Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Pittosporum Banka ex Solander, nom. cons.

Trees, shrubs or undershrubs, erect, sometimes epiphytic, often aromatic; branching forked or verticillate. Leaves exstipulate, simple, alternate or whorled, often crowded in pseudo-whorls towards ends of branches. Inflorescence umbels, corymbs or panicles, terminal, pseudoterminal or lateral in axils of fallen leaves, rarely flowers solitary. Flowers bisexual, at times functionally unisexual. Sepals 5, free or coherent at base, recurved above. Petals 5, generally ligulate, free or connivent up to or beyond the middle in lower part; free segments recurved or spreading. Stamens 5, free, alternating with petals, occasionally coherent with corolla-tube; anthers dorsifixed, introrse, opening by longitudinal slits, much shorter than filaments. Ovary sessile or stipitate, unilocular or incompletely 2 - 5-locular with parietal placentae or rarely with placentae intruding to the middle; style glabrous; stigma capitate. Capsules 2 - 3-valved, globose, ellipsoid or obovoid; valves thin or woody of varying thickness, transversely ribbed or striate inside; seeds 2 to many, embedded in viscid, resinous pulp, irregularly angular, compressed, wrinkled or smooth, reddish or blackish.

Tropical and subtropical regions of Old World, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand; ca 100 species, 11 species in India.

Literature. GOWDA, M. (1951) The genus Pittosporum in Sino-Indian region. J. Arn. Arb. 32: 263 - 343. 1951.


1a. Capsules 3-valved 9. Pittosporum podocarpum
b. Capsules 2-valved 2
2a. Inflorescence glabrous 3
b. Inflorescence puberulous or tomentose 5
3a. Leaves verticillate, 3-nate towards ends of branches, linear-lanceolate, attenuate at apex; inflorescence simple, umbellate 1. Pittosporum anamallayense
b. Leaves alternate, loosely crowded at ends of branches, ovate to broadly elliptic or oblanccolate, obtuse to acuminate at apex; inflorescence paniculately umbellate or sometimes simple racemes 4
4a. Leaf-apex obtuse or rounded; peduncles equal to or longer than the subtending leaves 2. Pittosporum ceylanicum
b. Leaf-apex acute or acuminate; peduncles shorter than subtending leaves 8. Pittosporum neelgherrense
5a. Valves of capsules thin and coriaceous; funicles basal or suprabasal 6
b. Valves of capsules thick and woody; funicles distributed up to middle of the placenta 8
6a. Inflorescence few-flowered; flowers usually less than 10 in each inflorescence 10. Pittosporum tetraspermum
b. Inflorescence many-flowered; flowers 10 to 50 or more per inflorescence 7
7a. Leaves small, 3 - 7 x 0.8 - 1.2 cm, narrowly lanceolate; ovary glabrous 6. Pittosporum humile
b. Leaves large,5 - 20 x 2 - 8 cm, elliptic-oblong or elliptic-lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate; ovary Pubescent 7. Pittosporum napaulense
8a. Stems and leaves glabrous 11. Pittosporum viridulum
b. Stems and leaves rusty tomentose 9
9a. Flower buds ovate, 4 - 6 mm long; sepals narrowly lanecolate 5. Pittosporum ferrugineum
b. Flower buds oblong, 8 - 9 mm long; sepals triangular or ovate-lanceolate 10
10a. Leaves elliptic or elliptic-lanceotate, 5 - 14 x 2 - 3 cm, broad at the middle 3. Pittosporum dasycaulon
b. Leaves broadly oblong-obovate, oblong-oblanceolate, 6 - 8 x 3 - 5 (-9) cm, broad above the middle 4. Pittosporum eriocarpum

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