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ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Kakkar • Hindi: kakra, kakra-singi, kareran, kakare, kakkar • Marathi: kakra, kaakada, kaakad shingee • Tamil: kakkata-shinigi • Telugu: kakarashingi, kaakara shingi • Kannada: chakrangi, kaakada shringi, karkaataka shringi • Urdu: kakra, mastagi desi • Sanskrit: chakra, chakrangi, chandraspada, ghosha, karkata
Botanical name: Pistacia chinensis ssp. Integerrima    Family: Anacardiaceae (Cashew family)
Synonyms: Pistacia integerrima, Rhus integerrima

Kakkar is glorious tree native to the lower Himalayan slopes, from Afghanistan to Kumaon, cultivated for its attractive leaves, which are bright red when young. The tree grows up to 17 m or more tall. Leaves are compound with or without an end leaflet, 16-25 cm long. Leaflets are opposite or nearly opposite, almost stalkless, 7-9 in number, 9-12 x 2.2-3.2 cm, lance-shaped, with tapering tips. They are smooth, pale green on the under-surface. Male flower panicles are 0.8-1.2 cm long, drooping at maturity. Female flower panicles are longer and erect. Flowers are unisexual, and appear on separate trees. Sepals are 4, less than anthers in length, linear. Stamens are 5, anthers 1.8 mm long, oblong, reddish. Styles 3-parted to almost the base, stigmas recurved. Fruit is a drupe 5-6 mm broad, smooth, dry, greyish-brown in colour. Flowering: March-May.
Medicinal uses: Long, horn-shaped leaf galls that often develop on this tree are harvested and used to make kakadshringi, an herbal medicine for diarrhea in northern India.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Talkatora Garden, Delhi & J&K.

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