Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Melhania Forsskal

Herbs, undershrubs or shrubs, softly stellate-tomentose. Leaves simple, alternate, crenate or serrate, tomentose, paler beneath; petiolate; stipules usually filiform, tomentose. Flowers yellow or rarely orange-yellow in 1 - 4-flowered axillary or terminal peduncled cymes. Involucral bracts 3, rarely 5, linear, ovate or cordate-reniform, usually tomentose, fleshy, accrescent, often recurved, larger than the sepals and persistent enclosing the fruits. Sepals 5, connate at base, acuminate or cuspidate, stellate-tomentose outside, glabrous inside. Petals 5, mebranous, yellow or orange yellow, broadly obovate, macrescent. Stamens 5, alternating with 5 ligulate staminodes, connate at base into a short tube. Ovary sessile, usually subglobose, sometimes oblong, tomentose, 5-loculed, ovules 1 - many in each locule; styles long with 5 stigmatic branches. Capsules subglobose, loculicidally 5-valved. Seeds usually 4, rarely 2, angled, tubercled, rarely smooth; endospermous; cotyledons plicate, biparted, radicle inferior.

Africa, Asia and Australia, ca 600 species; 7 in India.


1a. Involucral bracts linear-oblong 5. Melhania incana
b. Involucral bracts lanceolate, ovate-cordate or cordate-reniform 2
2a. Involucral bracts cordate-reniform, accrescent; seeds smooth 2. Melhania denhamii
b. Involucral bracts lanceolate, ovate-cordate. fleshy; seeds tubercled, rugose or mucricate 3
3a. Capsules subglobose 1. Melhania cannabina
b. Capsules not subglobose 4
4a. Cymes terminal; seeds 2 in each lacule of capsules 7. Melhania tomentosa
b. Cymes both terminal and axillary; seeds 4 or more in each locule of capsules 5
5a. Involucral bracts longer than the sepals 4. Melhania hamiltoniana
b. Involucral bracts shorter than or equal to the sepals 6
6a. Leaves broadly ovate-Ianceolate; flowers yellow 3. Melhania futteyporensis
b. Leaves narrowly lanceolate; flowers orange yellow 6. Melhania magnifolia

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