Chakrabarty's Croton
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Chakrabarty's Croton
P Native Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Chakrabarty's Croton
Botanical name: Croton chakrabartyi    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Croton gibsonianus auct. plur. non Nimmo

Chakrabarty's Croton is a newly described (2021) shrub, with male and female flowers on the same plant, up to 2 m tall, branchlets pentagonal, velvet-hairy, with translucent exudate. The species name honors Dr. Tapas Chakrabarty a former scientist at Botanical Survey of India. Leaves are simple, alternate, spirally arranged, rarely nearly opposite, stipulate, stipule subulate, 2-2.5 mm long, leaf-stalk 0.5-4.5 cm long, channeled above, blade elliptic-oblong, 7-25 x 2-7 cm, tip tapering or with a tail, margin sawtoothed, base wedge-shaped to rounded with two ridged stipitate basal glands, lateral nerves 4-14 pairs, hairless on both sides. Flowers are borne in branch-end raceme-like cymes 17-30 cm long. Male flowers are often 1-3 per node, pedicle 3-8 mm long, velvet-hairy; receptacle woolly; sepals 5, ovate-elliptic to oblong, 1.5-2.5 x 1-1.5 mm, pointed. Petals are 5, recurved, spoon-shaped to inverted-lanceshaped or oblong with blunt tip, margin fringed with hairs, woolly at the base on upper side about 1 x 0.5 mm, hairy; stamens 9-11, filaments about 1.5 mm long, anthers oblong, about 0.5 mm long, glands 5, oblate. Female flowers are solitary to few, at the proximal end of the raceme; flower-stalk 2-5 mm long, hairy; sepals 5, ovate, about 2.5 x 1 mm, petals 5, much reduced to clusters of hairs; nectaries 5, oblate; ovary spherical, about 2 mm in diameter, densely star-shaped hairy; styles 3, free or shortly fused at base into a column, linear, 2.5-4.5 mm long. Capsule is greyish brown, spherical, 9-14 mm in diameter, tricoccus, without accrescent sepals, densely star-shaped velvet-hairy. Chakrabarty's Croton is endemic to Karnataka and Kerala.

Identification credit: Maniruddin Dhabak, Rushanh Chaudhari, Sneha Bramhadande, Mayur Nandikar Photographed at Agumbe Ghat, Karnataka.

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