Malabar Litsea
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Malabar Litsea
E Native Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Malabar Litsea
Botanical name: Litsea bourdillonii    Family: Lauraceae (Laurel family)

Malabar Litsea is a large tree, up to 8 m tall, branchlets brownish-black woolly. It is named for the naturalist Thomas Fulton Bourdillon. Leaves are simple, alternate, estipulate; leaf-stalk 1.0-1.7 cm long, stout, dark-brown woolly; blade 15-21 x 6-12 cm, obovate or obovate-oblong, base wedge-shaped or pointed, tip bluntly pointed; margin entire, hairless above except midrib, fulvous velvet-hairy, dotted and glaucous beneath, leathery; lateral nerves 12-18 pairs, pinnate, prominent beneath, more or less close, intercostae scalariform, prominent. Flowers are unisexual, in umbellule which may be stalkless or nearly so, in clusters of 2-5, in leaf-axils or lateral. Flowers are 4-6 in an umbellule; bracts 4, 5 mm long, round, concave, densely white-woolly; perianth tube short, lobes 6, densely white-woolly, stamens 12, in 4 rows; filaments hairless, those of rows 1 and 2 usually eglandular, those of rows 3 and row 4 with 2-glands; anthers 4-celled, introrse; staminodes in female flowers as the stamens of males but those of the outer rows club-shaped or linear, those of the inner rows subulate and 2-glandular; ovary half inferior, ovoid; style thick; stigma dilated. Fruit is a berry, 1.0-1.2 cm long, oblong, seated on a cup-shaped perianth tube. Malabar Litsea is endemic to the Western Ghats, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu. Flowering: August-March.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in the Anamalais, Tamil Nadu.

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