Black Varnish Tree
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Black Varnish Tree
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Black Varnish Tree, Malabar marking nut • Kannada: ಹೊಲಗೇರು holageru • Konkani: रानबिबो ranbibo • Malayalam: ചേര് cher, കരിഞ്ചേര് karincher • Marathi: रानबिबा ranbiba • Tamil: கருஞ்செரு karunceru, காட்டுசெரு kattuceru
Botanical name: Holigarna arnottiana    Family: Anacardiaceae (Cashew family)
Synonyms: Holigarna racemosa Hohen. ex Engl., Holigarna longifolia Wight & Arn.

Black Varnish Tree is a a large tree, up to 35 m tall. Bark is finely fissured and pustular. Branchlets are stout, round, hairless. Latex is white turning to black. Leaves are simple, alternate, arranged spirally, clustered at twig ends. Leaf-stalks are 0.8-2.5 cm long with a pair of spurs, planoconvex in cross section. Leaf blade is 10-25 x 2.5-7.6 cm, inverted-lanceshaped, obovate, tip blunt to slightly tapeing, base narrow to gradually narrowing, margin entire, leathery, hairless, midrib raised above, secondary nerves 10-20 pairs, tertiary nerves net-veined. Flowers are borne in panicles, 12-24 cm long, golden yellow pubescent, in leaf axils or at branch ends. Flowers are polygamous, greenish white. Fruit is obliquely ovoid, smoothm rounded at tip, 3 cm long, wholly enclosed in obconic hypocarp, 1-seeded. Black Varnish Tree is endemic to Western Ghats, from Central and South Sahyadris.
Medicinal uses: In Ayurveda, the plant is believed to be helpful in treatment of inflammation, arthritis, hemorrhoids, obesity, tumor, cancer, and skin diseases.

Identification credit: Shrikant Ingalhalikar, Prashant Awale Photographed along Kumta Sirsi Road, Karnataka.

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