Pale Litsea
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Pale Litsea
E Native Photo: Anil Thakur
Common name: Pale Litsea
Botanical name: Neolitsea pallens    Family: Lauraceae (Laurel family)
Synonyms: Litsea consimilis, Malapoenna pallens, Tetranthera pallens

Pale Litsea is a small tree, 5-15 m tall, with young branchlets and leaf-stalks yellowish brown velvet-hairy and becoming hairless. Leaves are alternate or 3-5 clustered toward tip of branchlet; leaf-stalk 6-15 mm; leaf blade elliptic or elliptic-lanceshaped, 5-8 x 2-3 cm, hairless on both surfaces when old, triplinerved, lateral veins 4 or 5 pairs, base wedge-shaped or broadly wedge-shaped to round, margin often wavy in a dried state, tip tapering to with a tail. Flowers are bborne in umbels in leaf-axils on an up to 1 mm long, thick, bracteate flower-cluster-stalk. Bracts are ovate-elliptic, 4-5 mm, minutely laxly silky. Male flowers have flower-stalks 2-2.5 mm, hairy; tepals oblong, hairless, 2 mm; stamens 4 mm, strongly protruding; basal glands small, attached to the basal half of the filament. Female flowers have tepals oblong, 2 mm; style 1.5 mm, stigma minute, peltate. Fruits are spherical, about 8 mm in diameter, hairless, apiculate at tip, seated on flat discoid perianth tube; fruiting flower-stalk slender, 1.0-1.2 cm, yellowish brown velvet-hairy. Pale Litsea is found in evergreen broad-leaved forests in the Himalayas, at altitudes of 2000-2400 m, in Pakistan, Nepal, to NE India and China. Flowering: March-May.

Identification credit: Anil Thakur, Nidhan Singh, Tapas Chakrabarty Photographed in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh & Mussoorie, Uttrakhand.

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