Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate or subopposite, palmately 3 - 5-nerved at base or penninerved, with sessile glands in between veins at base and stipels at top of petioles; stipules subulate, caducous or semipersistent. Inflorescences simple or panicled spikes or racemes. Male flowers: small, clustered; calyx globose and closed in bud; petals and disc absent; stamens (3 -) 6 - 8; filaments shortly coherent at base. Female flowers: solitary to a bract, on glandular thickening on the rachis; sepals (3 -) 4 (- 8), imbricate in bud, sometimes glandular, persistent; petals, disc and staminodes absent; ovary 3-loculed; ovule 1 in each locule; styles 3, free, simple or lobed, recurved, often elongate. Fruits 3-lobed, 3-valved, 3-seeded; seeds subglobose; testa crustaceous; endosperm fleshy; cotyledons flat.

Tropics of both and Old and New World, ca 62 species; 3 species in India.


1 a. Plants glabrescent; leaves cuneate-obovate or subpanduriform to elliptic, penninerved, estipellate; petioles 2 - 7 mm long; male inflorescences terminal, compound; fruits subglobose, deeply 3-lobed, smooth, 8 – 10 mm in diam. 2. Alchornea rugosa
b. Plants pubescent; leaves ovate to orbicular, trinerved at base, stipellate at base; petioles longer, 5 - 60 mm long; male inflorescences axillary or sometimes cauliflorous, simple; fruits globose or ellipsoid, shallowly 3-lobed, smooth or strongly muricate, 12 – 16 mm in diam. 2
2 a. Leaves softly pubescent beneath; stipels 4 - 6 mm long; fruits globose, smooth, pubescent 1. Alchornea mollis
b. Leaves pubescent only on nerves beneath; stipels 1.5 - 2 mm long; fruits ellipsoid, tuberculate, warted, not pubescent 3. Alchornea tiliifolia

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