Ceylon Paracroton
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Ceylon Paracroton
E Native Photo: Anurag Sharma
Common name: Ceylon Paracroton • Malayalam: Modha, Modakam, Vellamaram
Botanical name: Paracroton pendulus subsp. zeylanicus    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Desmostemon zeylanicus, Fahrenheitia zeylanica, Ostodes zeylanica

Ceylon Paracroton is a tree up to 20 m tall with bark greyish-brown; blaze dull yellow; branches angled. Leaves are simple, alternate; stipules lateral, falling off, leaf-stalk 40-70 mm long, stout with 4 glands at the tip of the leaf-stalk in 2 rows on either side, leoidote scales present. Leaves are 15-30 x 7.5-12 cm, oblong, elliptic-oblong or obovate, base pointed, tip bluntly tapering, margin distantly sawtoothed, hairless, leathery; lateral nerves 10-15 pairs, pinnate, ascending, prominent; intercostae scalariform, prominent. Flowers are unisexual, white, in lax, at branch-ends and lateral elongate drooping racemes; bracts ovate, fringed with hairs; tepals 10 in 2 rows; outer 5 unequal, densely lepidote-scaly outside; inner 5 longer than outer lobes, white; disc glands 5-10; stamens many, filaments free; ovary 3-celled, ovule 1 in each cell; styles 3, bifid. Fruit a capsule, 2.5-3 cm across, rusty woolly, spherical, splitting into 3, 2 valved cocci; sees ovoid. Ceylon Paracroton is found in Western Ghats and Sri Lanka.

Identification credit: Tapas Chakrabarty Photographed in Agumbe, Karnataka.

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