Malesian Euphorbiaceae Descriptions

14. BALIOSPERMUM (Euphorbiaceae)


P.C. van Welzen


van Welzen, P.C. 2018. The genus Baliospermum (Euphorbiaceae) in Malesia. Blumea


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Genus description

Species description

Excluded species


Baliospermum Blume


   Baliospermum Blume, Bijdr. 12 (1826) 603; Decne. in Jacquem., Voy. Inde 4 (1844) 154, t. 154 (‘155’); Baill., Étude Euphorb. (1858) 394; Müll.Arg. in A.DC., Prodr. 15, 2 (1866) 1125; Benth. in Benth. & Hook.f., Gen. Pl. 3, 1 (1880) 324; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5 (1887) 461; J.J.Sm., Meded. Dept. Landb. Ned.-Indië 10 (1910) 599; Pax & K.Hoffm. in Engl., Pflanzenr. 147.IV.4 (1912) 24; Ridl., Fl. Malay Penins. 3 (1924) 312; Gagnep. in Lecomte, Fl. Indo-Chine 5 (1927) 429; Pax & K.Hoffm. in Engl. & Harms, Nat. Pflanzenfam. ed. 2, 19C (1931) 182; Backer & Bakh.f., Fl. Java 1 (1963) 497; Airy Shaw, Kew Bull. 26 (1972) 222; Whitmore, Tree Fl. Malaya 2 (1973) 68; Airy Shaw, Kew Bull. 36 (1981) 267; Kew Bull. 37 (1982) 8; Radcl.-Sm. in Nasir & Ali, Fl. Pakistan 172 (1986) 83; Grierson & D.G.Long, Fl. Bhutan 1, 3 (1987) 809; Chakrab. & N.P.Balakr., Bull. Bot. Surv. India 32 (1992 (‘1990’)) 3; G.L.Webster, Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 81 (1994) 108; Govaerts et al., World Checkl. & Bibliogr. Euphorbiaceae 1 (2000) 242; Radcl.-Sm., Gen. Euphorbiacearum (2001) 306; Phattar. & Chayam. in Chayam. & Welzen, Fl. Thailand 8, 1 (2005) 120; Thin, Taxon. Euphorb. Vietnam (2007) 261; P.T.Li & M.G.Gilbert in Zhyngyi Wu & P.H.Raven (eds.), Fl. China 11 (2008) 277; G.L.Webster in Kubitzki, Fam. Gen. Vasc. Pl. 11 (2014) 177. ― Baliospermum Blume Sect. Baliospermum: Chakrab. & N.P.Balakr., Bull. Bot. Surv. India 32 (1992 (‘1990’)) 5― Type: Baliospermum axillare Blume [= Baliospermum solanifolium (Burm.) Suresh].


Shrubs, dioecious or monoecious. Indumentum of simple, strigose hairs. Stipules small and triangular to round, somewhat elevated, bud-like structures. Leaves alternate, simple, petiolate; blade deeply lobed or not, margin serrate to crenate, with glands in teeth underneath, the basal ones close to the petiole enlarged, basally 3- or 5-nerved. Inflorescences axillary to terminal, racemes or panicles, pedunculate to almost sessile, uni- or sometimes bisexual, staminate ones many-flowered per node, pistillate ones few-flowered or reduced to a single flower in the leaf axil. Flowers symmetric; pedicel with subbasal abscission zone; sepals 5(6), connate at base, imbricate; petals absent. Staminate flowers small, pedicellate; sepals membranous, margin entire; disc annular and lobed or consisting of 5(6) free glands; stamens 9–21, filaments free, thin, broadening towards the broadly triangular connective; anthers 2-thecate, almost confluent on top of connective, opening latrorse with lengthwise slits; pistillode absent. Pistillate flowers larger than staminate ones, shortly pedicellate, elongating in fruit; sepals chartaceous, margin entire to often lobed with glands, persistent and sometimes accrescent; disc annular, lobed inside sepals, thin, flat, whitish when dry; ovary 3-locular; ovules 1 per locule; styles absent, stigmas recurving, widening into shortly split wings. Fruits lobed capsules, septicidally and (partly to) completely loculicidally dehiscent, subglobose; columella persistent, apically shortly t-shaped. Seeds subglobose, marbled, ecarunculate.

