Taxonomy

Kingdom : Plantae
Phylum : Magnoliophyta
Class : Equisetopsida
Order : Malpighiales
Genus : Excoecaria
Species : agallocha
Author : Linnaeus

Description

Evergreen trees or large shrubs, often 15 m tall, trunk up to 70 cm in diameter at base, bark greyish, lenticelled, wood soft, light; plant parts with milky sap; root-system without a prominent main root, many laterally spreading. superficial, snake-like roots producing elbo shapped pegs from supraterranean bends. Leaves 3-8 x 1.5-3 cm, ovate, ovate-elliptic or ovate-oblong, greenish turning red before shedding, acute or obtuse at apex, narrowed at base. Flowers unisexual, fragrant; male flowers 2-3 mm, yellow, in axillary catkin-like spikes; female flowers 2.5-3.5 mm, pedicellate, in axillary few-flowered racemes. Capsules 1-1.5 cm across, depressed-globose, 3 lobed, dehiscent; seeds sub-globose or 3 gonus.
Flowering and fruiting from March-July, February-August (West Bengal), June-September (Orissa), March-October (Andhra Pradesh), August-February (Tamil Nadu), April-October (Kerala), March-December (Karnataka), throughout the year except September (Goa), May-October (Maharashtra).
The species is readily known for light green leaves which turn reddish on ageing and cat-tail like male inflorescences and for the poisonous milky juice of the plant which readily exudes on injuring any plant part.