Rusty Spike Thorn
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Rusty Spike Thorn
ative Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Rusty Spike Thorn • Nepali: तांंग Tang
Botanical name: Gymnosporia rufa    Family: Celastraceae (Spike-thorn family)
Synonyms: Catha rufa, Celastrus rufus, Maytenus rufa

Rusty Spike Thorn is a tree with branches slender, hairless, sparsely spiny. Thorns are slender, 1.2-2.5 cm. Leaf-stalks are 5-8 mm, leaves elliptic-lanceshaped, 6.5-8 x 2-3.5 cm, somewhat leathery, pale below, green above, base wedge-shaped. margin toothed, tip long-pointed. Lateral veins are 7-9 pairs, obvious on both surfaces. Flowers are borne in cymes fascicled at axils, dichotomous. Stalks carrying the cymes are slender, 2-4.5 cm, with several conglomerate bracts at base, bracts reddish brown, lanceolate, 2-3 mm. Flower-stalks are tenuous, 5-8 mm when fruiting. Flowers are 3-4 mm in diameter. Capsule is obtriangular, 0.6-1 cm, purplish, 3-valved. Seeds black. Rusty Spike Thorn is found in the Himalayas, from Kumaun to Bhutan, Khasia mountains, Uttarakhand, at altitudes of 1300-2200 m. Flowering: April-June.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh Photographed near Chakauri, Uttarakhand.

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