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Jacquinia
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Jacquinia
ntroduced Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Jacquinia
Botanical name: Bonellia macrocarpa    Family: Primulaceae (Primrose family)
Synonyms: Jacquinia macrocarpa, Jacquinia aurantica

Jacquinia is a small tree or a dense, thick-stemmed shrub that is native to West Indies and Mexico. Leaf arrangement is helically alternate, with leaves that can be described either as hard and tough or leathery. The needle-like leaf tip is a fibrous extension of the midvein. The flower of jacquinia is both beautiful, although only about 1 cm across, and strange. At first glance, there appear to be ten orange-red petals, but botanically only five are petals. The five smaller ones are petal-like stamens, called staminodia. Around the short style in the center, five fertile stamens conceal a pool of nectar within the flower tube around the ovary. Almost unnoticeable are the thin, roundish sepals, which overlap and closely surround the ovary before it forms as a marble-sized fruit. The genus Jacquinia was named by Linnaeus (1763) to honour Nicolaus Joseph Jacquin, a Dutch-born Austrian botanist who, in 1760, published on plants that he collected in the West Indies using the then new system of binomial nomenclature.

Identification credit: Nandan Kalbag Photographed in India International Centre, Delhi & Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

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