Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Atalantia wightii Tanaka in Bull. Soc. Bot. France 75: 714. 1928. A. ceylanica (Arm.) Oliver in J. Linn. Soc. Bot., 5. Suppl. 2: 25. 1861, p.p., excl. basionym, quoad tantum specim. Nilgiri (Hb. Hook.); Hook. f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 512. 1875, p.p.; Gamble, Fl. Pres. Madras 160. 1957.

Kan.: Kadumbi.

Shrubs or small trees, 4 - 10 m high; branchlets woody, cylindric, usually armed with axillary, strong, sharp spines (ca 3.5 cm long) or sometimes unarmed, minutely to densely puberulent to glabrous; bark greenish, lenticellate. Leaves 1-foliolate; petioles 5 - 10 mm long, horizontally grooved or obscurely marginate above, articulate above at base of blade , glabrous; leaflet blades ovate-oblong or elliptic-lanceolate, obtuse to rounded or cuneate at base, acute at apex with emarginate tip, entire or rarely obscurely crenate along margins, 5.5 - 15.5 x 2.5 - 6 cm, coriaceous, dull green above, paler beneath, glabrous; secondary nerves 10 - 18 pairs, arising at angles 60 - 70° with the midnerve, prominently raised beneath, anastamosing, finely reticulate. Inflorescences axillary racemes or fascicles, few-to several-flowered, up to 2 cm long, glabrous; pedicels slender,4 - 7 mm long, glabrous. Flowers medium-sized, ca 7 mm long (ripe buds), fragrant. Calyx deeply 4-lobed; sepals ovate, acute or subacute, ca 1.5 mm long, glandular, ciliate along margins. Petals 4, oblong or elliptic-ovate, acute, clawed below, ca 6 x 4 mm, 3 - 5-nerved, white or pale yellowish, glandular, glabrous. Stamens 8, all distinct or sometimes cohering in groups near base, 3.5 - 5.5 mm long; filaments dilated at base, abruptly narrowed at apex, glabrous; anthers cordate-ovoid, obtuse or occasionally shortly apiculate, 1 - 1.5 mm long, yellowish. Disk annular, minute, ca 0.5 x 1.5 mm, glabrous. Ovary ovoid, ca 2 x 1.5 mm, smooth, 2-locular; each locule with 2 collateral ovules; styles cylindric, continuous with ovary, ca 2 mm long, glandular, glabrous; stigma capitate, 2-lobed. Berries ellipsoid, ca 14 mm across, smooth, glandular, yellowish when ripe, 2-locular; locules filled with few pulp-vesicels; seeds 2 - 4, large, oblong-ellipsoid.

Fl. Oct. - March; Fr. March-Sept.

Distrib. India: Evergreen or moist deciduous forests of W. Ghats, 500 - 1600 m; occasionally also at lower elevations, ca 125 m. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.


Notes. Atalantia wightii has closer affinities with A. ceylanica (Arm.) Oliver of Sri Lanka but several characters make these two distinct from each other. Paraphylls minute, scaly, linear, or absent; inflorescences a raceme, often few-flowered (5 - 7); calyx deeply lobed with narrow to broadly ovate, acute or subacute, less glandular sepals; anthers mostly obtuse at apex and non-apiculate, without a dorsal gland on the connective and berries fusiform or ellipsoid with a few pulp-vesicles; on the other hand, paraphyll is single or paired, axillary, elliptic-oblong, stipuloid, ca 10 x 3 mm; inflorescence racemose or cymose or fascicled; calyx cupular often rim-like or with minute, deltate or broadly obtuse profusely glandular sepals; anthers glandular, apiculate with a dorsal pellucid gland on the connective and bcnies subglobose almost dry with very few pulp- vesicles in A. ceylanica. However, it is observed that many characters like size and shape of leaflets, number of flowers per inflorescence, morphology of petals and nature of stigma have been found overlapping in the two species.

All ettrlier reports of Atalantia ceylanica from peninsular India belong to A. wightii only.


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