Coffee Ashok
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Coffee Ashok
ative Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Coffee Ashok • Malayalam: Villa, Nedunar • Tamil: Nedunarai, Nakulai
Botanical name: Monoon coffeoides    Family: Annonaceae (Sugar-apple family)
Synonyms: Guatteria coffeoides, Polyalthia coffeoides

Coffee Ashok is a trees 15-25 m tall, with bole straight with knots and tubercles. Bark is smooth, dark green, often mottled with greyish-white, blaze yellow; branches horizontal. Leaves are simple, alternate, distichous, estipulate, young leaves red at first; leaf-stalk 10-13 mm, stout, hairless, grooved above. Leaf blade is 10-27 x 3.5-8.5 cm oblong, oblong-lanceshaped or elliptic-lanceshaped, base blunt, wedge-shaped-round or pointed; tip pointed or tapering, margin entire, slightly wavy; leathery, hairless and shiny above, lateral nerves 8-14 pairs, prominent beneath, pinnate, ascending; intercostae scalariform, obscure. Flowers are bisexual greenish-yellow, solitary, in leaf-axils or some times fascicled on woody tubercles on trunk. Flower-stalks are 1-4 cm long, slender, velvet-hairy; sepals 3, 2 x 5 mm, nearly round, woolly; petals 6, 3-5 x 0.5-1 cm, greenish-yellow, flat and strap shaped, subequal; torus convex, stamens numerous, 1 mm long, wedge-shaped, connectives subspherical at top, concealing the anthers, anther cells remote; carpels numerous, 3-4 mm long, densely velvet-hairy, oblong, stalked, stigma head-like; ovule one, basal and ascending. Fruit is aggregate of berries, 2.5 x 1.5 cm, ovoid, apiculate, dark purple; seed one, broadly ovoid, grooved, smooth and shiny. Coffee Ashok is found in South India and Sri Lanka. Flowering and fruiting: May-June.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Brahmagiri Range, Kodagu, Karnataka.

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