White Thorn
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White Thorn
D Native Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: White Thorn, White catechu, White cutch tree • Malayalam: Venkaringali, Somarayatholi • Tamil: Kovalai mullu maram • Kannada: ಕಗ್ಗಲಿ Kaggali, ಕಾಚು Kaachu
Botanical name: Senegalia polyacantha    Family: Mimosaceae (Touch-me-not family)
Synonyms: Acacia polyacantha

White Thorn is a tree up to 15 m tall, bark yellowish-grey, peels off in thin papery flakes; blaze pink red; branchlets yellow-velvet-hairy. Stipular spines are infra-in leaf-axils, 8-10 mm long, paired, straight or hooked, occasionally lacking on flowering branches. Leaves are paripinnate, alternate; axis 4-20 cm long, slender, velvet-hairy, softly prickled, pulvinate; a gland at the base on upper side; sidestalks 15-25 pairs, 4-5 cm long, slender, velvet-hairy; glands between uppermost 4 pairs; leaflets are 30-50, opposite, stalkless; blade 5-7 × 0.5-1 mm, densely velvet-hairy, papery, base flat, tip subpointed or blunt, margin fringed with hairs; midrib near distal margin, lateral nerves and intercostae obscure. Flowers bisexual, 4 mm across, white, in in leaf-axils solitary or paired spikes, to 8 cm; flower-cluster-stalk to 1 cm; bracts to 6 mm; bracteoles cauducous; calyx 5-lobed, to 1.5 mm, woolly; flower to 3 mm long; lobes 5; stamens many, to 4 mm, basally fused; ovary stipitate, oblong, to 1 mm; style to 4 mm. Fruit a pod, stipitate, 8 x 1.5 cm, hairless, grey, woody, oblong, base and tip horned; seeds 5-8. White Thorn is found in South India and Sri Lanka.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Bangalore.

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