Distribution ― Five species (ranging from the Himalayas to Yunnan, Myanmar, Indochina to Malesia (Sumatra, Java, Sumbawa in the Lesser Sunda Islands) (Airy Shaw 1972, 1982; Govaerts et al. 2000; Phattarahirankanok & Chayamarit 2005).


1. Baliospermum solanifolium (Burm.) Suresh


    Baliospermum solanifolium (Burm.) Suresh in Nicolson et al., Interpret. Van Rheede’s Hort. Malab., Regnum Veg. 119 (1988) 106; Phattar. & Chayam. in Chayam. & Welzen, Fl. Thailand 8, 1 (2005) 121, fig. 25; P.T.Li & M.G.Gilbert in Zhyngyi Wu & P.H.Raven (eds.), Fl. China 11 (2008) 277; Illustr. Fl. China 11 (2009) Fig. 333: 4.― Croton solanifolius Burm. (non Geiseler, see below), Fl. Malab. (1769) 6 (‘solanifolium’). ― Type: Rheede, Hort. Malab. 10 (1690) tab. 76. See note 1.

    Jatropha montana Willd., Sp. Pl. 4, 1 (1805) 563. ― Ricinus montanus (Willd.) Wall., Numer. List (1847) nr. 7727. ― Baliospermum montanum (Willd.) Müll.Arg. in A.DC., Prodr. 15, 3 (1866) 1125; Kurz, For. Fl. Burma 2 (1877) 410; J.J.Sm., Meded. Dept. Landb. Ned.-Indië 10 (1910) 600; Pax & K.Hoffm. in Engl., Pflanzenr. IV.147.iv (1912) 25, fig. 6; Backer & Bakh.f., Fl. Java 3 (1963) 497; Airy Shaw, Kew Bull. 26 (1972) 222; Whitmore, Tree Fl. Malaya 2 (1973) 68; Airy Shaw, Kew Bull. 36 (1981) 267; Kew Bull. 37 (1982) 8; Radcl.-Sm. in Nasir & Ali, Fl. Pakistan 172 (1986) 83; Grierson & D.G.Long, Fl. Bhutan 1, 3 (1987) 811; Chakrab. & N.P.Balakr., Bull. Bot. Surv. India 32 (1990, publ. in 1992) 5, fig. 1; P.H.Hô, Câyco Viêtnam 2 (1992) 351; Thin, Taxon. Euphorb. Vietnam (2007) 262. ― Type: Klein s.n. (holo B-WILLD, no. 17927), India.

    Croton solanifolius Geiseler, Croton. Monogr. (1807) 74, nom. illeg, non Burm. (see above). ― Type: J.G. König s.n., Herb. Vahl (holo C), India.

    Baliospermum axillare Blume, Bijdr. 12 (1825) 604; Miq., Fl. Ned. Ind. 1, 2 (1859) 410; Kurz, For. Fl. Burma 2 (1877) 410; Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5 (1887) 461; Boerl., Handl. Fl. Ned. Ind. 3, 1 (1900) 294; F.N.Williams, Bull. Herb. Boiss., ser. 2, 5 (1905) 32; Ostenf., Bull. Herb. Boiss., ser. 2, 5 (1905) 718; Craib, Bull. Misc. Inf. Kew (1911) 467; Aberdeen Univ. Stud. 57 (1912) 194; Ridl., Fl. Malay Penins. 3 (1924) 312; Gagnep. in Lecomte, Fl. Indo-Chine 5 (1927) 429, Fig. 51: 6-19. ― Lectoype (designated by Welzen 2018): Anonymous s.n., Hb. Reinwardt (L, barcode L.2189912), [Indonesia, Java,] in montosis (in mountains).

    Croton polyandrus Roxb., Fl. Ind. ed. 1832, 3 (1832) 682 (non Spreng. 1821). ― Croton roxburgii Wall., Report Wallich Bot. Gard. Calcutta to G.A. Bushby (1840) 20 (see also Esser, Thai For. Bull. Bot. 45: 25-28). ― Baliospermum polyandrum (Roxb.) Wight, Ic. Pl. Ind. Orient. 5, 2 (1852) 23, t. 1885. ― Lectotype (designated by Welzen 2018): Herb. Roxburgh s.n. (BR 505447).

