Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Muntingia calabura L., Sp. Pl. 509. 1753.

Large shrubs or small trees, 4 - 7 m tall; branches spreading; branchlets densely villous, glandular pubescent. Leaves 2-ranked, 6 - 11 x 2 - 4 cm, lanceolate or oblong- lanceolate, obliquely semicordate at base, acuminate at apex, serrate, chartaceous, veins 3 - 5 on either side of midrib, glandular hairy above, woolly beneath; petioles 5 mm long; stipules 1, rarely 2 with one reduced, lateral, 5 mm long, filiform, hairy. Inflorescences sessile, usually supra-axillary, fascicles of 2 or 3 flowers, rarely solitary, with 3 filiform bracts at base. Flowers white, rarely pink, 1.5 - 3 cm across; pedicels 2 - 2.5 cm long. Sepals 5, 1.5 cm long, lanceolate, caudate-acuminate, valvate, shortly connate at base, densely pubescent on both surfaces. Petals 5, thin, obovate, ovate or suborbicular, shortly clawed, equalling sepals, entire, imbricate and almost crumpled in bud. Intra staminal disc, annular on edge of shallowly concave receptacle, bearing a ring of hairs, on exterior margin. Stamens many, ca 1 cm long; filaments filiform; anthers elliptic, shorter than filaments, dorsifixed, versatile, longitudinally dehiscent. Ovary superior, 5 - 6 mm long, ellipsoid, 5-carpellary, syncarpous, 5-locular, ovules numerous on 2 pendulous placent, raised on a gynophore; styles short or absent; stigma capitate, 5-grooved; berries red or yellow, 1 - 1.5 cm across, subglobular, appearing irregularly many locular; pulp juicy, sweet. Seeds numerous, obovoid-ellipsoid, minute; testa crustaceous

Fl. & Fr. Almost throughout the year.

Introduced and cultivated in India.

Tropical America, West Indies and from southern Mexico to Peru, Northern Argentina and Brazil.

Notes. This species is commonly cultivated as an ornamental for its profuse showy flowers. The pulpy fruits are edible and attract birds when in fruits. The tough fibre of the inner bark is used for making ropes and cordage. This species can be propagated by cuttings and is drought resistent.

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