Cherry Ashok
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Cherry Ashok
ative Photo: Raja Ghosh
Common name: Cherry Ashok • Kannada: ನೆಟ್ಟಲಿಂಗಮರ Nettalingamara, ಹಬ್ಬೆ Habbe, ಸಣ್ಣಹೆಸ್ಸರೆ Sanna hessare • Malayalam: Narela, Cherunedunar
Botanical name: Huberantha cerasoides    Family: Annonaceae (Sugar-apple family)
Synonyms: Guatteria cerasoides, Polyalthia cerasoides, Uvaria cerasoides

Cherry Ashok is a medium sized evergreen tree, up to 15 m tall, with bark black or pale grey, smooth. Branches are horizontal, young branches minutely woolly, old hairless. Leaves are simple, alternate, leaf-stalk 3-5 mm, slender, woolly, grooved above. Leaf blade is 4-20 x 2-4 cm, oblong-lanceshaped or ovate; base blunt or pointed; tip pointed or tapering; margin entire, leathery, hairless above and velvet-hairy beneath; lateral veins 4-12 pairs, ascending, slender, pinnate, slightly raised beneath, intercostae netveined, obscure. Flowers are bisexual, green, in leaf-axils or extra in leaf-axils, solitary or 2-3 fascicled, 8-13 mm across; sepals 3, free, ovate, 5-8 x 3-4 mm, appressed hairy outside, hairless inside, petals 6 (3+3), 6-8 x 4 mm, puberulous, outer ones oblong or ovate, inner ones linear or lanceshaped, vaulted, slightly inflexed, dull green; torus convex; stamens numerous, wedge-shaped, anther thecae extrorse, cells remote, connectives almost flat at top, concealing the anthers; carpels many, oblong-linear, stalked, 1.5-2 mm long, dark red, covered with stiff hairs, ovule 1, basal, ascending; stigma club-shaped, slightly curved. Fruit is an aggregate of berries, red, fruitlets 15-18 mm long, ellipsoid to broadly ovoid, puberulent; seed 1, spherical.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Rakhamines forest, Jharkhand & Nagarjunsagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve, Andra Pradesh.

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