Nilgiri Champa
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Nilgiri Champa
ative Photo: S. Jeevith
Common name: Nilgiri Champa, White Champak • Kannada: ಬಿಳಿಸಂಪಿಗೆ Bili Sampige, ದೊಡ್ಡಸಂಪಿಗೆ Dodda Sampige • Malayalam: Vellachempakam, Kattuchempakam • Tamil: Kattuchemapakam
Botanical name: Magnolia nilagirica    Family: Magnoliaceae (Magnolia family)
Synonyms: Michelia glaucaMichelia nilagirica,

Nilgiri Champa is a tree up to 20 m tall, blaze yellow; branchlets woolly, warty. Leaves are simple, alternate, spirally arranged, stipules 1-1.5 cm long, oblong, leathery, woolly, enclosing buds, deciduous, leaving an annular scar; leaf-stalk 15-20 mm long, slender, woolly, grooved above. Leaf blade is 5-13 x 3-5.5 cm, obovate to elliptic-obovate, base wedge-shaped or pointed, tip tapering or caudate tapering, acumen twisted, margin entire, surface alveolate, hairless above, hairy beneath, leathery. Lateral nerves are 13-18 pairs, pinnate, slender, prominent, intercostae netveined, prominent. Flowers are bisexual, white, 7-10 cm across, in leaf-axils or at branch-ends, solitary, enclosed by densely velvet-hairy, spathe-like bracts. Flower-stalk is 8 mm long, stout; tepals 9-12, 3-5 x 1.2-1.5 cm, obovate, inner smaller; stamens numerous, crowded at the base of gynophore; filaments short, flat; anthers up to 8 mm long, connective appendage 0.5 mm long; carpels many, superior, ovoid, stalkless, velvet-hairy. Fruit is an aggregate of capsules, 0.8 x 0.8 cm, spherical; seed one, scarlet. Nilgiri Champa is found in Peninsular India and Sri Lanka. Flowering: March-May.

Identification credit: S. Jeevith Photographed in The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu.

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