FoI
Tiger's Milk Spruce   
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Tiger's Milk Spruce
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Tiger's Milk Spruce, Chinese Tallow • Hindi: खिन्ना Khinna, खिरुन Khirun • Marathi: Hura, Kirkind, शेरोड Sherod • Tamil: Karuppu-Chutai • Malayalam: Kalmara, Kannampotti • Telugu: దెవసురోపీ Devasuroopi, గర్భసులా Garbhasula • Kannada: Kannupade, Kurda • Nepali: खिर्रो Khirro, खेररा Kheraraa
Botanical name: Falconeria insignis    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Sapium insigne, Falconeria malabarica, Excoecaria insignis

Tiger's Milk Spruce is a small tree, 5-10 m high, with horizontal branches, exuding poisonous milky juice. Oppositely arranged elliptic-lanceolate leaves with serrated margins, 16-19 x 5-8 cm, are crowded at the ends of branchlets. Leaves have pointed tips, base acute or wedge-shaped, unequal; leaf-stalk 4-5 cm long. Flowers small, unisexual, in terminal 7-9 cm long, upright, stout, spikes, with a whorl of linear scales at base. Male flowers less than 1 mm long, in sessile cluster, in the axils of adpressed bracts. During flowering, the tree has a curious appearance - it is completely leafless, with only long, sharp, upright spikes at the end of branches. Members of this genus are invariably hazardous. In Mexico, the milky sap is reputed to be harmful and the American Indians utilised it for poisoning their arrows. In Salvador, the sap is claimed to be poisonous and blistering in effect if in contact with the skin for which reason the trees are often left standing when the land is cleared. Flowering: December-January.

Identification credit: Dinesh Valke Photographed in Maharashtra & Uttarakhand.

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