Desert Maerua   
Foto info
Desert Maerua
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Desert Maerua • Hindi: हेमकन्द Hemkand • Gujarati: Vika • Telugu: Morinika • Tamil: பூமிசக்கரை Bhumichakkarai
Botanical name: Maerua arenaria    Family: Capparaceae (caper family)
Synonyms: Maerua ovalifolia, Maerua scabra, Niebuhria arenaria

Desert Maerua is a climbing shurb, growing up to 3 m long, commonly found growing wild in scrubland. Leaves are oblong-ovate, 2-4.5 cm long, 0.7-2.5 cm broad, entire. Flowers usually in dense, corymbose racemes, greenish-white, pedicellate. They look beautiful with mainly the greenish stamens radiating out. Sepals 4, ovate-elliptic, acute or slightly acuminate. Fruit cylindrical, 3-8 cm long, 1-1.5 cm broad, torulose or irregularly many knotted, pale brown, often somewhat twisted. A very variable species with regards to hairiness and size of leaves. It is very closely related to M. oblongifolia (Forssk.) A. Rich., from Arabia and Trop. Africa, differing in leaf texture and shape only. M. oblongifolia has thick textured leaves, almost linear and with a single mid rib only, while this species has thinner leaves, more or less ovate-elliptic with a mid rib and conspicuous secondary veins. Distribution: W. Pakistan, India and Ceylon.

Identification credit: Navendu Pagé
Photographed in J.N.U., Delhi & Maharashtra.
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