Creeping Gooseberry
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Creeping Gooseberry
A Native Photo: N Arun Kumar
Common name: Creeping Gooseberry • Malayalam: Nilam-tenga
Botanical name: Synostemon bacciformis    Family: Phyllanthaceae (Amla family)
Synonyms: Sauropus bacciformis, Breynia bacciformis, Emblica annua

Creeping Gooseberry is a low herb or subshrub to 20-60 cm tall, erect, spreading or prostrate, with branches pointedly 4-angled or with narrow membranous wing. Leaves are oblong, elliptic-obovate, round, or lanceshaped, 1-2.5 x 0.2-1.2 cm, fleshy, base rounded, rarely wedge-shaped, margin flat, tip blunt or pointed, mucronulate, stalk about 1 mm. Male flowers are several in lower axils, 1-2 mm in diameter; flower-stalks 1-1.5 mm; sepals 6, broadly ovate or obovate, 0.4-0.6 x 0.3-0.4 mm, tip irregularly rounded toothed; disk lobes fleshy, at bases of sepals, yellow-green; stamens 3-4 mm. Female flowers arise singly in distal axils, 3-4 mm in diameter flower-stalk 1-1.5 mm; sepals oblong-lanceshaped, 2-2.8 x 1-1.4 mm, tip pointed or tapering; disk absent. Fruiting sepals are reflexed; capsules broadly ovoid, 0.5-0.6 x 0.4-0.5 cm, purple when mature, with rim around styles. Creeping Gooseberry is found in Indian Ocean, Tropical & Subtropical Asia. Flowering: April-July.

Identification credit: N Arun Kumar Photographed in Kaigal, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh.

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