Coromandel Ebony
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Coromandel Ebony
ative Photo: Shaista Ahmad
Common name: Coromandel Ebony, Black Ebony, Ebony Persimmon, Kendu leaves, Tendu leaves, Ebony, East Indian Ebony • Bengali: Kend, Kendu • Hindi: आबनूस Abnus, Kendu, Tendu, Timburni • Kannada: ಅಬನಾಸಿ Abanasi, ಬಾಳಾಯಿ Balai, ತೂಪ್ರ Toopra, ತೂಪರ Toopara, ತೂಪುರ Toopura, ತುಂಬುರುಸು Tumburusu, ಮಲ್ಲಾಳಿ Mallaali • Malayalam: Kari • Marathi: Tendu, Temru, Timburni • Nepali: Abnush, Tendu • Sanskrit: दीर्घपत्रक Dirghapatraka • Santali: ᱛᱤᱨᱤᱞ Terel • Tamil: Karai, Karundumbi, Tumbi • Telugu: Tuniki, Beedi Aaku
Botanical name: Diospyros melanoxylon    Family: Ebenaceae (Ebony family)
Synonyms: Diospyros tupru, Diospyros dubia, Diospyros wightiana

Coromandel Ebony is a medium-sized tree or shrub up to 25 m, and 1.9 m girth. The bark is pelican in colour, peeling in rectangular scales, which is an identifying feature. The species name melanoxylon comes from the Greek melas (black) and xylon (wood). The primary root is long, thick and fleshy at first, afterwards woody, greyish, often swollen in upper part near ground level. The roots form vertical loops in sucker-generated plants. Elliptic-oblong leaves can be opposite or alternate, leathery, up to 35 cm long, velvety on both sides when young, becoming smooth above when fully grown. Leaves are used for making beedis. Male flowers are mauve in colour, tetramerous to sextamerous, 1-1.5 cm long, sessile or nearly sessile in short peduncles, mostly 3-flowered. Female flowers mauve, mostly extra-axillary or sometimes solitary, axillary generally 2, opposite each other, larger than the male flowers. Fruits olive green, ovoid or globose 3-4 cm across; 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, or 8-seeded berries. Pulp yellow, soft and sweet. Seeds compressed, oblong, shiny, often banded.

Identification credit: Navendu Pāgé Photographed in IISc campus, Bangalore & SGNP, Mumbai.

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