White Crossberry
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White Crossberry
ative elliptic Photo: Shaista Ahmad
Common name: White Crossberry, Falsa Cherry, Raisin bush • Hindi: गोंडनी Gondni, गंगेर Ganger, गंगेटी Gangeti, चवैणी Chavaini, चैनारी Chainari • Telugu: Kaladi • Kannada: Kanger
Botanical name: Grewia tenax    Family: Tiliaceae (Falsa family)

White Crossberry is a multistemmed shrub up to 2 m tall. It is a very close cousin of the Falsa फ़ाल्सा popularly eaten as a fruit in India. Bark smooth, grey, very fibrous so that twigs are hard to break. Leaves alternate, almost circular in outline, 1.5-4 cm in diameter, margins toothed and prominently tri-nerved at the base, often hairy, particularly beneath with star shaped hairs. Stipules inconspicuous, falling early. Flowers solitary or in pairs, axillarily placed, petals white, about 1 cm long; sepals long and recurved. Fruit orange-red at maturity, with 1-4 spheroid lobes. The genus was named after Nehemiah Grew (1641-1712), one of the founders of plant physiology. White Crossberry is highly drought resistant and occurs in the driest savannas at desert margins. In Delhi, it is found growing wild in the rocky areas, like the JNU campus. The fruits consumed by man and animals contain a large amount of iron and can be made into a refreshing drink. Fruit storage can be extended by drying. The dead leaves are eaten, but only while they remain on the plant. Young leaves are consumed by livestock, they are slightly palatable at the end of dry seasons, and have fairly good feed value.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Garden of Five Senses, Delhi.

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