Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Trees or shrubs, dioecious, rarely monoecious, glabrous with acrid milky juice. Leaves alternate or opposite, simple, petiolate, penninerved; lateral nerves closely parallel or lax and arcuate; stipules minute, fimbriate along margins, caducous. Inflorescences axillary or terminal bracteate spikes, racemes or a head; male spikes catkin-like, longer than female ones; female flowers at the base of the male spikes or in separate spikes; bracts concave, with large sessile glands beneath at base or at the sides. Male flowers: 1 - 3 in each bract, 2-bracteolate; calyx 2 or 3-lobed, imbricate; petals and disc absent; stamens 2 or 3, alternate with calyx-lobes; filaments free, exserted; anthers oblong, didymous with 2 parallel thecae, basifixed, longitudinally dehiscent; pistillode absent. Female flowers: few; calyx subequally 3-partite, thick; petals and disc absent; ovary 3-locular; each locule 1-ovuled; styles 3, shortly connate at base into a short stout column, spreading or recurved and stigmatose above. Fruits capsular rhegmas, depressedglobose, consisting of 3 cocci separating from a columella, the valves twisting elastically, sometimes with a fleshy outer layer; seeds ovoid, carunculate; testa crustaceous, marbled; endosperm fleshy; cotyledons flat.

Paleotropical, mostly in Asia, ca 35 species; 6 species indigenous and 1 species cultivated in India.

Literature. CHAKRABARTY, T. & M. GANGOPADHYAY (1994). A revision of Excoecaria L. (Euphorbiaceae) for Indian subcontinent. J. Econ. Taxon. Bot. 18: 193 - 210.


1 a. Plants dioecious, of mangrove or littoral areas; leaves alternate, with basally two glands in the margin at either side of the petiole; male flowers in very dense catkins 2. Excoecaria agallocha
b. Plants monoecious, of interior forest areas; leaves alternate or opposite, without basal glands in the margin; male flowers in open racemes or in heads 2
2 a. Leaves opposite or at least partly opposite 3
b. Leaves entirely alternate 5
3 a. Leaves all opposite, green beneath; inflorescences with one type of flowers only, male inflorescences 3.5 - 22 cm long; fruits slightly depressed and shallowly lobed, usually larger, 1 - 6 cm in diam. 4
b. Leaves alternate or opposite, wine-red beneath; inflorescences with basally a few female flowers and apically many male ones; male inflorescences 1 - 3 cm long; fruits much depressed and deeply lobed, smaller, up to 1 cm in diam. 0. Excoecaria cochinchinensis
4 a. Branchlets mostly flattened or tetragonous; male inflorescences 3.5 – 8 cm long; fruits 1 – 3 cm in diam. 3. Excoecaria crenulata
b. Branchlets mostly terete; male inflorescences 5 – 22 cm long; fruits 4 – 6 cm in diam. 5. Excoecaria oppositifolia
5 a. Leaves larger, 25 - 32 x 8 - 11 cm; petioles 3 - 4 cm long 6. Excoecaria rectinervis
b. Leaves smaller, 2.5 - 16 x 1 - 5 cm; petioles 0.2 - 3 cm long 6
6 a. Leaves closely and regularly serrulate along margins; lateral nerves close, parallel, conspicuously raised on the upper surface; tertiary nerves closely parallel and running predominantly at right angles to the midrib; fruits 1.5 - 1.8 cm in diam. 1. Excoecaria acerifolia
b. Leaves distantly repand-serrulate along margins; lateral nerves distant and arcuate, obscure or faint on the upper surface; tertiary nerves laxly reticulate; fruits up to 1 cm in diam. 4. Excoecaria cuspidata

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