Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Zanthoxylum armatum DC., Prodr. 1: 727. 1824; T.O. Hartley in J. Arn. Arb. 47: 211. 1966; Babu in Bull. Bot. Surv. India 16: 53. 1974 (1977). Z. alatum Roxb. (Hort. Bengal. 72. 1814, nom. nud.) Fl. Ind. ed. 2 (Carey) 3: 768. 1832; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 493. 1875.

Beng.: Gaira, Nepalithanya, Tambul; Gar.: Tezbal, Tezmal; Hindi: Nepali-dhaniya, Tejphal, Tamru; Or.: Tundopoda; Punj.: Timbar, Timal, Timlu; Sans.: Tumbru, Dhiva, Gadhalu.

Shrubs, erect or subscandent or small trees up to ca 6 m high; branchlets usually armed with straight, compressed or slightly recurved, pseudostipular or scattered, reddish-brown prickles, rarely unarmed, glabrous; bark grey-brownish, scabrate. Leaves 3-foliolate to imparipinnate, up to 20 cm long; petiole and rachis occasionally with short,compressed prickles, narrowly to broadly winged , wings foliaceus, 2.5 -5 mm broad on either side; leaflets 3 to 11, opposite, subsessile, ovate-lanceolate or elliptic to oblong, acute to cuneate and more or less oblique at base, acute or acuminate at apex, entire or glandular-crenate along margins, 0.7 - 15 x 0.4 - 2.8 cm, glossy green above, chartaceous, glabrous; secondary nerves indistinct 'or rarely prominulent, 5 - 20 pairs, marching near margins. Inflorescences terminal on short lateral branchlets, ca 12 cm long, sparsely pubescent to glabrous. Flowers small in short cymes. Male flowers: Bracts minute, ca 0.5 mm long, pubescent or glabrous. Perianth uni-or irregularly biseriate, segments ovate-lanceolate, acute or acuminate, ca 1 mm long, yellowish, glabrous. Stamens 6 - 8, exserted; filaments 1.5 - 2.5 mm long; anthers ovoid-oblong, ca 1 mm long, yellowish or reddish-purple, with a dorsal gland on connective. Disk pulvinate, ca 0.5 mm high. Pistillodes usually absent or very rarely 1 or 2. Female flowers: Pedicels ca 2 mm long, perianth and disk as in male flowers. Ovary 1 - 3- or sometimes 4-carpellate, each carpel ovoid-subglobose, ca 1.5 mm long, glandular-punctate, unilocular with 2 ovules attached to inner angle of axis; style short, ca 0.5 mm long; stigma capitate. Fruiting pedicels 1 - 3 mm long. Follicles 1 - 3 with 2, 1, or 0 caducous abortive carpels, ovoid-subglobose, apiculate with persistent stylar base, 3 - 4 mm , postular; seeds up to 3.5 mm across, ovoid, black, dull or shiny, smooth or wrinkled.

Fl. March - April; Fr. Aug.- Sept.

Distrib. India: In evergreen thickets throughout Himalayas up to 2000 m, and in Eastern Ghats of peninsular India between 90 - 1000 m. Occasionally cultivated. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

Pakistan, Nepal, Myanmar, China, Japan, N. & S. Korea, N. Vietnam, Taiwan, Lesser Sunda Islands, Philippines, Malaya peninsula and Sumatra.

Notes. Bark, fruit and seed are carminative, stomachic, anthelmintic and used in native medicine. The aromatic bark is used as a fish poison and insect repellant. Extract from fruits is used for dental troubles and scabies. An odoriferous oil known as 'Nartara oil" obtained on steam distillation of dried fruits, is used in perfume industry. In N.E. India leaves of this plant are used for making chutneys. The twigs are used as tooth brush and as a walking stick. The plant is very often grown as a hedge plant.

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