FoI
Mootapalam   
Foto info
Mootapalam
E Native Tree obovate Photo: Anurag Sharma
Common name: Mootapalam • Malayalam: Mootilpazham, Mootilthoori, Mootippuli, Mootikaya
Botanical name: Baccaurea courtallensis    Family: Phyllanthaceae (Amla family)
Synonyms: Pierardia courtallensis, Baccaurea macrostachya, Pierardia macrostachya

Mootapalam is an evergreen tree up to 15 m high; bole uneven with tubercles; bark greyish-yellow, rough; branchlets round, rough; young shoots brown-puberulous and furfuraceous. Leaves simple, alternate, often clustered towards the tip of branchlets; stipules 3-5 mm long, lateral, lanceshaped, falling off; leaf-stalk 10-60 mm long, slender, grooved above, becoming hairless or puberulous; blade 5.5-30 x 1.5-8.5 cm, inverted-lanceshaped or elliptic-inverted-lanceshaped, base pointed, narrowed or wedge-shaped, tip tapering or caudate-tapering, margin entire, membranous to chartaceous, scattered white furfuraceous above and beneath, often scattered puberulous on midrib beneath; lateral nerves 4-7 pairs, pinnate, slender, faint, intercostae netveined, obscure. Flowers are unisexual, dark crimson, in densely clustered slender racemes on old stem; male flowers: bracts lanceshaped, linear-lanceshaped or triangular, free, conduplicate, encircling the base of lateral branches; tepals 4-5, 1.5-2 x 1 mm, linear, oblong, elliptic, nearly round or inverted-lanceshaped, hairless or sparsely puberulous; stamens 4-8, free; anthers basifixed; pistillode club-shaped; female flowers: bracts 1-1.5 mm long, lanceshaped; tepals 4-5, 2.5-3 x 0.6-1.5 mm, linear, oblong or oblong-elliptic, sparsely puberulous to hairless, fringed with hairs; ovary superior, 2.5 x 2-3 mm, ovoid or subspherical, 3-locular, ovules 2 in each cell, 3-angled, woolly; stigmas 3, flabellate. Fruit a capsule 15-30 x 15-25 mm, subspherical, ovoid, ellipsoid or obovoid, 3 locular, thick walled, often with 6 longitudinal ribs, pale yellow when ripe, brown when dry, often verrucose, velvet-hairy, tardily dehiscent; seeds 3, oblong, arillate. Mootapalam is found in Peninsular India. Flowering: January-April.

Identification credit: Anurag Sharma Photographed in Aralam WLS, Kerala.

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