Woolly Litsea
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Woolly Litsea
E Native Photo: Sunit Singh
Common name: Woolly Litsea • Nepali: Kalche
Botanical name: Neolitsea cuipala    Family: Lauraceae (Laurel family)
Synonyms: Litsea cuipala, Litsea lanuginosa, Laurus cuipala

Woolly Litsea is a tree, up to 15 m tall and 60 cm in diameter. Bark is dark brown, warty, peeling in thin scales; live bark brittle, pale yellow or yellowish-brown, streaked with orange brown. Branchlets are stout, minutely, densely velvet-hairy. Terminal bud large, conical, up to 4 cm with bud scales, the upper ones silky. Leaves are nearly whorled, leathery to papery, nearly obovate to oblong, 3-5 x 12-19 cm, tapering, base pointed; upper surface hairless, the main nerves slender, lower surface paler with lax indumentum; leaf-stalk slender, 1-1.5 cm long. Flowerd str borne in leaf-axils and behind the leaves. Main flower-cluster-stalk is thick, 0-1 cm long, bearing the stalkless umbels. Bracts are large, hairy. Male florets: Flower-stalks 3-4 mm long, densely hairy; tepals narrowly lanceshaped, 2-3 mm long, pointed, densely hairy; stamens protruding, 4 mm long; glands basal on slender stipes. Female florets: Flower-stalks 4-5 mm long; style 2 mm long; stigma inprominent. Fruit is ellipsoid, 1 x 2 cm, the cup inprominent, at tip 5 mm in diameter, not differentiated from the obconical flower-stalk. 1200-1400 m; Woolly Litsea is found in the Himalaya, from Garhwal to Sikkim, Khasia hills, N. Burma. Flowering: March-April.

Identification credit: Tapas Chakrabarty Photographed at HNB University, Srinagar, Uttarakhand.

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