Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Large to medium-sized trees. Leaves alternate, often crowded at ends of branchlets. entire or crenate-serrate, pinnately veined, occasionally gland-dotted. Flowers pedicelled, often fragrant, in few to many-flowered racemes. Sepals usually 5, rarely 4 or 6, valvate, inserted on annular disc, deciduous. Petals 5, rarely 4 or 6, valvate, fimbriate or toothed with 10 - 60 more or less linear divisions. Stamens many, sometimes subaggregated into groups opposite petals and alternating with disc-lobes; filaments long or short; anthers innate, linear or oblong, awned or not, comose. Disc flat, cushion-shaped, thickened, often pitted, glabrous or villous, often 5-lobed, rarely glanduliform. Ovary superior, sessile, 2 - 5-locular, rarely 1-locular or more; ovules pendulous; styles long or short, subulate, sometimes twisted; stigmas entire. Drupes with a woody, rugose or tubercled pyrene; pyrenes 1 - 5, or rarely more-loculed, locules usually 1-seeded.

Asia, Australia and Pacific regions, ca 200 species; 29 in India.

Literature. COODE, M.J.E. (1984). Elaeocarpus in Australia and New Zealand. Kew Bull. 39: 509 - 586. CORNER, E.J.H. (1939). Elaeocarpus in Notes on the systematy and distribution of Malayan Phanerogams III. Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 10: 239 329. KRISHNAMURTY, T. (1964). A note on R. udraksha, Elaeocarpus shpaericus (Gaertn.) K. Schum. Ind. For. 90: 774 - 776. MERRILL, E.D. (1951). Notes on Elaeocarpus Linnaeus J. Arn. Arb. 32: 157-200. MERRILL, E.D. (1952). Reductions in Elaeocarpus. Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 62: 49 - 50. TIREL, C. (1978). A propos du genere Elaeocarpus en Nouvelle-Caledonie. Adansonia II, 17: 441 - 454. TIREL, C. and J. RAYNOL (1980). Researches bibliographiques sur trois especes d' Elaeocarpus (Elaeocarpaceae). Adansonia II, 20: 169 - 177. WEIBEL, R. (1972). Deuxc especes nouvelles du genere Elaeocarpus provenant des montagnes du sed del' Inde. Condollea 27(1): 15 - 19. (1968). Morphologie del' embryon et de la graine des Elaeocarpus. Candollea 23: 101 - 108.

Notes. In India the species of Elaeocarpus are confined mostly to North eastern and Southern India and a few to Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Six species viz., E. blascoi, E. gaussenii, E. glandulosus, E. munroii, E. recurvatus and E. venustus are endemic to southern Peninsular Indian region. A few species show restricted distribution in the subcontinent viz., E. amoenus to India and Sri Lanka. E. acuminatus and E. prunifolius to India and Bangladesh. E. braceanus, E. bracteatus, E. grandifolius and E. helferi to India and Myanmar. E. sikkimensis to India and Bhutan. However, a further collection and study of specimens is essential to reach any definite colclusion.

The species generally prefer warm humid climate and usually occur between 500 and 2000 m altitudes, though widely distributed, they are never found in abundance in any particular locality. The fruits of E. floribundus are edible. E. sphaericus ('Rudraksh') is planted throughout India except the arid North west region, for its nuts, which are used as beads for rosaries, bracelets and necklaces and also for its magico-religious beliefs.


