Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Shrubs or small trees. Leaves alternate, distichous, often pellucid-punctate and lineolate, serrato-crenate or entire, pinnately veined, rarely also 3 - 5-pliveined at base; secondary veins upturned, gradually diminishing apically to join superadjacent veins by a series of cross-veinules and giving rise to branchlets to terminate in a gland below serrate-crenate teeth or at margins; stipules minute, caducous. Flowers bisexual, mostly clustered in axillary fascicles (sometimes reduced to a solitary flower); pedicels articulated above base, surrounded at base by scale-like bracts. Calyx 5-lobed, imbricate, persistent. Stamens usually 8 - 10, alternating with as many staminodes, connate below to form a perigynous ring adnate to calyx-tube; staminodes well-developed, usually tufted hairy at top; pollen grains tricolporate, subprolate to suboblate. Carpels 3, connate into unilocular superior ovary; ovules few to many; style short; stigma capitate, sometimes obscurely 3-lobed. Fruits capsular, (2-) 3-valved, succulent, 3-angled when fresh, usually 6-ribbed when dry. Seeds usually numerous and bright red, arillate.

Pantropical; ca 160 species, 12 in India.

Notes. In Casearia, the flowers are minute and usually uniform in gross morphology except for minor details. The species are therefore primarily distinguished on vegetative characters. But the variablility in leaf shape and indumentum often make the task of recognising peripheral elements of some population extremely difficult. The pattern of leaf venation evident under a hand lens has however often proved very useful and helped in delimiting some of the taxa satisfactorily.

In general, however, more stress has been given on the characters of typical elements of a population while formulating the key characters.


1a. Mature leaves conspicuously hairy, at least along midrib and veins beneath 2
b. Mature leaves apparently glabrous 5
2a. Leaves at least 3 times longer than broad; calyx glabrous 10. Casearia vareca
b. Leaves not 3 times longer than broad 3
3a. Mature leaves chartaceous, long acuminate at apex, attenuate at base 11. Casearia wynadensis
b. Mature leaves subcoriaceous, obtuse or shortly acuminate at apex, usually obliquely rounded at base 4
4a. Indumentum along midrib and veins beneath spreading pilose; pedicels 5 - 12 mm long; stamens 10 6. Casearia kurzii
b. Indumentum along midrib and veins soft or velutinous tomentose; pedicels 4 - 5 mm long; stamens 8 9. Casearia tomentosa
5a. Young shoots pubescent; immature leaves puberulous along midrib and secondary veins; mature leaves sometimes very minutely puberulent along midrib and veins near base 6
b. Young shoots and both immature and mature leaves completely glabrous 8
6a. Leaves 3 - 5-pliveined at base 5. Casearia grewiaefolia
b. Leaves pinnately veined from base 7
7a. Leaves subcoriaceous, shiny, acute at apex, closely arranged; nodes usually 5 -7 (-10) mm apart; pedicels ca 1 mm long; calyx hairy on both sides; ovary hirsute at least towards apex 12. Casearia zeylanica
b. Leaves chartaceous, acuminate at apex, not shiny, not closely arranged; nodes 10 - 20 mm or more apart; pedicels 4 - 6 mm long; calyx hairy outside; ovary glabrous 3. Casearia glomerata
8a. Pedicels (at least below articulations) and calyx hairy 9
b. Pedicels and calyx glabrous 10
9a. Leaves usually broadly elliptic to elliptic-oblong, rounded at base, shallowly crenate along margins, prominently reticulate, especially beneath when mature; reticulum coarse to touch 4. Casearia graveolens
b. Leaves usually narrowly elliptic-oblong or elliptic-lanceolate, usually cuneate or attenuate and unequal sided at base, entire and revolute along margins, indistinctly reticulate even when mature; reticulum smooth to touch 7. Casearia rubens
10a. Leaves coriaceous or subcoriaceous, never membranous, usually obovate, obtuse or rounded at apex, entire and revolute along margins 8. Casearia thwaitesii
b. Leaves membranous, chartaceous when mature, never obovate, acute or acuminate at apex, crenato- repand to subentire along margins 11
11a. Leaves 7 - 16.5 cm long, attenuate at base, acutely acuminate at apex; acumen often twisted; secondary veins 6 - 8 pairs; petioles 4 - 7 mm long; pedicels 2 - 4 mm long 2. Casearia championii
b. Leaves 15 - 32 cm long, obtuse or cuneate and usually inequilateral at base, not acutely acuminate at apex; acumen never twisted; secondary veins 10 -13 pairs; petioles 10 - 25 mm long; pedicels ca 6 mm long 1. Casearia andamanica

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