Leather-Leaf Litsea
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Leather-Leaf Litsea
E Native Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Leather-Leaf Litsea • Kannada: ಎರ್ಚಿಕೂಟಿ erchikooti, ಮುಜ muja • Malayalam: മരവെട്ടിത്താളി maravettithaali, പന്നിത്താളി pannithaali, വെട്ടിത്താളി vettithaali • Tamil: பன்னித்தழை pannittalai • Tulu: ಎರ್ಚಿಕೂಟಿ erchikooti Source: Names of Plants in India
Botanical name: Litsea coriacea    Family: Lauraceae (Laurel family)

Leather-Leaf Litsea is a dioecious tree, up to 12 m tall, bark pale brown, thinly scaly; branchlets finely velvet-hairy, rather slender. Leaves are simple, alternate, estipulate; leaf-stalk 5-10 mm long, slender, velvet-hairy; blade 8.5-17.5 x 2.5-7.5 cm, elliptic-lanceshaped or elliptic-ovate, base pointed or wedge-shaped, tip pointed or tapering, margin entire, leathery, hairless above, minutely finely velvet-hairy beneath; lateral nerves 6-9 pairs, pinnate, slender, prominent, intercostae netveined, obscure. Flowers unisexual, white, in 4-flowered in leaf-axils, nearly stalkless, crowded, umbels; bracts 4, silky; perianth tube funnel shaped, finely silky, tepals 6; stamens 12, in 4 rows; those of rows 1 and 2 usually eglandular, glands of those opposite to tepals very large; staminodes in female flowers as the stamens of males, but those of inner rows subulate and 2-glandular; ovary half inferior, ovoid; style slender; stigma small, erect. Fruit a berry, 10-12 mm long, ovoid, greenish-white, seated on a thickened perianth tube. Leather-Leaf Litsea is found in Peninsular India. Flowering: December-January.

Identification credit: V. Bhaskar Photographed near Mullayangiri route, Karnataka.

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