1a. Drupes globose 2
b. Drupes elongate 3
2a. Anthers bearded; drupes 5-loculed 23. Elaeocarpus sphaericus
b. Anthers not bearded; drupes unilocular 2. Elaeocarpus amoenus
3a. Anthers awned 4
b. Anthers not awned 18
4a. Leaves very convex, folded back to back, resmbling an inverted boat 19. Elaeocarpus recurvatus
b. Leaves neither convex nor folded back to back 5
5a. Petals broader towards base, narrowed towards apex 6
b. Petals narrowed towards base, broader towards apex 8
6a. Flowers 5 - 10 mm across 18. Elaeocarpus prunifolius
b. Flowers usually more than 10 mm across 7
7a. Sepals glabrous; ovary glabrous; pyrenes 1-seeded, indistinctly 4-ridged 17. Elaeocarpus petiolatus
b. Sepals densely silky hairy; ovary hairy; pyrenes 2-seeded, 3-grooved 27. Elaeocarpus varunua
8a. Awns shorter than anthers 9
b. Awns as long as or longer than anthers 13
9a. Flowers 2 - 2.5 cm across 28. Elaeocarpus venustus
b. Flowers 1 - 1.5 cm across 10
10a. Leaves 16 - 35 cm long, obovate, oblong or oblanceolate; drupes 3 - 3.5 cm long 20. Elaeocarpus rugosus
b. Leaves 5 - 14 cm long, elliptic, elliptic-lanceolate, elliptic-oblong or ovate-elliptic, ovate or ovate- lanceolate; drupes up to 2.5 cm long 11
11a. Awns erect; styles glabrous or shortly puberulous at base 1. Elaeocarpus acuminatus
b. Awns reflexed; styles densely appressed silky hairy at base 12
12a. Petioles up to 2 cm long; pedicels densely short sericeous; sepals and petals 10 - 12 mm long 4. Elaeocarpus blascoi
b. Petioles 2.5 - 3.5 cm long; pedicels glabrous; sepals and petals 7 - 9 mm long 16. Elaeocarpus munroii
13a. Petals 2-lobed; lobes laciniate or not 14
b. Petals not lobed, uniformly laciniate at apex 16
14a. Leaves 30 - 45 cm long; petioles 4 - 5 cm long; petal lobes not laciniate 10. Elaeocarpus grandifolius
b. Leaves 10 - 15 cm long; petioles 1 - 2.5 cm long; petal-lobes deeply laciniate 15
15a. Bracts persistent, leafy, dentate; filaments as long as anthers 6. Elaeocarpus bracteatus
b. Bracts caducous, minute, not leafy; filaments shorter than anthers 24. Elaeocarpus stapfianus
16a. Leaves 24 - 40 cm long; pyrenes compressed, strongly rugose 3. Elaeocarpus aristatus
b. Leaves up to 20 cm long; pyrenes terete, tubercled 17
17a. Petioles and midrib glabrous; pedicels glabrous or puberulous, straight 15. Elaeocarpus macrocerus
b. Petioles and midrib rufous hairy; pedicels softly tomentose, recurved 26. Elaeocarpus tuberculatus
18a. Anthers bearded with tufts of hairs at apex 19
b. Anthers not bearded at apex 26
19a. Leaves and petioles tawny tomentose beneath 29. Elaeocarpus wallichii
b. Leaves and petioles glabrous or sparsely puberulous beneath 20
20a. Leaves lanceolate, elliptic-lanceolate or oblanceolate; petioles 7 - 15 mm long; stamens 15 13. Elaeocarpus lanceifolius
b. Leaves broadly ovate, ovate-oblong, ovate-elliptic or elliptic-oblong; petioles 2 - 6 cm long; stamens more than 15 21
21a. Petals ciliate 22
b. Petals not ciliate 24
22a. Leaves pustulate when dry; flower-buds ellipsoid; pyrenes faintly rugose 7. Elaeocarpus floribundus
b. Leaves not pustulate when dry; flower-buds broadly ovoid or oblong-ovoid; pyrenes strongly rugose 23
23a. Petioles 2 - 2.5 cm long; flowers 5 - 10 mm across; filaments shorter than anthers; ovary globose 11. Elaeocarpus helferi
b. Petioles 3 - 5 cm long; flowers 10 - 12 mm across; filaments as long as or slightly longer than anthers; ovary oblong-ovoid 25. Elaeocarpus tectorius
24a. Leaves 13 - 30 x 6 - 9 cm, not pustulate when dry, petioles with 2 leafy processes at apex 22. Eleaocarpus sikkimensis
b. Leaves 5 - 11 x 2.5 - 5 cm, pustulate when dry, petioles without leafy processes at apex 25
25a. Petals 4 - 5 mm long; styles ca 2 mm long; drupes 2.5 cm long, broadly ovoid, rounded at apex, pyrenes broadly ellipsoid, rounded at apex 8. Elaeocarpus gaussenii
b. Petals 6 - 8 mm long; styles 3 - 4 mm long; drupes 3 - 3.5 cm long, narrowly obovoid, obtuse at apex, pyrenes oblong, acute at apex 21. Elaeocarpus serratus
26a. Leaves ferruginous tomentose beneath; bracteolate prominent, laciniate, persistent 5. Elaeocarpus braceanus
b. Leaves glabrous or puberulous beneath; bracteoles minute, not laciniate, cadueous 27
27a. Petioles 10 - 12 mm long, eglandular; flower buds pyramidal; drupes lanceolate, pyrenes compressed 12. Elaeocarpus hygrophyllus
b. Petioles 1.5 - 5 cm long, with 2 glands near apex; flower-buds ovoid-conical or oblong-ovoid; drupes oblong-ovoid or elliptic, pyrenes terete 28
28a. Leaves obtuse at base; racemes as long as leaves; flowers 6 - 8 mm across; petals glabrous; stamens 20 - 30 14. Elaeocarpus lucidus
b. Leaves cuneate, acute to rounded at basc; racemes shorter than leaves; flowers 10 - 12 mm across; petals hairy, stamens 40 - 50 29
29a. Leaves acute or shortly acuminate, glandular beneath, pustulate when dry; pedicels 7 - 12 mm long; sepals glandular pubescent; anthers glabrous 9. Elaeocarpus glandulosus
b. Leaves long acuminate, not glandular beneath, not pustulate when dry pedicels 5 - 7 mm long; sepals not glandular pubescent; anthers puberulous 25. Elaeocarpus tectorius

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