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the putranjiva family
The type genus is Putranjiva, from a Sanskrit word meaning ‘giving life to children’. According to some authorities, there are 3 genera in the family, Drypetes, Putranjiva and Sibangea. According to others, they are all now to be regarded as species of Drypetes. Putranjiva roxburghii (or Drypetes roxburghii) is the Lucky Bean Tree, a decoction of whose leaves and fruits is used in many parts of India to cure fevers, and a necklace of the fruits is worn by children to ward off evil and ill health; hence the name of the genus. Members of the family have 2-ranked leathery leaves which, when fresh, typically have a peppery taste. This is due to the mustard oils they contain as a defence against herbivores. The usually small flowers cluster from a common point, and the fruits are drupes crowned by persistent stigmas.
Drypetes deplanchei - Yellow Tulipwood
Photograph by Mark Marathon via Wikimedia Commons
Page last updated 29th March 2018