    Baliospermum indicum Decne. in Jacquem., Voy. Inde 4 (1844) 154, t. 154 (‘155’). ― Type: Not indicated (?P),secùs torrentem inter Nagound et Singpour. (Kew notes Anonymous s.n., Herb. Lambert, K000247077, as type, but this contains two specimens, one from Bombay, the other from Assam; both places are not mentioned by Decaisne, thus unlikely to be the type.)

    [Rottlera suffruticosa Wall., Numer. List (1847) n. 7843, nom. nud. ― Cited specimen: Hb. N. Wallich 7843 (K-W)].

    [Baliospermum angulare Decne. ex Baill., Étude Euphorb. (1858) 395, nom. nud.― No cited specimen]

    [Baliospermum moritzianum Baill., Étude Euphorb. (1858) 395, nom. nud. ― Cited specimen: Zollinger 615 (G-DC), cited as Moritzi 615].

   Baliospermum axillare Blume var. dioica Haines, For. Fl. Chota Nagpur (1910) 234. ― Baliospermum montanum (Willd.) Müll.Arg. var. dioica (Haines) Haines, Bot. Bihar Orissa 2 (1921) 115. ― Type: Haines s.n. (n.v.), India, Bihar, Choatanagpur (see Chakrabarty & Balakrishnan 1992).

    Baliospermum pendulinum Pax in Pax & K.Hoffm. in Engl., Pflanzenr. IV.147.iv (1912) 28. ― Lectotype (designated by Welzen 2018): Wawra von Fernsee 2495 (lecto W), Sandwich Inseln [Hawaii], Honolulu, in Gärten [in garden].

    Baliospermum axillare Blume var. heterophylla Gagnep. in Lecomte, Fl. Indo-Chine 5 (1927) 430. ― Type: Bon s.n. (holo P), Annam [Vietnam], Prov. de Thanh-hoa, Trinh-nga.

    Baliospermum razianum Kesh.Murthy & Yogan. in Kesh.Murthy et al., Curr. Sci. 56 (1987) 486 (‘raziana’); T.Jose et al., J. Econ. Taxon. Bot. 12 (1988) 225 (‘raziana’). ― Type: K.R. Keshava Murthy et al. 4218A (holo RRCBI, n.v.; iso 4218B, C: RRCBI, n.v.), India, Karnataka, Coorg dist., Nagarahole.


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Shrubs, up to 2(-10) m high, stem up to 10 mm diam at base, monoecious (rarely only one sexs present), evergreen to deciduous in drier areas, epidermis thin, smooth, brown-green when fresh; flowering branches 2.5-5 mm diam, somewhat hairy when young, glabrescent, dark brown; sap clear, sticky. Indumentum of simple hairs, strigose on branches and leaves, more sericious on floral parts. Stipules bud-like or glandular enations. Leaves simple, alternate; petiole 0.9-18.2 cm long, round to reniform in transverse section, somewhat longitudinally ribbed when dry, at most basally slightly pulvinate, hairy, glabrescent; blades ovate to elliptic to obovate, older ones often with 1 or 2 lobes, 4.2-32.6 by 1.5-15.5 cm (width without lobes), smaller in flowering part, 1.4-5.1 times as long as wide, symmetric, papery to pergamentaceous, base emarginate to truncate to narrowly cuneate, at attachment slightly emarginate, margin flat, especially in older leaves with a single to two lobes, basally up to c. halfway the blade, apex acuminate to cuspidate, both surfaces smooth, somewhat hairy when young, especially abaxially, dark green above, light green underneath; lobes sometimes present, basal to halfway the blade, small to larger, supported by a secondary vein; venation pinnate to 3-plinerved, slightly raised on both sides, especially abaxially, secondary veins 6-14 pairs, looped and closed near margin, lobes always supported by a secondary vein. Staminate inflorescences often developing during fruit set, raceme-like thyrses, up to 7(-20) cm long, but often very short when in bud, with few hairs, with groups of staminate flowers per node supported by a group of bracts, seldom also a pistillate flower per node; bracts triangular, c. 0.8 by 0.6 mm, outside slightly hairy, especially along midrib, margin of more basal ones with one or two tooth-like glands (comparable to leaves), inside glabrous, green. Staminate flowers 2.5-3 mm diam, bright green to yellow; pedicel 2.4-8 mm long, hairy, red suffused; sepals ovate, 1.3-2 by 1.3-2 mm, margin entire, light green (see note 3); stamens c. 15-19; filaments 1.2-1.3 mm long, pale light green; anthers cream to bright yellow. Pistillate inflorescences reduced to a single to 3 flowers developing in the leaf axil next to the staminate inflorescences. Pistillate flowers turning downwards, c. 2.5 mm diam; peduncle c. 2 mm long, elongating to c. 6 mm in fruit, round, hairy; sepals 5, ovate, 1.3-2 by 1-1.3 mm, green, margin with a few glandular teeth, not accrescent; ovary slightly 3-lobed, c. 1.2-1.3 by 1.2-1.6 mm, hairy, light green; style absent, stigmas 3, 1.4-2.3 mm long, light green, upper 0.5-1.3 mm split, basal part thick, more round, lobes flat, thickened perpendicular to ovary, inside smooth. Fruits obovoid, 3-lobed, 7-10 by 7-9.8 mm, hanging downward, smooth, hairy, green to upper part white (immature?), dehiscing septicidally and apically partly loculicidally into bivalved cocci or also completely loculicidally and falling apart in 6 single cocci, strand-like remnants of sutures remaining attached to base of columella, these peeling off from bottom to apex; wall thin, woody when dry; columella slender, 5-67 mm long. Seeds dorsoventrally flattened obovoid with on inside a central ridge, c. 5.5-6.8 by 3.7-5 by 3-4 mm.

