Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Melicope indica Wight, Icon. Pl. Ind. Orient. 3: t. 1051. 1845; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 492. 1875; Gamble, Fl. Pres. Madras 1: 149. 1915; Sharma et al., Biol. Mem. 2: 26. 1977.

Shrubs or small trees, up to 5 m high. Leaves unifoliolate; petioles 2 - 7 cm long, slender, horizontally grooved above, cylindric otherwise, glabrous; leaflets elliptic or narrowly obovate, cuneate at base, obtusely acuminate or rarely rounded at apex, entire along margins, 4 - 12 x 2 - 6 cm, coriaceous, glabrous; secondary nerves 9 - 15 pairs, slender, prominent, reticulate. Flowers 3 or 5 in axillary cymes or umbels, functionally unisexual; bracts and bracteoles ovate, obtusely acute at apex, ca 1 mm long, pellucid-punctate, pubescent abaxially, glabrous adaxially; pedicels 3 - 5 mm long, densely puberulent. Male flowers: Sepals 4, free to base, imbricate, orbicular, ca 2 x 2.5 mm, ridged on abaxial side, pubescent abaxiallya long ridge, glabrous adaxially. Petals 4, imbricate, ovate, acute, ca 5 x 3 mm, minutely hairy abaxially, glabrous adaxially. Disk obscure. Stamens 8; filaments linear, 2.5 - 3.5 mm long; anthers oblong or subcordate, ca 1 mm long, yellowish. Pistillodes with an abortive ovary and rudimentary styles at centre. Female flowers: Sepals, petals and disk as in male flowers. Staminodes 8, 2.5 - 3.5 mm long. Gynoecium 4-carpellate, 4-lobed, ca 1.5 mm long, ca 2 mm broad, pubescent, ovules 2 in each carpel; styles 4, coherent above, free below, ca 2 mm long; stigma capitate, 4-lobed, ca 1 mm broad. Fruits capsular, connate almost along entire length, ca 10 mm broad, exocarp subfleshy, glabrous, endocarp crustaceous; seeds one in each locule, remain attached in capsule by a funiculus, ca 5 mm long, black shiny.

Fl. Jan. -July; Fr. Ripens in December.

Distrib. India: Evergreen shola forests of Nilgiri Ranges m southern W. Ghats at 1825 - 2275 m altitudes. Rare.


Notes. M. indica is so far reported to occur in five localities of Nilgiri ranges viz. Bangitapal, Kundha, Lakkadi, Mudimund and Sispara, where all populations recorded are very low and vulnerable due to human interference.


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