8. Benkara Adanson, Fam. Pl. 2: 85, 525. 1763.
簕茜属 le qian shu
Authors: Tao Chen & Charlotte M. Taylor
Fagerlindia Tirvengadum; Griffithia Wight & Arnott.
Shrubs or small trees, erect to clambering or perhaps scandent, usually armed with paired, ascending, straight to slightly curved, axillary thorns, often with short shoots. Raphides absent. Leaves opposite or sometimes congested to apparently fascicled on lateral short shoots, usually with domatia; stipules caducous, interpetiolar or shortly united around stem, generally triangular, acute to cuspidate. Inflorescences terminal on lateral branches and/or short shoots, 1-flowered or 2- to several flowered and fasciculate to cymose, sessile to pedunculate, bracteate or bracts reduced. Flowers pedicellate, bisexual, monomorphic. Calyx limb 5-lobed, usually with well-developed basal tubular portion. Corolla white to yellow, salverform, usually pubescent in throat; lobes 5, convolute in bud, usually spreading to reflexed. Stamens 5, inserted in corolla throat, partially to fully exserted; filaments short; anthers dorsifixed. Ovary 2-celled, ovules several to many in each cell on axile placentas; stigma clavate to fusiform or 2-lobed with lobes coherent, included to partially exserted. Fruiting pedicels sometimes elongating. Fruit purplish black, baccate, fleshy to leathery or infrequently woody, globose to ellipsoid, smooth, with calyx limb tardily deciduous; seeds several to numerous, medium-sized, angled or ellipsoid, embedded in pulp; testa weakly areolate.
About 19 species: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam; seven species (four endemic) in China.
Ridsdale (Reinwardtia 12: 289-300. 2008) recently reviewed Oxyceros and Fagerlindia and concluded by re-circumscribing Oxyceros Loureiro (Fl. Cochinch. 1: 150. 1790) and synonymizing Fagerlindia with Benkara. In this new circumscription, Oxyceros comprises species distinguished by markedly recurved thorns (or spines), notably O. horridus Loureiro, and is not represented (as far as now known) in the Chinese flora. Ridsdale (loc. cit.) transferred all the Chinese species previously included in Oxyceros to Benkara, with straight or only slightly curved spines or thorns. One Chinese species included by Ridsdale in Fagerlindia and later Benkara is here instead treated as Aidia canthioides.
Benkara griffithii (J. D. Hooker) Ridsdale (Reinwardtia 12: 298. 2008; Randia griffithii J. D. Hooker, Fl. Brit. India 3: 112. 1880; Oxyceros griffithii (J. D. Hooker) W. C. Chen) is not treated here. See the discussion under B. forrestii below.