A report on the extended distribution of Polycarpaea aurea (Caryophyllaceae), an endemic herbaceous species, to Chota Nagpur Plateau, Jharkhand, India


Vijay Kumar Mastakar 1, P. Lakshminarasimhan 2 & Madhuri Modak 3


1 Botanical Survey of India, C.G.O. Complex, 3rd MSO Building, Block F, DF Block, Sector 1, Salt Lake City, Kolkata, West Bengal 700064, India

2 Central National Herbarium, Botanical Survey of India,

P.O. Botanical Garden, Howrah, West Bengal 711103, India

3 Govt. Motilal Vigyan Mahavidyala, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462002, India

1 vkmast_bsi@rediffmail.com (corresponding author), 2 lakshminarasimhanp@yahoo.co.in, 3 modakmadhuri@yahoo.com



doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o4268.7950-2


Editor: N.D. Paria, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India. Date of publication: 26 October 2015 (online & print)


Manuscript details: Ms # o4268 | Received 12 March 2015 | Finally accepted 10 October 2015


Citation: Mastakar, V.K., P. Lakshminarasimhan & M. Modak (2015). A report on the extended distribution of Polycarpaea aurea (Caryophyllaceae), an endemic herbaceous species, to Chota Nagpur Plateau, Jharkhand, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(12): 79507952; http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o4268.7950-2


Copyright: © Mastakar et al. 2015. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: Botanical Survey of India, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Govt. of India.


Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: The authors are grateful to Dr. Paramjit Singh, Director, Botanical Survey of India, Kolkata, for providing facilities and encouragement. One of us (Vijay Mastakar) is thankful to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Wildlife & Chief Wildlife Warden, Jharkhand, Ranchi for giving permission to undertake field studies at Palkot Wildlife Sanctuary. They are also thankful to Dr. W. Arisdason, Scientist ‘C’, BSI, Kolkata, for confirming the identity of the plant, and to Sri D.K. Shah, Artist, BSI, Howrah, for the illustration.







Polycarpaea Lam. (Caryophyllaceae), comprising c. 50 species, is distributed in tropical and warmer regions of the world, especially in Old World regions (Mabberley 2008). Majumdar (1993) recognized three species and three varieties from India. According to Daniel et al. (2000), the genus is represented by four species and one variety, viz., P. aurea, P. corymbosa (incl. var. corymbosa and var. longipetala), P. diffusa and P. spicata. Venu et al. (2001) described a new species, namely P. majumdariana based on a collection from Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu. Therefore, at present the genus is represented by five species in India, of which P. aurea, P. diffusa and P. majumdariana are endemic to the country.

Materials and Methods: To assess the angiosperm diversity of Palkot Wildlife Sanctuary, Jharkhand intensive field explorations were conducted from 2010–2013 during which a species of Polycarpaea was collected. A careful scrutiny of the literature and herbarium specimens housed at CAL, revealed that it was P. aurea (Wight) Dunn. It is an endemic species, hitherto known only from Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Tamil Nadu (Daniel et al. 2000). The present collection shows its extended distribution in Chota Nagpur Plateau, Jharkhand. Hence, a detailed description, illustration, images and relevant information are provided here for its identification (Fig. 1a–h and Image 1a–j).


Polycarpaea aurea (Wight)

Dunn in Gamble, Fl. Madras 1: 65. 1915; P. Daniel et al., J. Swamy Bot. Club 17: 5, f. 1. 2000; P. Daniel, Fl. Kerala 1: 312. 2005.

P. corymbosa (L.) Lam. var. aurea Wight, III. Ind. Bot. 2: 44, t. 110. 1850 (as ainea in text); Edgew. & Hook.f. in Hook.f., Fl. Brit. India 1: 245. 1874; T. Cooke, Fl. Bombay 1: 66. 1901; Majumdar in B.D. Sharma & N.P. Balakr., Fl. India 2: 551. 1993; Shirodkar in N.P. Singh & Karthik., Fl. Maharashtra 1: 253. 2000.

