Stinging-Hair Cnestis
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Stinging-Hair Cnestis
ative Photo: Apurba Das
Common name: Stinging-Hair Cnestis
Botanical name: Cnestis palala    Family: Connaraceae (Zebrawood family)
Synonyms: Cnestis flaminea, Cnestis foliosa

Stinging-Hair Cnestis is a small to large liana, which can reach up to 25 m long, or a shrub. It is commonly seen with climbing branches and sometimes as a small tree up to 10 m tall. The young branchlets are densely brown-hairy, becoming hairless. Leaves are pinnate with 6- to 21-jugate. The leaf-stalks is 1-7 cm long. The lateral leaflets are narrowly ovate or narrowly oblong to ovate or oblong, measuring 1.5-8 cm x 0.7-2.5 cm, while the terminal leaflet is narrowly elliptical or narrowly obovate to elliptical or obovate, measuring 3-8 cm x 1-3 cm. The leaflets are densely hairy below. Leaflet-stalks are 0.5-1.5 mm long. The inflorescence is an axillary raceme or panicle, on older branches, it is densely yellowish-brown hairy and up to 35-flowered. The flowers are bisexual, regular, 5-merous and obscurely heterostylous / distylous. The pedicel is articulated. The 2-5 mm long sepals are narrowly ovate to narrowly oblong, while petals are ovate or elliptical to narrowly oblong, measuring 2-4 mm long and white to creamy. The 10 stamens are slightly differing in length in the 2 whorls. There are 5 carpels, free and superior. The fruit consists of 1-3 follicles, ellipsoid to pear-shaped, 2.5-6 cm long, densely reddish-hairy outside and with long yellowish hairs inside. Each follicle is 1-seeded. The seed is ovoid, 1.5-3 cm long, black and with an arilloid at base. The cotyledons are thin and veined while the endosperm is abundant.

Identification credit: Apurba Das Photographed at Minnie Bay, South Andaman.

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