Common name: Lobed-leaf Alangium
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.
|Photographed in Imphal, Manipur.|