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Wood Apple
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Wood Apple
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Wood Apple • Hindi: Kaith कैठ • Gujarati: Kotha • Telugu: Velaga • Bengali: Katbel • Kannada: ಬೇಲ Bela, ಬೆಳವಲ Belavala, ಬಳುವಲ Balavala, ಬಳೂಲ Baloola • Marathi: Kovit • Sanskrit: कपित्थः Kapittha
Botanical name: Limonia acidissima    Family: Rutaceae (citrus family)
Synonyms: Feronia elephantum, Feronia limonia, Schinus limonia

Wood apple is an erect, slow-growing tree with a few upward-reaching branches bending outward near the summit where they are subdivided into slender branchlets drooping at the tips. The bark is ridged, fissured and scaly and there are sharp spines 3/4 to 2 in long on some of the zigzag twigs. The deciduous, alternate leaves, 3 to 5 in long, dark-green, leathery, often minutely toothed, blunt or notched at the apex, are dotted with oil glands and slightly lemon-scented when crushed. Yellowish green flowers, tinged with red, 1/2 in across, are borne in small, loose, terminal or lateral panicles. The tree is mostly known for its hard woody fruit, size of a tennis ball, round to oval in shape. The pulp is brown, mealy, odorous, resinous, astringent, acid or sweetish, with numerous small, white seeds scattered through it.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Delhi and Bangalore.

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