    Distribution ― Southeast Asia: ranging from India to Indochina, in Malesia: absent in the Malay Peninsula, present on Sumatra, Java, Lesser Sunda Islands (Bali, Sumbawa), and the Moluccas (Ambon).


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Habitat & Ecology ― Found in disturbed, seasonally dry habitats: shaded to partly open, often wet, fire-damaged, very degraded, mixed evergreen and deciduous hardwood forest with bamboo, in bamboo thickets, and in alang-alang; bedrock soil granite, limestone or shale. Even found on walls of demolished buildings. Altitude: 20-1300 m. Flowering and fruiting whole year through.

Uses ― A decoction of the leaves is used as a purgative; the seeds are a drastic purgative (Radcliffe-Smith 2001). However, quite the opposite, the Karen hilltribe in N Thailand cuts up the roots or leaves, soaks these with seven grains of rice for 30 minutes and drink the liquid to stop vomiting and nausea.

Vernacular names ― Java: (Smith 1910): Adak-adal, Srintil (Javanese); Kasingat (Sundanese); Miquel (1859): Pantjahan, Oedoe lada (Sundanese).

Notes ― 1. The species is generally referred to as B. montanum (based on Jatropha montana by Willdenow 1805), because Burman (1769) seemingly published a nomen nudum when he listed Croton solanifolius. However, Burman correctly referred to a description and plate made by van Rheede tot Drakestijn (1690) and created a valid name (see Nicolson et al. 1988).

2. Differs from the remainder in its monoecy, annular staminate disc, single, hanging pistillate flowers and the gland-like stipules. Still, the species is variable and may have small to very large leaves, short to sometimes long staminate inflorescences, narrow to broad, lobes or non-lobed leaves, etc. Usually the leaves in the flowering parts are much smaller. In Malesia the specimens are relatively uniform.

3. Petrmitr 256 may be of hybrid origin. Like B. solanifolium the plant is bisexual with hanging pistillate flowers/fruits. However, the disc is subdivided and sometimes grown into petal-like organs. The separate glands are like in B. calycinum, which also often has the long inflorescences with long peduncle.




   Baliospermum malayanum Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 5 (1888) 463; B.D.Jacks. in T.Durand & B.D.Jacks., Index Kew., Suppl. 1 (1902) 50 (‘Baliospereum analayanum’). ― Type: Maingay KD 1455 (holo K), Peninsular Malaysia = Cheilosa montana Blume (see Welzen et al. 1993).


    Baliospermum reidioides Kurz, Flora 58 (1875) 32; For. Fl. Burma 2 (1877) 411. ― Type: Teijsmann 4981 (iso K, L), Siam [Thailand], Kanboeria [Kanchanaburi]. = Trigonostemon reidioides (Kurz) Craib