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Terminalia catappa

Family

Combretaceae

Botanical Name

Terminalia catappa L.

Linnaeus, C. von (1767) Mantissa Plantarum 1: 128. Type: holo: LINN 1222.1.

Common name

Indian Almond; Tropical Almond; Myrobalan; Country Almond; Almendro; Sea Almond

Stem

A tree with whorled branches like a pine tree (Pinus spp.). Deciduous; leafless for a period in September or October.

Leaves

Leaf blade rather large, about 16-25 x 10-15 cm, petiole relatively short. Two flat nectar producing glands visible on the underside of the leaf blade at the very base, one on each side of the midrib. Terminal buds and young shoots densely clothed in brown hairs. Old leaves turn red prior to falling.

Flowers

Inflorescence shorter than the leaves, bracts acuminate, less than 1 mm long, caducous. Perianth tube glabrous or with a few scattered hairs outside, lobes deltoid, about 1.5 x 1.5 mm, glabrous outside. Staminal filaments glabrous, about 3 mm long. Disk villous. Style glabrous.

Fruit

Mature fruits glabrous, ellipsoid, laterally compressed, about 50-80 x 25-50 x 30-35 mm, commonly angled, rarely beaked. Seed about 27 x 10 mm, cotyledons convolute.

Seedlings

Cotyledons much wider than long, about 30-40 x 60-80 mm, base rounded, apex +/- truncate, hairy on the upper surface towards the base, distinctly 3-veined. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves obovate, apex acuminate, base cuneate, hairy on the upper surface; oil dots very small, visible only with a lens; petiole, stem and terminal bud densely clothed in long reddish brown hairs.

Distribution and Ecology

Occurs in NT, CYP and NEQ close to sea level. Grows in beach forest on sand dunes and also on rocky headlands. Also occurs in SE Asia, Malesia and the Pacific islands. Widely cultivated throughout the tropics.

Natural History

Food plant for the larval stages of the Brown Awl Butterfly. Common & Waterhouse (1981).

This species has been used medicinally in India, the Philippines, Indonesia and New Caledonia. The leaves are regarded as a contraceptive. Cribb (1981).

NT

X

CYP

X

NEQ

X

Tree

X

RFK Code

537