Smooth Litsea
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Smooth Litsea
E Native Tree lanceshaped Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Smooth Litsea • Malayalam: Mulakunari
Botanical name: Litsea laevigata    Family: Lauraceae (Laurel family)

Smooth Litsea is a tree up to 10 m tall with branchlets minutely velvet-hairy. Leaves simple, alternate, estipulate; leaf-stalk 8-15 mm long, stout, puberulent; blade 6.5-18 x 2.5-5 cm, oblong-lanceshaped or elliptic-lanceshaped, base slightly obliquely pointed or blunt, tip tapering or pointed, margin entire, hairless above and puberulent beneath, leathery; lateral nerves 6-8 pairs, pinnate, prominent beneath fainting towards the margin, intercostae netveined, faint. Flowers unisexual, yellowish, 10-12 in in leaf-axils or lateral nearly stalkless umbellules; stalked; bracts round, persistent; perianth short, lobes 6, 2 mm long, densely hairy; stamens 12, in 4 rows; filaments hairy, of 1 and 2 eglandular, those of row 3 and 4 with 2-glands; anthers 4-celled, introrse; staminodes as the stamens but those of inner rows subululate and 2-glandular; ovary half inferior, enclosed in perianth tube; style thick; stigma irregularly lobed. Fruit a berry, 1.5 cm long, ellipsoid, hairless, yellow. Smooth Litsea is endemic to the Western Ghats.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Talakavery Wildlife Sanctuary, Karnataka.

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