Cullenia exarillata Robyns (Syn: Cullenia rosayroana Kosterm.);
Wild Durian or Karayani; Tamil: Aini pla, Karanai, Karavi, Karayini, Malai kongi, Polavu, Vedipila, Vedupla, Velupla. Malayalam: Vediplavu.;
India (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala) as per Catalogue of Life;
Cullenia exarillata is a flowering plant evergreen tree species in the family Malvaceae endemic to the rainforests of the southern Western Ghats in India. It is one of the characteristic trees of the mid-elevation tropical wet evergreen rainforests and an important food plant for the endemic primate, the Lion-tailed Macaque.
The species is characteristically found and dominant in the mid-elevation (700 m to 1400 m) tropical wet evergreen rainforests, which has been called the Cullenia exarillata – Mesua ferrea – Palaquium ellipticum type. It occurs from the southern tip of the Western Ghats in Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve and Agasthyamalai hills to Wayanad and Kodagu in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.
Tall evergreen trees with smooth greyish white bark, flaking in mature trees, with straight boles, frequently buttressed. The branches are horizontal often with series of knob-like tubercles (for cauliflorous attachment of flowers and fruits). The young branchlets and the underside of leaves are covered by golden brown peltate (or shield like) scales. Leaves are simple, alternate, glabrous, shiny green above and covered beneath with silvery or orangish peltate scales. The tubular, hermaphroditic flowers (also covered by golden brown scales) are about 4–5 cm long and cream or pinkish brown in colour. The flowers lack petals and are formed of tubular bracteoles and tube-like calyx, obscurely 5-lobed. The round fruits, about 10–13 cm in diameter and covered with spines, are clustered along the branches. The fruit is a capsule, 5-valved, containing many reddish brown seeds about 4–5 cm long and 2–3 cm wide. In the fruit, the seeds are covered by a fleshy, whitish aril. The fruit dehisces open when mature and dry to release seeds.
The genus Cullenia was created by Robert Wight and commemorates William Cullen with the type species excelsa from India which Wight considered incorrectly as being identical to the Sri Lankan C. ceylanica which was earlier described under the genus Durio. André Robyns examined Wight’s specimen and fresh specimens from southern India and noted it as being distinct and described it as C. exarillata in 1970. C. ceylanica has the seeds covered by an aril whereas C. exarillata does not have the aril surrounding the seeds. The genus is evolutionarily close to Boschia and Durio.
(from Wikipedia on 3.12.17)
Cullenia fruit – efloraofindia | Google Groups
This is the Cullenia fruit on the forest floor. One of the so called keystone species of Western ghats.
Cullenia exarillata is the main source of food for the endangered Lion Tailed Macaque. Had photographed these gigantic trees [which stood clear of the canopy] in the Silent Valley National Park. Sending a few photographs.
Also called Wild Durian or Karayani-[MSSwaminathan-Major Flowering Trees in India]. I remember coming across this in the Silent Valley