P. aurea Wight & Arn., Ann. Nat. Hist. ser. 1, 3: 91. 1839, pro syn.; Mooney, Suppl. Bot. Bihar & Orissa: 245. 1950; Ramam. in N.C. Nair & A.N. Henry, Fl. Tamil Nadu 1: 23. 1983; C.J. Saldanha, Fl. Karnataka 1: 152. 1984; B.D. Sharma et al., Fl. Karnataka Anal.: 16. 1984; D.M. Verma et al., Fl. Madhya Pradesh 1: 174. 1993; H.O. Saxena & M. Brahmam, Fl. Orissa 1: 99. 1994; T. Pullaiah et al., Fl. Eastern Ghats 1: 99. 2002.

Specimens examined: 49324, 28.viii.2010, near Tapkara Dam, Palkot Wildlife Sanctuary, Jharkhand, India, c. 580m, 22047’15.9”N & 84041’49.8”E, coll. V.K. Mastakar; 41809(CAL), 24.iii.2011, coll. V.K. Mastakar.









Annual, erect, much branched and suffruticose herb; branches terete. Stems densely white-pubescent, turning grey-pubescent or glabrescent when old; internodes long. Leaves opposite-decussate, rarely pseudo-verticillate due to presence of a few secondary leaves in axils, sessile, linear, 4–12 × 0.5–0.75 mm, obtuse at base, entire at margins, mucronate at apex, glabrous; surface wrinkled and margins recurved on drying; Stipules lanceolate, entire at margins, acuminate at apex, c. 3mm long, scarious, colourless or yellowish-brown, slightly silvery. Inflorescence a cyme, irregular, lax. Flowers c. 3.25mm long; bracteoles ovate-lanceolate, c. 2.25 × 1 mm, entire at margins, acute at apex, grey with a faint brownish tinge; pedicels c. 1.5mm long, pubescent. Sepals five, free, ovate-lanceolate, c. 2 × 0.8 mm, exceeding petals and capsules, entire at margins, acute-acuminate at apex, scarious, bright orange-reddish. Petals five, oblong-obovate, c. 1 × 0.5 mm, partly enclosing capsule, obtuse at apex, yellowish-brown. Stamens five; filaments forming a cup of c. 0.5mm high base with petals and encircling ovary; anthers creamy white when young. Ovary free from base, conic, obtuse, c. 0.6 × 0.4 mm, 1-loculed; style slender, c. 0.4mm long, 3-fid. Capsules ovoid-ellipsoid, c. 1.2 × 1 mm, shortly stiped, 3-valved, smooth, shining, glabrous, dehiscing above side; tips faintly incurved when young, recurved after dehiscence. Seeds 3–5, reniform, c. 0.5 × 0.3 mm, purplish-brown with radiating lines at attachment and a groove.

Flowering & Fruiting: August–March.

Habitat: Rocky areas in scrub jungles, at c. 580m.

Distribution: Endemic: Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand (Palkot Wildlife Sanctuary), Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.

Notes: Polycarpaea aurea Wight & Arn., Ann. Nat. Hist. Ser. 1, 3: 91. 1839, as cited in Index Kewensis is not validly published, as the name P. aurea Wight Cat. n. 2443 is merely listed as a nomen nudum in synonymy after a description of a variety ‘d’ of P. corymbosa Lam. (Noltie 2005). Furthermore, the name by Wight & Arnott is considered as a pro synonym. Noltie (2005) also states that if this taxon is recognised at specific rank, the correct citation should be P. aurea (Wight) Gamble, Fl. Madras: 65. 1915. However, the treatment of Daniel (2005), i.e., P. aurea (Wight) Dunn in Gamble, Fl. Madras: 65. 1915, has been followed here, as the treatment of families that appeared in the first 92 pages of Flora of Madras was made by Dunn.








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