Malabar Humboldtia
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Malabar Humboldtia
E Native Photo: Ajayan Sadanandan
Common name: Malabar Humboldtia • Kannada: ಕೊರಟೆ Korate, ನೀರ್ವಾಂಚೆ Neervaanche • Malayalam: Kurappunna, Karappongu, Aattuvanchi, Kurappunna, Korathi • Sanskrit: Jelavedesa • Tamil: Attavanji, நிர்வஂசீ Nirvanchi
Botanical name: Humboldtia vahliana    Family: Caesalpiniaceae (Gulmohar family)

Malabar Humboldtia is a tree, up to 18 m tall, bark 5-6 mm thick, dark brown mottled with white; blaze pink; internodes of the branchlets solid, round, hairless; branchlets sometimes zig-zag. Leaves are paripinnate, alternate; stipules 1.5-3 x 2.2 cm, lateral, persistent, ovate-heart-shaped. Leaflet-stalk is 7-10 mm long, stout, velvet-hairy or not; blade 10-25 x 3-6.4 cm, oblong-lanceshaped, base blunt, tip tapering, leathery, hairless; lateral nerves 8-14 pairs. Flowers are bisexual, white, 27-30 mm long, in many flowered, in leaf-axils brown velvety racemes; flower-stalk 5-6 mm long; bracts lanceshaped, pointed, hairy on both surfaces, persistent; bracteoles 2, fused by base, obovate, rounded at tip, fugacious; calyx tube 8-10 mm long, lined by the disc, obconical, brown hairy; lobes 4, obovate-oblong, rounded at tip, slightly concave; petals 5, 10-12 x 4 mm, obovate, shortly clawed, broadly rounded at tip, hairless; stamens are 5, perfect, alternating with 5 minute staminodes; filaments 1 cm long, red; ovary 4-5 mm long, half inferior, obliquely linear, ovules 3-4; style 10-15 mm long, thread-like, hairy at base, reddish; stigma capitate. Fruit is a pod, 15-20 x 3.7-6 cm, elliptic, compressed, sutures thick valves prominently veined, brown hairy; seeds 3-4, almost round, hairless. Malabar Humboldtia is endemic to the Western Ghats - occasional in South Sahyadri and in South Malabar; rare in Palakkad-Kozhikode Region of North Malabar. Flowering: February-April.
Medicinal uses: Bark of the tree is used in biliousness, leprosy, ulcers and epilepsy.

Identification credit: Ajayan Sadanandan Photographed in Kothamangalam, Ernakulam, Kerala.

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