Grand Ebony
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Grand Ebony
P Native Photo: P.S. Sivaprasad
Common name: Grand Ebony • Tamil: Pottuttuvarai
Botanical name: Diospyros insignis    Family: Ebenaceae (Ebony family)
Synonyms: Diospyros insignis var. parvifolia

Grand Ebony is a very large tree, with young shoots somewhat velvet-hairy. Leaves are nearly opposite and alternate, toughly membranous, hairless, ovate or oblong, tapering, rounded or somewhat narrowed at base, midrib and lateral veins clearly marked on the under surface, tertiary veins nearly parallel and transverse to the midrib, 10-35 cm long by 3.5-15 cm wide ; leaf-stalks 0.6-1 cm long. Male Flowers are crowded, many together in nearly stalkless lateral clusters. Calyx is 3-5 mm long, bell-shaped, shortly 4-fid, sepals ovate, pointed, shortly velvet-hairy outside, hairless inside. Flowers are 8 mm long, shortly tubular, 4-petalled, pale-woolly outside, petals short. Stamens are 14-20, nearly hairless, many in pairs. Female Flowers are 1-3 together, in leaf-axils, stalkless. Ovary is 8-celled. Fruit is nearly spherical, smooth, nearly hairless, 3.5 cm in diameter, supported on a thick accrescent woody calyx whose tube forms a cup with elevated rim, margin reflexed. Grand Ebony is a valuable timber tree. It is found in South India and Sri Lanka, at altitudes of 600-1000 m.
Medicinal uses: Aerial parts are used in the treatment of diabetes.

Identification credit: P.S. Sivaprasad Photographed in Anamalai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu.

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