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Velvety Melon Featherfoil
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Velvety Melon Featherfoil
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Velvety Melon Featherfoil, downy melon featherfoil • Malayalam: ചതക്കടന്വ് cathakkatanv • Nepali: लाटो काठ Laato Kaath, काली काठ Kaali Kaath
Botanical name: Phyllanthus velutinus    Family: Phyllanthaceae (Amla family)
Synonyms: Glochidion heyneanum, Glochidion velutinum, Phyllanthus nepalensis

Velvety Melon Featherfoil is a small tree or large shrub up to 9 m with sflattened branches and leaves. Bark is brown, rough. Wood is brownish- white, soft. All parts are evenly to densely whitish- to rusty-velvety. Leaf-stalks are 2-3 mm long. Leaves are elliptic-ovate to elliptic-oblong, 5-10 x 2-6 cm, pointed or shortly obtusely long-pointed, wedge-shaped or rounded-wedge-shaped at the base. Male flowers are carried on slender stalks 5-9 mm long. Sepals are 6, oblong-lanceshaped, 2-3 mm long, blunt, thick, yellow. Stamen-column (of 3 fused sessile anthers) is 1.5 mm high, with 3 separate conical produced connectives, yellow. Female flowers are carried on stalks 1-2 mm long, extending to 4-6 mm in fruit. Sepals are shorter than the male sepals, green, otherwise similar to them, persistent. Ovary is 4-7-celled, 8-14-lobed, 1 mm diameter. Styles are fused into a column 1.5 x 1 mm, 4-7-toothed at the apex, pubescent, not or scarcely enlarging in fruit. Fruit is depressed-globose to discoid, 8-14-lobed, 4 x 10 mm, evenly velvety with the style persistent in the depression. Seeds irregularly obovoid, 3-4 x 4-5 mm, smooth, shiny, red, often remaining attached to the axis after the splitting of the fruit. Velvety Melon Featherfoil is found in the Himalayas, from Kashmir to Bhutan, Bengal, N. Burma, and Western Ghats at altitudes of 150-1800 m. Flowering: May-July.

Identification credit: Shrikant Ingalhalikar Photographed near Anmod, Karnataka.

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