Three New addition to the Flora of Meghalaya

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R. Kumar &  B.K. Sinha

Botanical Survey of India, Eastern Regional Centre,




Three species of flowering plants namely Sterculia rubiginosa, Pterocymbium tinctorium var. tinctorium and Didymoplexis pallens have been described. Of these, first one recorded for the first time from North-east India and the later two are new to Meghalaya.

Keywords Meghalaya, New additions.


During the course of studies on documentation of floristic diversity of North-east India, particularly Meghalaya, the authors came across with three interesting plants collected from East Khasi Hills. After critical studies these have been identified as Sterculia rubiginosa, Pterocymbium tinctorium var. tinctorium and Didymoplexis pallens. As such they are recorded for the first time from Meghalaya.  It is interesting to note that Sterculia rubiginosa earlier recorded from Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Myanmar, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, reported for the first time from the North-east India. Brief taxonomic description and photographs are provided in present communication. The specimens studied are deposited in herbarium of Botanical Survey of India, Eastern Regional Centre, Shillong (ASSAM).

Sterculia rubiginosa Vent., Jard. Malmaison t. 91. 1805; Parkinson, Forest Fl. Andaman 100. 1923; Malick in Sharma et al., Fl. India 23: 470. 1993. [Sterculiaceae].

Tall shrubs or small trees; rusty villous. Leaves simple, oblong to obovate-obolng, 15-27 x 6-11 cm, rounded or obtuse at base, acute or abruptly acuminate at apex, glabrous above, downy beneath; petioles 5-15 mm long, hispid; stipules subulate, lanceolate, ca 2.5 cm long. Flowers long panicles, many-flowered at the apices of branchlets or in axil of fallen leaves, sparsely hispid. Calyx deeply cleft, 1.5-2 cm long, lobes linear, revolute, pilose inside; tube minutely pubescent inside. Male flowers: staminal column 2-3 mm long. Follicles lanceolate, 3-5 cm long, beaked, hairy externally, glabrous and crimson inside; seeds 8 – 12 mm long, black.

Fl.: February – April; Fr. : September -November.

Distrib.: India: Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Andaman Islands), Meghalaya; Myanmar and Malesia.

Specimen examined: Meghalaya: East Khasi Hill, 13.03.2012, R. Kumar 124814 (ASSAM).

Pterocymbium tinctorium (Blanco) Merr., Govt. Lab. Publ. Philipp. 27: 24.1905; Malick in Sharma et al., Fl. India 3: 445. 1993. Heritiera tinctoria Blanco, Fl. Filip. 653.1837. Sterculia campanulata Wall. ex Masters in Fl. Brit. India 1: 362. 1874; Parkinson, Forest Fl. Andaman 100. 1923.  var. tinctorium. [Sterculiaceae].

Large trees, ca. 20 m tall; bark grayish to brownish. Leaves broadly ovate or oblong-ovate, 10 -15 x 7 – 15 cm, rounded a base, acute or acuminate at apex, pubescent on nerves beneath, entire; petioles 3-10 cm long, slender; stipules subulate, ca. 6 mm long, caducous. Flowers polygamo-monoecious, appearing before the leaves at the apices of the branchlets, umbellately arranged in large branched panicles. Calyx campanulate, glabrous, 5-lobed, divided nearly to the middle, turbinate, green, velvety along margins. Male flowers: Stamens on staminal column, as long as the sepals, pubescent below; anther lobes parallel, covering abortive ovaries. Female flowers: ovaries 5, sessile, gibbous at base; styles short. Follicles 5 or fewer by abortion, glabrous, membranous, as long as the enlarged sepals, 5 – 9 x 1.8 – 2.5 cm, boat shaped with a pouch like bulging at base, membranous, dehiscing long before maturity; seeds 1 cm long, ellipsoid to ovoid.

Fl. & Fr.:  February – April.

Distribution: India: Andaman & Nicobar Islands (Andaman Islands), Tripura, Kerala, Meghalaya.

Specimen examined: Meghalaya: East Khasi Hill, 24.03.2010, B.K.Sinha 104010 (ASSAM).

Note: The variety distinctly differ form another variety i.e Pterocymbium tinctorium var. glabrifolium (Kurz) Thoth. Recorded from Andaman islands in having ovate or ovate-oblong leaves which surface is pubescent along nerves while the later has cordate to rotundate glabrous leaves (Malick, 1993).

Didymoplexis pallens Griff., Calcutta J. Nat. Hist. 4: 383. 1843. [Orchidaceae].

Terrestrial; stems 5-20 cm high with 3-5 scale like sheaths, pale brown to reddish brown; rhizome fusiform or moniliform, pale brown. Rachis 2-4 cm long, elongating in fruit, laxly to subdensely 4-10-flowered; floral bracts ovate, ca. 2 mm, apex acute. Flowers open in succession, white, campanulate; pedicel and ovary erect, brown, 0.7-1.2 cm; pedicel extending to 15 cm in fruit. Dorsal sepal and petals 4-7 mm, usually united for more than 1/2 of their length, free portion ovate-triangular, shallowly 3-lobed, each lobe ovate-deltoid and with an obtuse apex; lateral sepals 3-4.5 mm, connate with each other for up to 1/2 of their length, and with petals for 1/3 of their length, free portion 2-lobed, each lobe ovate and with an obtuse apex, reflexed; lip broadly obovate, 4.5-5 × 6-7 mm, erose-crenate, lateral margins erect or incurved, apex sub-truncate; disk with a dense row of warty papillae along midvein; column slightly curved, clavate, 3- 4 mm, apex dilated and with 2 oblong wings; column foot slightly curved, 2-3 mm; anther orbicular. Capsule cylindric-fusiform, 2-2.8 cm.

Fl. & Fr.:  April-May.

Distribution: India: NE India (North Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya & Arunachal Pradesh); Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan, China

Specimen examined: Meghalaya: East Khasi Hill, 01.04.2012, R. Kumar 125138 (ASSAM).

Note: This species is with very small population size and in rare in nature of distribution, confined in India only in N.E. Region. Recently a checklist of Orchids published from North Eastern India (Chowdhery, 2009), wherein its distribution has shown from Meghalaya. However the report from Meghalaya is treated here is doubtful as there is no herbarium available in leading herbaria of N.E. India. Thus the present report constitutes first authentic report from Meghalaya.


The authors are thankful to Director, BSI Kolkata for necessary facilities; and to Dr S. K. Singh, Scientist-C BSI ERC, Shillong for suggestion and identification of orchid species; and to Forests Department, Meghalaya for logistic support during field explorations.


Chowdhery, H. J. Orchid diversity in North-Eastern States of India J. Orchid Soc. India, 2009,  23 (1-2): 19-42.

Parkinson, C.E. 1923. A Forest Flora of the Andaman Islands. Government Central

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