Lettuce Tree
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Lettuce Tree
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Lettuce Tree, Bird-lime Tree, Bird Catcher Tree
Botanical name: Pisonia umbellifera    Family: Nyctaginaceae (Bougainvillea family)
Synonyms: Pisonia alba, Pisonia excelsa, Calpidia excelsa

Lettuce Tree is and erect shrub or small tree without spines. Leaves are alternate, opposite or clustered, blade mostly elliptic, 6-20 cm long, 4-10 cm wide, soft, hairless, leaf-stalk 2–5 cm long. The tree rarely flowers in India. Flowers are mostly bisexual, in terminal leafless cyme-like panicles. Flowers tube is greenish-white, bell-shaped, 5-7 mm, with brown hairs, tip 5-lobed. Stamens 7-10, slightly protruding.Pedicel 1.5-6 mm, with 1-3 bracteoles near base. Fruit is 2-4 cm long, 5-ribbed, contracted below the withered upper perianth; viscid but without glandular hairs. The stiky fruits sometimes stick to birds, bats or reptiles and cause their death. Lettuce Tree is native to the Andaman Islands, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Hawaii and Madagascar and the states of New South Wales and Queensland in Australia. It is cultivated as a garden plant in India.

Identification credit: Viplav
Photographed in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
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