Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Antidesma Burm. ex L.

Shrubs or trees, dioecious, glabrous or pubescent. Leaves simple, alternate, entire, penninerved; petioles short; stipules usually narrow, sometimes conspicuous and subfoliaceous, caducous or persistent. Inflorescences terminal and axillary, rarely cauliflorous, simple or paniculate, racemose or spicate, with small flowers arising singly along the rachis; bracts small. Male flowers: sessile or shortly pedicellate; calyx shortly cupular, 3 – 5-lobed with imbricate lobes; petals absent; disc pulviniform, extra-staminal, composed of free or more or less connate glands; stamens 2 - 5, arising within the disc or between the disc glands or in the excavations of the disc, exserted; anther-thecae orbicular, distinct; connective thick; pistillode small. Female flowers: pedicellate or sometimes sessile; calyx as in male; petals absent; disc annular; ovary 1 (or 2) locular; locules biovulate; styles 3, terminal to lateral, ca 1 mm long, shortly connate at base, bifid or bilobed above, persistent. Fruits drupaceous, 3 - 15 mm long, symmetrical or oblique, indehiscent, usually laxly reticulate-alveolate, 1-seeded.

About 150 species, mainly in the Old World tropics, mostly in South-East Asia, Malesia, Australia and the Pacific, 10 species in Africa and Madagascar; 15 species in India.

Literature. CHAKRABARTY, T. & M. GANGOPADHYAY (2000). The genus Antidesma L. (Euphorbiaceae) in the Indian subcontinent. J. Econ. Taxon. Bot. 24: 1 - 55, ff. 1 - 23. PAX, F. & K. HOFFMANN (1922). Euphorbiaceae - Phyllantheae. In: A. Engler (ed.), Das Pflanzenreich IV.147.XV. (Heft 81): 1 - 349.

Notes. Hans (Taxon 22: 591 - 636. 1973) compiled the chromosome numbers of 7 species of Antidesma and also discussed the polyploidy in the genus (Cytologia 23: 321 - 327. 1970), based on x = 13, and opined that on cytological grounds, Antidesma cannot be removed to a separate family.


1a. Stamens 2 or very rarely 3 1. Antidesma acidum
b. Stamens 3 – 6 2
2a. Ovary pubescent at lower half, glabrous at upper half 5. Antidesma comptum
b. Ovary uniformly pubescent or glabro 3
3a. Inflorescences cauliflorous, fascicled 4
b. Inflorescences terminal and axillary 5
4a. Leaves oblong (or narrowly so) to oblong-elliptic or ovate-lanceolate, coriaceous; venation of leaves finely tessellated, forming more or less squarish reticulae 11. Antidesma puncticulatum
b. Leaves obovate, elliptic-obovate to oblanceolate, chartaceous; venation of leaves not finely tessellated 3. Antidesma bhargavae
5a. Stipules broad and conspicuous, ovate, elliptic to orbicular, more or less persistent 12. Antidesma tetrandrum
b. Stipules narrow, linear, lanceolate or subulate, deciduous 6
6a. Branchlets glabrous 7
b. Branchlets variously pubescent 11
7a. Axils of lower lateral nerves on the under surface of leaves with domatia or bearded with tufts of hairs; anthers large, ca 1 mm in diam. 4. Antidesma bunius
b. Axils of lower lateral nerves on the under surface of leaves without such domatia on tufts of hairs; anthers small, up to 0.5 mm in diam. 8
8a. Fruits inflated; styles terminal 9. Antidesma montanum
b. Fruits flattened; styles subterminal (except in A. khasianum) 9
9a. Leaves glossy, nervules very prominent on the upper surface forming a fine reticulum; fruits 4 - 5 (- 6) x 3 - 4 (- 5) mm 2. Antidesma alexiteria
b. Leaves not glossy, nervules inconspicuous or faint on the upper surfaces; fruits 7- 11 x 6 - 7 mm 10
10a. Midrib of leaves shallowly channeled on the upper surface; inflorescences 5 - 16 cm long; fruits oblique, 9 - 11 mm long; styles subterminal 7. Antidesma keralense
b. Midrib of leaves flat or slightly raised on the upper surface; inflorescences up to 6 cm long; fruits symmetric, 7 - 8 mm long; styles terminal 8. Antidesma khasianum
11a. Leaves rounded to obtuse at apex, often cordate at base 6. Antidesma ghaesembilla
b. Leaves acuminate, caudate, apiculate or at least narrowing at apex, rarely cordate (A. velutinosum) at base 12
12a. Fruits flattened; styles subterminal to lateral 13
b. Fruits inflated; styles terminal 15
13a. Leaves glabrous above; lateral nerves prominent on the upper surface; flowers sessile; fruits 10 - 13 x 6 - 8 mm, sessile 13. Antidesma tomentosum
b. Leaves pubescent above, at least on the midrib; lateral nerves inconspicuous or faint on the upper surface; flowers pedicellate; fruits 5 - 7 x 4 - 5 mm, pedicellate 14
14a. Male inflorescences 1 - 3 cm long; bracts up to 1 mm long; infructescences 2 - 8 cm long 10. Antidesma nigricans
b. Male inflorescences 5 - 12 cm long; bracts 2 - 3 mm long, giving the inflorescences a comose appearance when young; infructescences 7 - 12 cm long 14. Antidesma velutinosum
15a. Male flowers pedicellate 9. Antidesma montanum
b. Male flowers sessile 15. Antidesma velutinum

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