Umbrella Tree
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Umbrella Tree
aturalized Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Umbrella Tree
Botanical name: Maesopsis eminii    Family: Rhamnaceae (Ber family)
Synonyms: Maesopsis eminii subsp. eminii

Umbrella Tree is a thornless, evergreen to deciduous tree which can grow up to 15-25 m tall with an open and spreading crown. Its bole is exceptionally straight, cylindrical, can be up to 15 m tall and 50 cm across. Bark is pale grey to grey brown or almost white, smooth or with deep, vertical and often twisted furrows. Branchlets are with patent short hairs. Leaves are mostly almost paired, nearly opposite, simple and glandular-toothed. Stipules are 2-6 mm long, and drop off quickly. Leaf-stalk is 6-12 mm long. Leaves are ovate-elliptical to oblong-ovate, measuring 7-14 cm x 2.5-6 cm, shiny above and paler beneath. Leaves are smooth except when young, with rounded to nearly heart-shaped base, and a tapering tip, while the margins are 0.3-5 mm long and with rounded teeth. Flowers are born in many flowered axillary cymes and measures about 1-5 cm long. The peduncle is 4-25 mm long. The flowers are bisexual, 5-merous and yellowish-green. Flower-stalks are 1-3 mm long. Sepals are 2-6 mm long and deltoid, while the petals are very strongly concave-convex, hiding the anthers and not clawed. Stigma is star-like 10-lobed. The style and stigma are persistent in fruit. Fruit is an obovate drupe, measuring 2.0-3.5 cm x 1.0-1.8 cm, turns from green to yellow to purple-black when mature. Umbrella Tree is native to Africa, invasive and naturalizing in many parts.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Sakleshpur, Karnataka.

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