Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Skimmia anquetilia N.P. Taylor & Airy Shaw in Bot. Mag. 182: 170 - 171, t. 789. 1980; Palunin & Stainton, Fl. Himalaya 72, Pl. 22. 1984. Limonia laureola Wallich, Pl. Asiat. Rar. 3: 23. 1832, tantum quoad, specim. Sirmore (G. Govan) et Kumaon (Blink-worth), non DC. 1824. Skimmia laureola sensu Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 499. 1875, p.p., non (DC.) Sieb. et Zucc. ex Walpers 1846.

Erect or creeping shrubs, up to ca 1.5 m high, densely branched, aromatic, bark yellowish, smooth or faintly fissured. Leaves often crowded at tips of branches, oblanceolate or elliptic-oblong, narrowly cuneate at base, acute or obtuse at apex, entire along margins, slightly revolute on drying 6.5 - 16.5 x 4.5 cm, coriaceous, finely granular when dry; midnerve prominent beneath; secondary nerves usually indistinct, rarely obsolete; petioles 5 - 15 mm long, marginate. Inflorescences terminal, paniculate, 2 - 4 cm long; peduncle corymbose, glabrous or minutely puberulent. Flowers in dense globose heads of cymes, 5-merous, abortively unisexual, 4 - 6 mm long, yellow, inodorous, half-opened; bracts 2 - 3 mm long, lanceolate, ciliate at margins, caducous or rarely persistent; bracteoles 2, ovate-triangular, ciliate; pedicels short, 1.5 - 2 mm long, puberulous. Male flowers: Sepals 5, connate below, imbricate, ovate or suborbicular, obtuse, ca 1 mm long, 1.2 - 1.5 mm broad, ciliate. Petals 5, valvate, semierect, oblong or oblanceolate, obtuse, clawed, 4 - 6 mm long, ca 2 mm broad, glabrous. Stamens 5, equal to petals in length; filaments subulate, glabrous; anthers ellipsoid, 1 - 1.5 mm long, orange-yellowish, dehiscing longitudinally on both sides. Disk lobulate, ca 0.5 mm high, ca 1 mm broad. Pistillodes solitary, arising at centre of disk, cylindrical, ca 2.5 mm long. Female flowers: sepals, petals and disk as in male flowers. Staminodes 5, filiform, ca 3 mm long with effete anthers. Ovary globose, ca 2 mm long and broad, punctate, glabrous, 2(-3) locular, ovule one in each locule; style short and stout; stigma 3-lobed, punctate. Fruiting pedicels ca 5 mm long. Drupes ovoid, 7 10 mm long, 4 - 5 mm across, red; stones 1 - 2, 1-seeded.

Fl. April - May; Fr. July - Nov.

Distrib. India: Open forests of W. Himalayas at 1830 - 3030 m, often found in Quercus-Rhododendron forests. Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

Afghanistan, Pakistan and W. Nepal.

Notes. Unlike other species of Skimmia, S. anquetilia is not much valued in horticulture mainly due to its unexpanding flowers with an unpleasant odour. However, it is of botanical interest as one of the parents of the hybrid, S x confusa. According to B.M. Lawrence (Perfumer & Flavorist 7: 38. 1982; cf. Taylor 1987), the plants have been accepted in perfume trade in India as their leaves yield essential oils similar to the well known perfume, French petit grain brigarde oil. Leaves have a pleasent smell, similar to musk or orange peel.


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