Masuri Berry
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Masuri Berry
ative elliptic Photo: Alok Mahendroo
Common name: Masuri Berry, Tanner's Tree, Mansur shrub • Hindi: Gangara, मसूरी Masuri, Makola, मसूरिया Masurya • Nepali: मछाइनो Machhaaino, मछिनो Machhino, भोजिन्सी Bhojinsee
Botanical name: Coriaria napalensis    Family: Coriariaceae (Coriaria family)
Synonyms: Coriaria kweichovensis, Coriaria sinica, Coriaria nepalensis

Masuri Berry is a large hairless shrub, 3-4 m tall, with arching redish-brown branches. Legend has it that the hill station of Mussoorie got its name from this shrub which grows in abundance there. Elliptic pointed leaves are nearly stalkless and noticeably 3-veined. Red flowers occur in several short clusters in leaf axils. The five petals are greenish and smaller than the sepals. But they soon enlarge to become fleshy. Prominent stamens and style protrude out of the flower, and give the purplish red color to the flowers. Fruit is black, with carpels encircled by larger persistent purple petals. Fruit is eaten raw as famine food or used as a beverage. Great caution has to be taken since most parts of the plant, including the seed, are very toxic. Masuri Berry is found from Pakistan right through the Himalayas to Myanmar and China, usually at altitudes of 800-2700 m. Flowering: February-April.

Identification credit: Amit Chauhan Photographed in Kalatope-Khajjiar Wildlife Sanctuary, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh & Rajouri, J&K.

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