Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Semecarpus anacardium L.f., Suppl. Pl.: 182. 1781; Hook.f. Fl. Brit. India 2: 30. 1876.

Beng.: Bhela; Engl.: Marking-nut; Kan.: Karigeru; Mal.: Thenkotta; Mar.: Bhilawa; Or.: Bholia; Sans.: Bhallataka; Tam.: Thembara.

Trees, 6 - 12 m tall. Leaves obovate-oblong or elliptic-oblong, 6.5 - 40 x 3.5 - 21 cm, apex rounded, base cuneate or rounded, sometimes contracted below the middle, pubescent beneath; petioles 2 - 5 cm long. Panicles 15 - 40 cm long, pubescent. Male flowers 2.5 mm in diam., sessile. Calyx pubescent outside. Petals 2 x 1 mm. Stamens 2 mm long. Disc 1 mm in diam. Female flowers 3 mm in diam. Ovary 1.5 mm in diam.; styles densely hairy. Drupes obliquely ovoid or oblong, 1.5 - 3.5 x 1 - 1.8 cm, glabrous, glossy, black; hypocarp fleshy, turbinate, 1 - 2 x 1 - 1.5 cm, pubescent.

Fl. & Fr. : March - Jan.

Distrib. India: Tropical outer Himalaya and Shiwaliks, Gangetic Plain, Deccan, Konkan, in deciduous forests, ascending up to 1000 m. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andrhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Myanmar, Singapore, Malaya, China and Africa.

Notes. A native of India, cultivated in gardens in Singapore and Malaya. Also introduced in eastern Asia as far as China and westwards in Africa.

Uses. Hypocarp of fruits is eaten when ripe. Pericarp juice is used for marking linen, in varnish, paints, plastics and allied industries and also as wood preservative. The extract obtained by boiling the nuts is useful in the treatment of 'sciatica'.


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