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Meliosma dilleniifolia (Wight & Arn.) Walp.

Modern name

Meliosma dilleniifolia (Wall. ex Wight & Arn.) Walp.


Millingtonia dilleniifolia Wight & Arn.

A shrub or small tree with a pale, corky bark; young branchlets, petioles and inflorescence-axes densely covered with a rusty down. Leaves up to 12 in. long, obovate or oblanceolate to elliptic, acuminate, with appressed down on both surfaces and a rusty down on the veins beneath; veins in fifteen to twenty parallel pairs, ending in teeth with minor teeth in between; petioles [1/2] to 1 in. long. Panicles erect, 6 to 12 in. long, with a rigid central axis and straight or slightly reflexed branches. Flowers bisexual, shortly stalked, in the axils of deciduous bracts. Inner petals bifid, glabrous. Fruit a black drupe about [1/4] in. wide.

Native (in its typical state) of the Himalaya, south Tibet and north Burma; in cultivation at Kew since about 1930, but not mentioned in previous editions. The above is a description of the typical subspecies (subsp. dilleniifolia). Three cultivated species treated in the main work are placed under M. dilleniifolia as subspecies by van Beusekom, distinguished mainly by technical characters such as size of buds, the presence or absence of a fringe of hairs on the inner petals and the character of the endosperm.

subsp. cuneifolia (Franch.) Beusekom M. cuneifolia Franch. – See page 726. The most obvious differences between this and subsp. dilleniifolia are the smaller leaves, simply and more shortly toothed, downy beneath only on the veins and with tufts of hair in the axils of the main lateral veins beneath.

subsp. flexuosa (Pampan.) Beusekom M. flexuosa Pampan.; M. pendens Rehd. & Wils. – See page 728, as M. pendens (wrongly so, since M. flexuosa is the correct name for this meliosma as a species). The leading characters distinguishing it from subsp. dilleniifolia and subsp. cuneifolia are the more or less pendulous panicles with a zigzagged main axis and reflexed branches. It also differs from the latter in having no axillary tufts on the undersides of the leaves.

subsp. tenuis (Maxim.) Beusekom M. tenuis Maxim. – See M. tenuis, page 728. This has an inflorescence similar to that of subsp. flexuosa, though shorter and narrower. Leaves with axillary tufts beneath.

M. myriantha and M. parviflora belong to the same group as M. dilleniifolia, but are accepted by van Beusekom as distinct species.