Flacourtia montana  

Flacourtia montana Graham

Family : Flacourtiaceae

Common Name : ചരൽ പഴം  (Mal)

 Mountain Sweet Thorn(Eng)

Mountain Sweet Thorn is a tree up to 8 m tall, endemic to the Western Ghats. Trunk is branched and possesses simple thorns. Bark is brownish, smooth, blaze cream. Alternately arranged leaves are narrow elliptic-oblong. Leaves are velvety, with a tapering tip, wedge-shaped base, and toothed margin. Flowers are small, yellowish, spherical hairy balls. Male and and female flowers on separate trees, borne in cymes in leaf axils. 

Trees to 8 m, trunk with about 5 cm long, often branched thorns. Leaves simple, alternate, 12-22 x 6-8, ovate, elliptic, apex acute or acuminate, base acute or rounded, margin crenate-serrate, glabrous except midrib below; 3-5 nerved from the base, lateral veins 4-6 pairs, pinnate, intercostae scalariform, slender, prominent; petiole 5-10, stout, glabrous. Flowers unisexual, small, in axillary congested pubescent cymes. Sepals 4 or 5 tomentose, small, imbricate. Petals absent. Stamens many; anthers versatile. Ovary superior, urn shaped, glabrous, incompletely 2-5 locular, ovules 2 in each cell; styles 5, reflexed, notched at tip. Fruit a berry, globose, obtusely ribbed, 1-1.5 cm across, bright red; seeds few, reddish.

Use: Fruits edible. An important herb in Ayurveda, where infusions of the bark, leaves and root are used medicinally to treat conditions such as fever, diarrhoea and inflammations. The leaf is carminative, astringent and used as a tonic, an expectorant and for asthma, pain relief, gynaecological complaints and as an anthelmintic, and treatment for hydrocele, pneumonia and intestinal worms. The leaves are used as an antidote to snake bites. In India, an infusion of the bark is used as a gargle for hoarseness. In Madagascar, the bark, triturated in oil, is used as an anti-rheumatic liniment. The bark is used as a tanning material. Wood used for agricultural implements such as ploughs

Distribution : India (Endemic)

Flowering & Fruiting : April-June