Laurus tamala Ham.
Trees, medium sized, up to 10 m tall; branchlets slender. Terminal bud small, sericeous, 2 bud scales. Leaves sub-opposite or spirally arranged, chartaceous to sub-coriaceous, glabrous in mature specimens, ovate, oblong to lanceolate, 2.5-8 x 7.5-25 cm, apex long acuminate, base acute; above smooth, the main nerves prominulous, below obscurely, densely minutely reticulate, midrib slender, prominent, basal nerves prominent, 4/5 or more of the lamina length, connected by faint, parallel secondary veins, 3-5 mm apart. Petiole slender, up to 1.5 cm long. Panicles axillary or pseudoterminal, slender, many-flowered, up to 10 cm long. Pedicels filiform, 4-8 mm long. Flower tuber short. Tepals oblong, 3-4 mm, inside sericeous. Stamens slightly shorter than the tepals; anthers oval, c. the filament length, 4-celled, of whorls 1 and 2 introrse, of whorl 3, the basal cells extrorse, the smaller upper ones latrorse; gland small, attached to the middle of the filaments. Staminodes as long as the stamens, hastate, long-stipitate. Style thickish, as long as the ovary; stigma small, peltate. Fruit slender, ellipsoid, acutish, up to 7 x 11 mm; cup obconical, fleshy, up to 5 mm high and 7 mm in diameter at the rim, the basal part obconical, merging into the, up to 8 mm long, obconical pedicel; 1-2 mm long basal part of the tepals in fruit hardened, persistent.
Fl. Per.: May June.
Type: From Derwani and Gongachora, cultivated in a garden at Rang-poor, Hamilton (BM).
Distribution: Tropical and subtropical Himalayas from the Indus to Bhutan, ascending to 2000 m in Sikkim.
The wild cinnamon is rare in our area. The leaves are sold in the bazars as ‘Tamala patra’ or ‘Tez pat’ and are used as a spice. Formerly imported in Europe as Folium indum.