Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Pangium edule Reinw., Syll. Ratisb. 2: 13. 1825; Hore et al. in J. Econ. Tax. Bot. 6: 417. 1985.

Trees, usually dioecious, (10-) 20 - 45 m tall, with a dense crown and drooping branches; trunk up to 1 m in diam., buttressed when old; bark brownish, smooth; branchlets fistular, rufus tomentose, becoming glabrous and marbled with leaf scars when old. Leaves crowded at apices of branches, alternate, broadly ovate, cordate to subtruncate at base, acutely acuminate at apex, entire, (10-) 12 - 30 (-60) x 7.5 - 20 (-40) cm, chartaceous, dark green, shiny and glabrous above, paler and rusty scurfy, especially along veins beneath, palmately 5 - 7-veined from base; primary basal veins upcurved, gradually diminishing apically inside margin and joining superadjacent primary and secondary veins by a series of cross veins; petioles swollen at base, (7-) 10 - 30 (-50) cm long. Male flowers waxy pale green, 4 - 9 in rusty tomentose 6 - 24 cm long corymbs; pedicels 2.5 - 4 cm long. Calyx at first closed, globose, irregularly splitting into 2 - 3 (-4) caducous reflexed segments at anthesis, rusty tomentose in bud. Petals 4 - 9, imbricate, patent, ovate-oblong with recurved ciliate margins, 1.5 - 2.5 cm long, fleshy, waxy white, patent, reflexed afterwards; epipetalous scales ovate-orbicular, arched, 5 - 9 mm long, densely appressed brownish scriceous pilose. Stamens 20 - 25 (-30), free, half as long to petals, waxy white; anthers ovoid, dorsifixed; filaments broad; pollen tricolporate, lanceolate, oblate to spheroidal. Pistillode absent. Female flowers solitary or 2 - 4 together in corymbs on main stem or older branches, slightly bigger than males; pedicels 6 - 11 cm long. Calyx and petals similar to those in males but petals somewhat bigger. Staminodes as many as petals, inantherous. Carpels 2 - 4, connate into unilocular ovary, ovoid, brownish sericeous pilose; ovules many in parietal placenta; stigma sessile, obscurely 2 - 4-lobed. Berry 2 - 4 together, arising from trunk, pendulous, asymmetric, mostly ovoid-oblong or ellipsoid-oblong, beaked at apex, 15 - 25 x 7.5 - 12 cm and ca 1 - 2 kg in weight, indehiscent; pericarp brown, rufus pubescent. Seeds ca 20, enclosed by a white fleshy aril and embedded in sweet aromatic edible pulp, triangular-ovoid, 3.5 - 5 cm long, conspicuously marked with loosely branched ribs; testa hard, ribbed; endosperm oily; cotyledons foliaceous.

Fl. April - June, probably in flashes throughout the year; Fr. ripens mostly at the beginning of rainy season.

Distrib. India: Coastal and lowland interior forests along river banks. Great Nicobar Island (Laful forest).

Throughout Malesia, extending to Melanesia and Micronesia.

Notes. Trees producing male flowers are occasionally reported to bear both male, as well as one or two bigger terminal female flowers (apparently bisexual with 20 - 25 stamens with empty anthers) on the same inflorescence.

The fruits are aromatic and edible when ripe. The seeds and other parts of the plant contain cyanogenic glycoside-gynocardine and are used as fish and dart poison. In Malesia seeds are eaten after removing hydrocyanic acid by washing, boiling, etc., and an oil extracted from seeds is used as cooking medium and as an illuminant.

A potentially useful tree for afforestation and ecorestoration in Andaman & Nicobar Islands

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