Botanical name: Alangium platanifolium Family: Cornaceae (Dogwood family)
The genus name Alangium comes from the Tamil name Alangi. This outstanding shrub can become a small, wide-spreading tree of considerable beauty at maturity. Lobed-leaf Alangium is believed to be native to China and Japan, but is found growing wild in Manipur. The profile of this large shrub is initially vase-shaped in youth and gradually broadens with age to form a flat oval top up to 4 or 5m high by 5m across. It can have a short bole before dividing into several horizontal laterals that may display an undulating muscular appearance. The main branches then divide into dense clusters of twigs at the extremities. These characteristics contribute to a winter silhouette that is both distinctive and ornamental. The large (16-21cm long by 13-15cm wide), broadly ovate yellowish green leaves resemble those of the London plane (Platanus × hispanica). They are variable in shape but are generally tri-lobed, forward pointing toward the apex, with cordate bases. The flowers are white and appear in late June along the undersides of main horizontal branches often hidden by the verdant foliage. They are borne in few-flowered cymes from the leaf axils of the previous year's growth. Each flower consists of 6 petals narrowly strap-shaped and slightly twisted, forming a corolla tube at the base. Each petal reflexes to the midpoint to expose the bright yellow stamens and style. The pendulous, fleshy, egg-shaped fruit, coloured porcelain blue to dark violet, provides a stunning contrast to the golden fall leaf display.
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