Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Maerua Forsskal

Shrubs or trees, unarmed, often scandent. Leaves sessile or petiolate, sometimes cluustered on abbreviated lateral shoots, simple or 1 - 3 (-5)-foliolate; stipules minute, subulate. Flowers in racemes or corymbs, sometimes 1 - 4 in axils of upper leaves. Sepals 4, rarely 3, valvate, united at base, caducous; calyx-tube funnel-shaped, sharply lined by receptacle. Petals 3 - 4, rarely absent, equal, smaller than calyx, inserted at throat of calyx-tube, mostly caducous. Receptacle cylindric, campanulate or infundibular, inner margin produced into a lobed or toothed disc. Androphore equal or exceeding the receptacle, without appendage. Stamens many, exserted, attached to the middle of torus; filaments free, or basally connate with gynophore. Gynophore long exceeding stamens; ovary cylindric to ellipsoid, 1- 2 -locular; stigma subsessile, capitate; ovules 4 - many on 2 (-4) parietal placentae. Fruits fleshy, ovoid, spheroid, cylindrical or moniliform, torulose or not, often transversely locular, 1- many-seeded; seeds large, subglobose to reniform, smooth or rugose; cotyledons incumbent, convolute.

Mostly in drier parts of Africa, extending to Madagascar, Middle East and Asia; ca 100 species, 2 in India.

Notes. Pollen longiaxis, colpa long, broad, slit-like. Endoaperture circular with granules. Exine semitectate, columella in small striate groups; quite distinct from other genera. Pollen dimorphism has been noted in many species.


1a. Trees; petals absent; berry ovoid 1. Maerua apetala
b. Scandent shrubs; petals 4; berry elongated, cylindric or moniliform 2. Maerua oblongifolia

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