Himalayan Bayberry
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Himalayan Bayberry
ative Photo: Amit Kumar
Common name: Himalayan Bayberry, Box Myrtle • Adi: Tatir • Bengali: kaiphal, satsarila • Hindi: kaiphal, kaphal • Kannada: ಕಿರಿಷಿವಾಣಿ Kirishivani, ಮರುದಂಪಟ್ಟೆ Marudampatte • Khasi: soh-phi • Malayalam: maruta • Manipuri: ꯅꯣꯉꯥꯡꯍꯩ Nongang hei • Maring: Kuihei • Nepali: काफल Kafal • Sanskrit: katphala, mahavalkala • Tamil: chavviyaci, chavviyacimaram • Mizo: Keifang
Botanical name: Myrica esculenta    Family: Myricaceae (Bayberry family)
Synonyms: Myrica sapida

Box Myrtle is a tree of medium height, 20-25 feet. Bark is soft and brittle. Petiole 0.3-2 cm, pubescent to tomentose; leaf blade narrowly elliptic-obovate or lanceolate-obovate to cuneate-obovate, 4-18 × 1.5-4.5 cm, leathery, abaxially pale green, dark punctate, occasionally sparsely golden glandular, adaxially dark green, rarely glandular, pubescent along midvein, base cuneate, margin entire or sometimes serrate in apical 1/2, apex obtuse to acute. Female flowers are very small, stalkless, solitary and bracteate, sepals and petals, either absent or not visible. Inflorescence is a catkin, 4.2 cm long, axillary, bearing about 25 flowers; only a thread-like style visible with the unaided eye. Each male flower has about 12 stamens, each with a very short filament; inflorescence is a compound raceme, about 3.5 cm long. Fruit is a spherical, succulent drupe, with a hard seed; diameter 1.1 to 1.3 cm. This species is globally distributed across Indo-Malesian region. Within India, it has been recorded in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram between an altitude range of 1000-2300 m.
Medicinal uses: According to Ayurveda, it has two varieties based on the color of flower: Shwet (white) and Rakta (red). It is used in treating wounds, Musculoskeletal disorder,pessary in discharges of vagina, disease of oral cavity

Identification credit: Amit Kumar Photographed in Mussoorie Forest division,Mussoorie, Uttarakhand.

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