Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Zanthoxylum rhetsa (Roxb.) DC., Prodr. 1: 728. 1824; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 495. 1875; Babu in Bull. Bot. Surv. India 16: 56. 1974 (1977). Fagara rhetsa Roxb., Fl. Ind. 1: 438. 1820. Tipalia limonella Dennst. in Schluss., Hort. Malab. 31. 1818, nom. nude Zanthoxylum limonella (Dennst.) A!ston in Trimen, Handb. Fl. Ceylon Suppl. 6: 37. 1931, nom. illegit. Fagara budrunga Roxb., Fl. Ind. ed. 1: 437. 1820. Zanthoxylum burdunga (Roxb.) DC., Prodr. 1: 728. 1824. Z. budrunga (Roxb.) DC. var. rhetsa (Roxb.) Haines, Bot. Bihar Orissa 1: 165. 1921.

Beng.: Basinali, Kantahorina, Tambol; Guj.: Jejabala; Hindi: Badrang; Kan.: Jummina, Jimmimra; Mal.: Mullilavu; Mar.: Tirphal, Chilphal; Sans.: Ashvaghra, Mullilam; Tam.: Iratehi, Elarangam; Tel.: Rhetsamaram.

Trees, up to 30 m high, with a long bole and spreading crown, evergreen or deciduous; main trunk with stout, broad, conical prickles of ca 5 mm long; branchlets Woody, terete, sparsely prickly. Leaves paripinnate or imparipinnate, usually confined at hp of branchlets 30 - 45 cm long; petiole and rachis slightly grooved above when young, becoming cylindric on maturity, usually prickly; leaflets 5 - 33, opposite and subopposite, ovate-oblong or lanceolate, acute to cuneate and oblique at base, caudate-acuminate at apex, acumen 1.5 - 3 cm long, entire to remotely crenate along margins with large glands in sinuses of crenatures, 7 - 19 x 3 - 6.5 cm, chartaceous to coriaceous, glabrous; petioles 2 - 7 mm long. Panicles terminal or pseudoterminal (from uppermost leaf axil), 10 - 25 cm long, peduncle and axes glabrous to puberulent, sometimes prickly. Male flowers 1.5 - 2.5 mm long. Pedicels 1 - 2 mm long. Sepals 4, ovate-triangular, obtuse, subentire or fimbriate along margins, ca 0.5 mm long, green. Petals 4, valvate, elliptic-oblong, obtuse, 2 - 2.5 mm long, white or creamy yellow. Stamens 4, ca 2.5 mm long; anthers oblong, ca 1 mm long, yellow. Disk pulvinate, lobulate, ca 0.5 mm high. Pistillodes solitary, 0.5 mm high. Female flowers 1.5 - 2.5 mm long; pedicels, sepals, petals as in male flowers. Staminodes absent. Disk pulvinate, ca 0.3 mm high. Gynoecium 1-car-pellate, 1 -1.5 mm high; style eccentric; stigma truncate. Fruiting pedicels 1 - 4 mm long· Follicles single, globose, apiculate, 5 - 7 mm across, pustular; seeds globose, 4 - 6 mm across, bluish-black.

Fl. March-June; Fr. Sept. -Nov.

Distrib. India: Evergreen or moist deciduous forests up to 600 m. Bihar, W. Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Orissa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andaman Islands.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, S. Vietnam, Malay peninsula, Java, Philippines, Celebes, Moluccas & Papua.

Notes. Root bark is diuretic and used in Ayurvedic medicines. Stem bark is bitter, aromatic. Pericarp of unripe fruits tastes like orange rind and is pickled. Dried fruits are used as a condiment especially to add taste to fish curries in western and southefll India. Seeds are pungent and taste like black pepper. In Nagaland, powdered seeds are used for catching fish. An oil known as 'Mullilam oil' is extracted from dried mature fruits and is used as an antiseptic and disinfectant; it is also applied for treatment of cholera and inflammatory dermatosis. Wood is durable and is used as a substitute for sal and teak. It is also used in furniture. In Assam, it is occasionally used for making house posts.


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