Mountain Gardenia
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Mountain Gardenia
ative Photo: Milind Girdhari
Common name: Mountain Gardenia • Malayalam: Karkar, Malankara, Vellakara
Botanical name: Ceriscoides turgida    Family: Rubiaceae (Coffee family)
Synonyms: Gardenia turgida, Gardenia montana

Mountain Gardenia is an armed deciduous tree, up to 8 m tall, leaf-bearing spines. Leaves are opposite decussate, dimorphic, of lower branches ovate, 1.5-2.5 x 0.8-1.5 cm, of upper branches 4-9 x 2-5 cm, thick-papery, bristly above, hairy below, base narrowed, tip pointed-apiculate; lateral nerves 8-10, nearly stalkless; stipules intrapetiolar, fused into a sheath. Flowers are 5-merous, stalked , solitary or in lax cymes, white turning yellow with age; bracteoles lanceshaped, free or fused. Sepal tube is urn-shaped, 1.5 cm; sepals 5, triangular, valvate, 1.5 mm. Flower are 5 cm across, flat-faced, tube 1.5 cm; petals 5, obovate, overlapping or twisted to left in bud, 1.5 x 1.5 cm, thin-fleshy. Stamens are 5, nearly stalkless, inserted at the throat, between the lobes, included, 6 mm. Ovary swollen, 1 cm, 1-celled, placentae 5; style erect, 0.8 cm; stigma branched, 0.8 cm. Berry spherical, turgid, 5 x 4 cm; seeds many, embedded in fleshy pulp; testa smooth. Mountain Gardenia is found in Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Indo-China. Flowering: November-January.

Identification credit: Anurag Sharma Photographed in Aurangabad, Maharashtra & Hassan, Karnataka.

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