita Salzm. ex Decne., Ann. Sci. Nat., Bot. Ser. 2, 6: 65. 1836. O. wightiana Wall. [Cat. no. 4036. 1831, nom. nud.] ex Wight, Icon. Pl. Ind. Orient. 5: 17, t. 1853. 1852. O. arborea Wall. [Cat. no. 4035. 1831, nom. nud.] ex A.DC. in DC., Prodr. 14: 633. 1857; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5: 232. 1886; Kanjilal et al., Fl. Assam 4: 130. 1940. O. arborea var. puberula Hook.f., l. c. 232. 1886.

Kan.: Kuriganda; Mar.: Popli.

Shrubs or small trees, semi-parasitic on roots of hosts, up to 3 m tall, twiggy with angled branches. Leaves crowded on branches, ovate to elliptic-oblong, elliptic-lanceolate or obovate- orbicular, acute or attenuate at base, obtuse, rounded and sharply mucronate at apex, 1 – 4.5 x 0.4 – 3 cm, with a single prominent vein on the lower surface; petioles 1 – 3 mm long. Flowers: minute, polygamous, bi- or unisexual, in axillary peduncled fascicles, racemiform cymes, umbels or clusters, shortly pedicelled; peduncles 4 – 5 mm long; bracteoles linear, 1 – 1.5 mm long. Male flowers: in small peduncled axillary 5 – 10-flowered umbellate clusters; pedicels ca 2 mm long; perianth ca 1.5 mm long; perianth-lobes 3 or 4, triangular, concave, ca 1.5 X 1 mm, enclosing a prominent disc in the middle; stamens stalked, transversely dehiscent. Female and bisexual flowers: mostly solitary, axillary; pedicels 5 - 15 mm long; perianth-lobes 3, urceolate, adnate to the ovary; style very short, thick; stigma peltate, with 3 or 4 recurved lobes. Fruits drupaceous, globose or broadly ellipsoid, with a prominent disc at top, 4 - 6 x 3 - 5 mm, yellow to reddish when ripe.

Fl. & Fr. Aug. – April.

Distrib. India: Subtropical Himalayas, NE. India, Central India and peninsular India, often on rocky places, up to 2000 m altitude. Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Indo-china, China, Africa and S. Europe.

Uses. The leaves used as a substitute for tea in Garhwal Himalayan areas of Uttarakhand.

Chromosome number: 2n = 30 (Virendrakumar & Subramanyam, Chromosome atlas of flowering plants of Indian subcontinent, Vol. 1. Dicotyledons).

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