Assam Ironwood
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Assam Ironwood
E Native Photo: Niku Das
Common name: Assam Ironwood • Assamese: Sia-nahor
Botanical name: Kayea assamica    Family: Calophyllaceae (Beautyleaf family)
Synonyms: Mesua assamica, Vatica imbricata

Assam Ironwood is a tall evergreen tree, 25 m tall. Trunk is straight, cylindrical, about 12 x 2-2.5 m, handsome, slow growing, hairless; wood light red to reddish-brown, somewhat lustrous, hard and heavy; bark grey or brownish-grey, light, often exfoliating in large square flakes; branchlets greenish-yellow, round. Leaves are simple, opposite; leaf-stalks about 2 cm long, slender; blade about 7.5-17 x 4-5.5 cm, wedge-shaped at base, shortly tapering at tip, often finely mucronulate, more or less shiny above, dull beneath, firmly leathery; secondary nerves 15-30 pairs, forming an uneven marginal nerve. Flowers are borne in leaf-axils or at branch-ends, in fascicled panicles with short, hairless, bracteate, slender, decussate branches. Flower buds are about 2 mm in diameter, globular or spherical. Flowers are small, about 7-8 mm across, white, bracts and bracteoles opposite, small, falling off; flower-stalks about 5-7 mm long, slender, elongated and thickened in fruit; sepals 4 in 2 pairs, overlapping; outer pair about 5 mm long, round or nearly round, inner spoon-shaped, accrescent in fruit. Petals are 4, nearly round, about 4 mm long, white, thin; stamens numerous, longer than sepals; filaments free, capillary; anthers spherical; ovary unilocular, ovules 4, erect; style slender; stigma 4-fid. Fruit is about 2.5 x 4.5-6.5 cm, depressed spherical, corky outside, latex yellowish-brown. Seeds are about 2.5-3.2 cm in diameter, reddish-brown, usually solitary, spherical but very depressed, smooth. Wood is a good timber, hard and durable, used in rafters, building beams and other construction work. Fruits used in fish poisoning. Assam Ironwood is native to NE India, Malaya, Myanmar.

Identification credit: Rupantar Gogoi Photographed in Dullung R.F., Lakhimpur District, Assam.

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