Litsea cubeba Pers. - LAURACEAE

Basionym : Laurus cubeba Lour.

Synonym : Litsea citrina Blume

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Botanical descriptions Habitat and ecology Distribution

Botanical descriptions :

Diagnostic characters : Deciduous or evergreen trees, crushed parts smelling of citronella. Leaves glaucous below. Stipules absent. Flowers unisexual on separate trees in axillary umbels. Fruit a fleshy drupe, black at maturity.
Habit : Deciduous or semi-evergreen tree up to 12 m tall.
Trunk & bark : Bole straight, bole greyish-black, smooth, lenticellate.
Branches and branchlets or twigs : Twigs terete, glabrous.
Exudates : Exudate absent.
Leaves : Leaves simple, alternate and spiral, glabrous, glaucous below, narrowly ovate or lanceolate, apex acuminate, base acute, margin entire.
Primary vein single, secondary veins obtuse, tertiary veins reticulate.
Stipules absent.
Inflorescences or flowers : Flowers cream, unisexual on different plant, arranged in a 4--6-flowered in axillary umbels, globose inflorescence, usually flowering when deciduous. Pedicels up to 3 mm long.
Fruits : Fruit fleshy drupe, up to 0.7 cm long, black at maturity.
Seeds : Seed 1.

Habitat and ecology :

Common in open places.

Distribution :

Burma (Myanmar), China, India (North-East), Indochina, Indonesia (Java), Nepal, Thailand, Laos (Khammouan).

Remark/notes/uses :
The essential oil from the leaves and fruits is used in industry and medicine.

Specimens studied :
BT 209, BT 831, BT 864 (Herbarium of Faculty of Sciences-NUoL, NHN-Leiden and CIRAD-Montpellier).

Literature :
Gardner S., Sidisunthorn P. & Anusarnsunthorn V. 2000. A field guide to Forest Trees of Northern Thailand. Kobfai Publishing Project. Bangkok. Thailand.

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