Malabar Closed-Flower
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Malabar Closed-Flower
P Native Photo: Anurag Sharma
Common name: Malabar Closed-Flower
Botanical name: Cleistanthus malabaricus    Family: Phyllanthaceae (Amla family)
Synonyms: Lebidiera malabarica, Kaluhaburunghos malabaricus

Malabar Closed-Flower is a shrub or small trees; branchlets brown or blackish, densely rufous or tawny-hairy when young and hairless at maturity. Leaves are alternate, 4-13 x 2-4.5 cm, narrowly oblong-obovate to inverted-lanceshaped or sometimes wedge-shaped-obovate, narrowed and pointed, subpointed or rounded at base, apiculate to caudate or tapering at tip, papery or thinly leathery; lateral nerves 5-10 pairs, slender, faint above, raised beneath, arcuate. Leaf-stalks are 1.5-5 x 1-2 mm, rufous or tawny-tomentellous or hairy or hairy; stipules 5-10 mm long, subulate, linear, linear-lanceshaped to thread-like. Glomerules on main and lateral leafy, 4-15 cm long branches, few-flowered; bracts broadly ovate, 0.5 mm long, persistent. Male flowers: flower-stalks 4 x 0.8 mm, sparsely finely velvet-hairy; calyx 7 mm across, hairless; sepals narrowly subulate-tapering or lanceshaped, about 4 x 1 mm; petals narrowly spoon-shaped-obovate, about 2 x 0.8 mm, slightly lobed at tip; disk shortly cup-like; staminal column about 1 mm long; filaments about 0.5 mm long; anthers ellipsoid, 0.8 mm long; pistillode trifid. Female flowers: flower-stalks 0.5 -1 mm long, ochraceous-hairy; calyx about 4 x 5 mm, hairless; sepals triangular or ovate-oblong, 3 x 1.5 mm; petals spoon-shaped, 2 x 1 mm, entire, hairless; disk copular, entire, hairy along margins; free, shortly bifid, erect. Capsules are somewhat depressed, 4-5 x 8-9 mm, 3-lobed, hairless, flower-stalks 1-2 x about 1.2 mm, finely velvet-hairy to hairless; seeds subspherical, 5 mm across. Malabar Closed-Flower is endemic to Peninsular India.

Identification credit: Tapas Chakrabarty Photographed in Agumbe, Karnataka.

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