Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Paramignya citrifolia Oliver in J. Linn. Soc. Bot. 5. Suppl. 2: 42. 1861, valid only for name, quoad syn. Limonia citrifolia Roxb., Fl. Ind. 2: 379. 1832, non Salisb. 1796. Atalantia citrifolia Kurz, And. Rep. App. 4: 33. 1870. Pammignya citrifolia (Roxb.) Hook. J., Fl. Brit. India 1: 510. 1875, non Oliver 1861. P. micrantha Kurz in J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal Pt. 2, Nat. Hist. 44: 135. 1875, pro syn.; Balakr., Fl. Jowai 1: 117. 1981.

Kh.: Mei-soh-khar-khlaw.

Scandent shrubs, armed with recurved spines in leaf axils; spines greenish at base, shiny at tip; bark grey, lenticellate. Leaves simple; petioles 8 - 11 mm long, not articulated with leaf blade, twisted, glabrescent; leaf blades elliptic-oblong, rounded at base, abruptly acuminate at apex, acumen 15 mm long, bluntish at tip, entire along margins or nearly so, 8 - 16 x 3 - 7 cm, coriaceous, profusely gland-dotted; glands convex on both surfaces but more prominently raised beneath, minutely adpressed hairy beneath; secondary nerves 12 to 14 pairs, prominent on both sides. Flowers axillary, small. Sepals 5, acute, minute, glandular. Petals 5, oblong, glabrous, white. Stamens 10; filaments short; anthers linear. Ovary ovoid or oblong, 5-grooved, 5-locular; each locule with 2 ovules; style thick, short; stigma subpeltate. Berries ovoid, obtusely 5-angled, pointed, yellowish when ripe, 5-locular; seeds 3 - 5, oblong, laterally compressed, large, ca 15 x 10 mm; testa brownish.

Distrib. India: Evergreen forests at lower elevations. Meghalaya (Khasi & Jaintia hills).


Notes. P. citrifolia is an imperfectly known species whose identity and nomenclature have been in a state of confusion. When Oliver (1861) published Paramignya citrifolia with two varieties, viz. pubescens and malaccensis, he cited two synonyms, Limonia citrifolia Roxb. (1832) and Citrus scandens Griffith (1854). According to Kurz (1870: 33) P. citrifolia Oliver and C. scandens Griffith represent 2 species distinct from Roxburgh's Limonia citrifolia. Following Kurz's view, J.D. Hooker (1875: 510) treated Oliver's P. citrifolia under a new name P. griffithii Hook.f., and included C. scandens Griffith in its synonymy. J.D. Hooker, however, subsequently called L. citrifolia Roxb. as Paramignya citrifolia Hook. f. (text reads as 'non Oliver'). Tanaka (1930, 1937) consistently used P. citrifolia Hook. f. as the correct name for this taxon while Swingle (1943,1967) cited P. citrifolia (Roxb.) Oliver for it.

In fact, Oliver must be regarded as the author who first recognized Limonia citrifolia Roxb. as a species under Paramignya although the accompanying description included the type of another name (i.e., Citrus scandens Griffith) as well. The name was erroneously applied to a different taxon that ought to have been called P. scandens. Since Limonia citrifolia Roxb. also forms part of Paramignya citrifolia, Oliver's name must be retained for the taxon which includes Roxburgh's type. P. citrifolia Oliver need to be treated as a new name published for Limonia citrifolia Roxb. and not a new combination because L. citrifolia Roxb. is a later homonym of L. citrifolia Salisb. (1796).

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