Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Evergreen shrubs or small trees, monoecious. Leaves simple, alternate, exstipulate, coriaceous, glossy, usually adaxially decurrent into petioles at the extreme base, entire along margins (in Indian species), penninerved or weakly (3 -) 5-nerved at base (basal pair of lateral nerves frequently slightly stronger than the subsequent pairs and ascending up to 90% way up the lamina); lateral nerves slender, brochidodromous; nervules usually faint; petioles channelled above. Inflorescences axillary, either more or less compact clusters or erect spikes, up to 2.5 cm long, unisexual or bisexual, the uppermost pseudo-terminal; flowers solitary in each bract, male and female flowers either in same inflorescence with male towards apex and females at base or in different glomerules with the females at the base of the raceme, with a solitary male at top, apetalous; bracts 2 in male but several in female flowers. Male flowers: sessile or shortly pedicellate, small; 2-bracteate and bracteolate or ebracteolate; sepals 4 - 6, in 2 series, imbricate, similar to bracteoles, persistent; petals absent; stamens 4 - 6, opposite to sepals, free; filaments inserted on receptacle around vestiges of pistillode, exserted; anthers oblong, introrse, 2-loculed, versatile, dehiscing longitudinally; pistillode urn-shaped or cupular. Female flowers: sessile or shortly pedicellate, small, bracteolate or ebracteolate; sepals 4 - 6, often indistinguishable from the bracteoles, imbricate; ovary bi- or tricarpellary, 2 or 3-locular; locules biovulate; styles 2 or 3, connate below into a column, free, persistent. Fruits baccate, indehiscent, fleshy or somewhat dry; endocarp bony; seeds 1 or 2 per fruit, globose or hemispherical; testa crustaceous, brownish or black; albumen fleshy; cotyledons thick, flat.

Afghanistan, Pakistan, through Indian subcontinent to Central China and Sri Lanka, extending to South-east Asia, up to Philippine Islands, about 11 species; 4 species in India.

Notes. Species of this genus are sometimes difficult to separate from each other because of the very narrow differences. It was not possible to separate S. brevifolia and S. zeylanica from S. coriacea due to too many intermediate characters and therefore these species are united herein.

In Index Nominum Genericorum, S. pruniformis Lindl. is given as the type species of the genus Sarcococca Lindl. Since the name S. pruniformis is illegitimate being composed of two species, S. saligna and S. coriacea, both of which antedate S. pruniformis, Sealy (l. c. 118. 1986) proposes S. coriacea(Hook.) Sweet as the type species of the genus Sarcococca Lindl.

Literature. SEALY, J. R. 1986. A revision of the genus Sarcococca (Buxaceae). Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 92: 117 - 159, ff. 1-7.


1 a. Ovary and fruits 2-locular 1. Sarcococca coriacea
b. Ovary and fruits 3-locular 2
2 a. Branchlets puberulous 3
b. Branchlets glabrous 4
3 a. Leaves (1.5 -) 2 - 3.5 (- 4) cm broad, caudate at apex; cauda 10 - 30 mm long; female flowers 5 – 6 mm long; female sepals 5 or 6, 3-4 mm long 4. Sarcococca wallichii
b. Leaves (0.5 -) 1-2 (- 2.5) cm broad, acuminate at apex; acumen 5 - 10 mm long; female flowers 7 – 9 mm long; female sepals 4 (- 5), 2 -2.5 mm long 2. Sarcococca hookeriana
4 a. Leaves 1.5 - 4 cm broad; male flowers ebracteate; male sepals 3 – 4.5 mm long; filaments 6 – 8.5 mm long; female flowers 7 - 9 mm long with 3 - 4 pairs of separated bracteoles; seeds ca 8 x 5 mm 4. Sarcococca wallichii
b. Leaves 1 –-2.5 cm broad; male flowers usually bracteolate; male sepals 2.5 – 3.5 mm long; filaments 4 – 7 mm long; female flowers 4 - 6 mm long with (3 -) 4 or 5 (- 6) pairs of imbricating bracteoles; seeds ca 6 x 4 mm 3. Sarcococca saligna

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