Free-Flowering Litsea
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Free-Flowering Litsea
E Native Tree elliptic Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Free-Flowering Litsea • Malayalam: Pattuthali
Botanical name: Litsea floribunda    Family: Lauraceae (Laurel family)
Synonyms: Cylicodaphne floribunda

Free-Flowering Litsea is a tree, up to 15 m tall, bark 8-10 mm thick, light brown, smooth, brittle, warty; lenticels horizontal; blaze dull yellow; branchlets brown to black velvet-hairy. Leaves are simple, alternate, estipulate; leaf-stalk 10-15 mm long, stout, velvet-hairy; blade 7.5-28 x 3.7-10.5 cm, elliptic, obovate-oblong, elliptic-oblong or ovate-oblong, base pointed, tip pointed, or tapering, margin entire, hairless above except midrib above and rusty woolly beneath, leathery; lateral nerves 10-15 pairs, pinnate, prominent; intercostae subscalariform, prominent. Flowers unisexual, in in leaf-axils racemose umbellule; flower-cluster-stalk upto 1 mm long, silky velvet-hairy; bracts 4, round, silky woolly; flowers 6-8 in an umbellule; perianth tube top-shaped, silky woolly, lobes 6; stamens 12, in 4 rows; filaments hairy, those of rows 1 and 2 usually eglandular, those of rows 3 and 4 with 2-glands; anthers 4-celled, introrse; staminodes in female flowers as the stamens of males but those of the outer rows club-shaped or linear, those of the inner rows subulate and 2 glandular; ovary half inferior, stigma capitate. Fruit a berry, 12-18 mm long, oblong, seated on a top-shaped perianth tube. Free-Flowering Litsea is endemic to the Western Ghats.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Talakavery Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka.

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