Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Melicope J.R. & G. Forst.

Shrubs (rarely scandent) or trees, evergreen, unarmed. Leaves opposite or whorled, digitately trifoliolate or unifoliolate. Inflorescences axillary or rarely terminal, cymose or thyrsiform or paniculate, or sometimes reduced to solitary flowers. Flowers bisexual or functionally unisexual, bracteate. Sepals 4, valvate or imbricate. Petals 4, valvate or imbricate. Stamens 8 or rarely 4, free, in carpellate flowers reduced to staminodes. Disk obsolete to ca 1.5 mm high, annular or pulvinate, 4 - 8-lobed. Gynoecium 4-carpellate, deeply 4-lobed, connate basally or up to their entire length, 4-locular, each locule with 1 or 2 collateral or superposed ovules; style apical or subapical; stigma capitate, peltate or 4-branched, in staminate flowers reduced to rudimentary pistillodes. Fruits (1)-2 - 4, basally connate follicles, grading to syncarpous loculicidal capsules, 1 - 2-seeded; epicarp subwoody, punctate; endocarp pergamentaceous to cartilaginous, adherent or free from epicarp; seeds solitary or in pairs, remaining attached in dehisced fruit, black or brownish, shiny, albuminous; embryo straight; cotyledons more or less flattened, ellipsoid.

Tropical regions of Malagasy, Indo-Himalayas, Sri Lanka, eastward to Hawaiian and Marquesan Islands and south to New Zealand; ca 230 species, 4 in India.

Notes. Following Hartley (1981, 1994), Melicope is considered here in a wider sense including some of those species formerly treated under Euodia J.R. & G. Forst. Melicope is characterized by its combination of opposite or whorled, digitately trifoliolate or unifoliolate leaves, dehiscent fruits, and shiny, black, pelluculose seeds which remain attached in dehisced fruit (Hartley 1994: 48). According to Hartley (l.c.) Euodia J.R. & G. Forster comprises seven species and ranges from New Guinea and north-eastern Australia east to Samoa, Tonga and Niue. Unlike Melicope, its seeds are neither shiny nor pelluculose and are forcibly expelled, along with endocarp, when fruit dehisces.

Literature. HARTLEY. T.G. (1981) A revision of the genus Tetradium (Rutaceae). Gard. Bull. Straites Settlem. 34: 91 - 131. HARTLEY, T.G.(1994) The genus Melicope (Rutaceae) in Borneo. Sandakania 4: 47 - 74. NAIR, K.N. & M.P. NAYAR (1989) A revision of the genus Euodia J.R. & G. Forst. (Rutaceae) in India. J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 13: 193 - 203.


1a. Leaves unifoliolate; stamens 8 3. Melicope indica
b. Leaves digitately trifoliolate; stamens 4 4
2a. Inflorescence shorter than petioles (up to 2.5 cm long); staminal filaments villous from about middle to base adaxially 1. Melicope accedens
b. Inflorescence as long as or longer than petiole (up to 17 cm long); staminal filaments glabrous throughout 3
3a. Leaflet blades predominantly wide obovate with rounded apex, secondary nerves strong, impressed above, inarching near margins forming a distinct intramarginal nerve 2. Melicope glabra
b. Leaflet blades ovate, elliptic-oblong or lanceolate, with acuminate apex, secondary nerves slender, ending rather indistinctly near margins 4. Melicope lunuankenda

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