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Chinese Plant Names | Family List | Flacourtiaceae | Flacourtia

Flacourtia indica (Burm. f.) Merr.


Description from Flora of China

Gmelina indica N. L. Burman, Fl. Indica, 132. 1768; Flacourtia parvifolia Merrill.

Shrubs or small trees, 2-4 m tall, deciduous; bark gray-yellow, fissured, flaky; old branches usually not spiny; young branches with axillary, simple spines; branchlets puberulous or subglabrous. Petiole red, short, 3-5 mm, puberulous; leaf blade greenish abaxially, deep green adaxially, rose red when young, obovate to oblong-obovate, 2-4 × 1.5-3 cm, thickly papery, abaxially glabrous or sparsely pubescent, hairs spreading and short, adaxially glabrous, midvein raised abaxially, flat adaxially, lateral veins 5-7 pairs, reticulate veins conspicuous, base mostly acute to obtuse, margin serrulate above middle, apex rounded, sometimes retuse. Inflorescences axillary or terminating short lateral twigs, racemose, short; rachis 0.5-2 cm, puberulous. Pedicels 3-5 mm, puberulous, hairs spreading. Sepals 5 or 6, ovate, ca. 1.5 mm, outside glabrous or with a few scattered short hairs, inside sparsely to densely pubescent, margin white ciliate in dried material, apex obtuse. Staminate flowers: stamen filaments 2-2.5 mm, pubescent or less often glabrous. Pistillate flowers: ovary globose, placentas 5 or 6; styles 5 or 6, united only at base, radiating, 1-2 mm, slender. Fruit dull to blackish red, globose, 8-10 mm in diam., longitudinally 5- or 6-angled, styles persistent. Seeds 5 or 6. Fl. Jan-Mar, fr. Mar-Jul.

The taxonomy of Flacourtia indica is complex. Some authors have treated the species in a broad sense, and include in synonymy not only F. ramontchi (see below) but also several other entities found across tropical Asia and Africa. For an introduction to the problem, see Matthew (Fl. Tamilnadu Carnatic 3(1): 59-61. 1983), Mitra (in Sharma et al., Fl. India 2: 402-403. 1993), Sleumer (Fl. Males., ser. 1, 5(1): 76-77. 1954), and Verdcourt (in Dassanayake & Clayton, Rev. Handb. Fl. Ceylon 10: 222-224. 1996). Some of the taxonomic confusion might be due to a loss of significant field characters during the preparation of herbarium material (Verdcourt, loc. cit.). In the present account, F. ramontchi is treated as a separate species because, on the evidence of herbarium material at PE, it seems to be a distinct and recognizable entity within China. Descriptions of F. ramontchi vary; for example, compare that below with Matthew (loc. cit.).

Broad-leaved forests; sea level to 1400 m. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan [widespread and cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific islands].


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