South-Indian Kanak Champa
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South-Indian Kanak Champa
E Native Tree oblong Photo: S. Jeevith
Common name: South-Indian Kanak Champa • Malayalam: Malavuram, Malayuram, Malaviriam, Malavurum
Botanical name: Pterospermum reticulatum    Family: Sterculiaceae (Sterculia family)
Synonyms: Pterospermadendron reticulatum

South-Indian Kanak Champa is a tree, up to 18 m high, bark 10-15 mm thick, brown mottled with green, smooth, exfoliations thin, fibrous; blaze pink-red. Leaves are simple, alternate, bifarious; stipules free, lateral, cauducous; leaf-stalk 7-10 mm long, stout, woolly; blade 8-15 x 4-10 cm, oblong, obovate or panduriform, base blunt, heart-shaped, or oblique, tip tapering, margin entire except for the toothed tip, hairless above, cream coloured mealy woolly with darker minute star-shaped hairs beneath, leathery; 3-5-ribbed from base, palmate, prominent, lateral nerves 5-6 pairs, pinnate, prominent, intercostae scalariform, prominent. Flowers are bisexual, white, in fascicles at branch-ends or in leaf-axils; bracteoles laciniate; calyx tubular, 5-partite; sepals lanceshaped, recurved on opening, white silky within; petals 5, 2.5 cm long, obovate-oblong, spreading, smaller than calyx, deciduous; staminal column adnate to the gynophore, bearing 5 groups of 3 stamens each between staminodes; staminodes thread-like; ovary superior, hairy, placed at the tip of gynophore, 5-celled, ovules 6 in each cell; stigma simple. Fruit is a capsule 5-7.5 x 3-3.7 cm, bluntly angled, hard, 5 valved, brown star-shaped velvet-hairy outside; seeds 4 in each cell, prominently veined, dark brown; wing papery, oblique, sickle shaped. South-Indian Kanak Champa is endemic to the Western Ghats.

Identification credit: S. Jeevith Photographed in Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, Tamil Nadu.

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