Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

JSP Page

Trees (rarely shrubs), unarmed, glabrous, deciduous; branches lenticellate with distinct leaf-scars. Leaves palmately trifoliate; stipules minute, caducous; leaflets subsessile to shortly stalked, often pellucid-dotted; terminal one equilateral with acuminate or caudate apex; lateral ones oblique, asymmetrical. Racemes terminal, corymbose; rachis short or up to 25 cm long, either with arrested growth or growing through a leafy twig. Flowers showy, subtended by 3-foliate or subulate bracts, long-pedicelled, unisexual or bisexual often polygamous. Receptacle dish-shaped with incurved margins, nectariferous. Sepals equal, ovate-spathulate, green. Petals first white, later creamy, unguiculate, long-clawed at base, subequal; anterior pair slightly smaller, ovate to rhomboid, obtuse at top. Stamens 12 - 50, basally adnate to gynophore, longer than gynophore, infertile in female flowers. Gynophore 1.8 - 6 cm long, slender, thickened while fruiting; ovary long-stipitate, ellipsoid or subglobose, unilocular or seemingly 2-locular; placentae 2; ovules in 4 or more rows; stigma subsessile, discoid. Fruits berry-like, pendulous, globular to ellipsoid; rind spongy or hard, smooth or papillate, covered by flat whitish warts; stipe woody, thickened; seeds packed and embedded in creamy foetid pulp, reniform or horse-shoe shaped; cotyledons convolute, one longer and curved around the other.

Pantropical in Africa, Asia, Central and S. America, mostly in lowland forests near streams, up to 900 m; about 8 species, 4 species in India.

Notes. Pollen longiaxis oval. Polar axis ranges from 20 - 35 u, equatorial diam. 15 - 27 u, 3 - 7 colporate. Ecto-aperture colpa long extending to poles, gradually tapering. Endoaperture more or less circular to irregular with few to many teeth-like granular structure. Exine ornamentation regulo-reticulate, columella short, lumina 0.25 - 1 u. Shape in polar view subtriangular. Sterility is common in both sexes (Krishna Mitra, l.c. 8.1975).

Literature. JACOBS, M. (1964). The genus Crateva (Capparaceae). Blumea 12: 171- 208, f.1 -7.


1a. Mostly leafless when flowering; fruits orange-yellow, turning to reddish on maturity 1. Crateva adansonii
b. Mostly leaf-bearing when flowering; fruits greyish to brown on maturity 2
2a. Leaflets membranous, concolorous on drying; twigs mostly straw-coloured when dry 3. Crateva religiosa
b. Leaflets subcoriaceous, discolorous on drying; twigs mostly brownish when dry 3
3a. Leaflets 11 - 16 (-22)-nerved; rachis of inflorescence 10 - 16 cm long; flowers up to 100; fruits ellipsoid or obovoid; seeds dorsally crested 2. Crateva magna
b. Leaflets 5 -10 -nerved; rachis of inflorescence a few cm long; flowers up to 40; fruits globose; seeds smooth, not crested 4. Crateva unilocularis

JSP Page
  • Search