Ashy Potato-Bush
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Ashy Potato-Bush
P Native Photo: P.S. Sivaprasad
Common name: Ashy Potato-Bush
Botanical name: Phyllanthus cinereus    Family: Phyllanthaceae (Amla family)
Synonyms: Diasperus cinereus, Epistylium floribundum, Reidia cinerea

Ashy Potato-Bush is a shrub, up to 2 m tall, branches hairy or woolly; leaf-bearing branchlets 7-25 cm long, velvet-hairy to scattered hairy. Leaves are more or less oblique, ovate to ovate-oblong or oblong to oblong-elliptic, 1-2.7 x 0.5-1.6 cm, unequal and pointed, blunt or rounded at base, with a sharp point at tip, membranous, scattered hairy to finely velvet-hairy above and beneath; lateral nerves 5-10 pairs; leaf-stalks 1-1.3 mm long, woolly to finely velvet-hairy. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils; male cymules 2 or 3-flowered, at the proximal axils; female cymules 1-flowered, at the tips. Bracts are triangular-tapering to linear-thread-like, 1-3 x 0.4-0.5 mm, entire to irregularly finely toothed. Male flowers: flower-stalks 5-10 mm long, hairy; sepals 2 + 2, ovate-lanceshaped, 2-2.5 x 0.8-1.2 mm, entire and fringed with hairs, thin, hairy to sparsely hairy outside. Female flowers: flower-stalks 1.0-1.5 cm long, finely velvet-hairy; sepals 6, oblong-elliptic to ovate, 2.5-3 x 1.2-2 mm, entire to wavy-sawtoothed and frilly along margins, finely velvet-hairy. Fruits are nearly spherical 4-5 x 5-7 mm, coarsely brown-hairy or velvet-hairy; fruiting flower-stalks 1-2 cm long. Ashy Potato-Bush is found at 600-1800 m altitudes, in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Sri Lanka. Flowering: April-December.

Identification credit: M. Rajkumar Photographed in BSI Botanical Garden, Yercaud, Tamil Nadu.

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