Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Zanthoxylum ovalifolium Wight, Ill. Ind. Bot. 1: 169. 1839; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 492. 1875. Z. separium Wight, l.c. Z. ovalifolium var. separium (Wight) Hook.f. l.c.

Kan.: Armadalu; Kh.: Diang-sinulah, Tew Kalong, Diand-Shih.

Shrubs or small trees up to 8 m high; branchlets glabrous, unarmed or occasionally with a few straight or incurved, reddish-brown, 3 - 6 mm long prickles. Leaves digitately trifoliolate or rarely uni- or bi- or very rarely 4 - 5-foliolate, up to 30 cm long; petioles (and rachis) slightly marginate, 5 - 10.5 cm long, unarmed or rarely armed with short Prickles, glabrous; leaflets ovate to elliptic-oblong or obovate, acute to cuneate and slightly oblique at base, abruptly acuminate with a short, retuse acumen or rarely obtuse at apex, subentire or glandular-crenate to double crenate along margins, 4 - 22 x 2.0 - 7.5 cm, chartaceous to coriaceous, glabrous; secondary nerves 8 to 20 pairs, prominent; petiolules ca 5 mm long. Inflorescences axillary and terminal, paniculate, 3 - 13 cm long, glabrate or puberulous. Male flowers 2 - 3 mm long; pedicels slender, 1.5 - 3 mm long, glabrate, rarely glandular. Sepals 4, triangular, acute, ca 1 mm long, glandular. Petals 4, elliptic-oblong, obtuse, 2 - 3 mm long, white. Stamens 4, 2 - 3 mm long; filaments linear; anthers oblong, ca 1 mm long. Disk pulvinate, ca 0.8 mm high. Pistillodes single, conical, ca 1 mm high. Female flowers 3 - 4 mm long; pedicels, sepals and petals as in male flowers. Disk pulvinate, ca 0.5 mm high. Staminodes 4, filiform, ca 1 mm long. Gynoecium 1-carpellate, ca 2 mm long; ovary ovoid, glandular-punctate; style ca 0.5 mm long, eccentric; stigma globose. Fruiting pedicels 4 - 7 mm long. Follicle-single, subglobose , apiculate, 6 - 9 mm across, pustular; seeds globose, 5 - 6 mm across, black.

Fl. May - June; Fr. Sept.- Oct.

Distrib. India: Evergreen forests up to 1500 m altitude. W. Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Myanmar, Java, Lesser Sunda Islands, Papua & New Guinea.

Notes. The hard, close grained and lustrous wood is used for making tool handles and in cabinet work. It is also used as walking stick. Seeds on distillation yield an essential oil, the chief content of it, 'saffrol' is poisonous and carcinogenic.

A variable species as regards its habit, armature and number, size, outline and texture of leaflets. The Andaman forms have unusually larger leaves than those occurring in the peninsular and north-eastern India. Although, leaves are generally digitately trifoliolate, a specimen collected in Attakati hills (Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, S. India Joseph 1273 (MH) shows imparipinnate leaves with 4 or 5 leaflets.


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