Cassine albens (Retz.) Kosterm., Gard. Bull. Singapore 39: 178 1986 publ. 1987. (Syn: Cassine dichotoma (Roxb.) M.R.Almeida; Cassine roxburghii (Wight & Arn.) Ramamoorthy);

English Ceylon tea
Malayalam Karuneerakam, Thannimaram
Others Thannimaram, Irula : Mukarasi, Hin : Jamrasi, Irula : Murukkimaram, Karuneerakam
Tamil Khiri, Karuvali, Kanniramaram


Trees, to 20 m high, bark grey to greyish-brown; blaze dull red; exudation watery; branchlets glabrous. Leaves simple, opposite; petiole 15-20 mm long, slender, glabrous; lamina 5-10×2-6 cm, elliptic, ovate, elliptic-ovate or ovate-oblong, base acute, attenuate, obtuse or round, apex acute or acuminate, margin entire or shallowly crenate or serrate, glabrous, coriaceous; lateral nerves 4-7 pairs, pinnate, slender, prominent, intercostae reticulate, prominent. Flowers bisexual, to 8 mm across, greenish, in axillary or extra axillary dichotomously branched cymes to 5 cm long; bracts ovate; pedicel 3 mm long, slender, glabrous; calyx 5-lobed; lobes unequal; petals 5, 3-4 mm long, oblong, spreading, reflexed; stamens 5, inserted on the disc; filaments 1.5 mm long; anthers subglobose; disc cushion-like, sinuate; ovary embedded in the disc, 2-3-celled, ovules 2 in each cell; style thick; stigma not lobed. Fruit a drupe, ca. 1 x 0. 8 cm, oblong, yellowish-green, smooth, apiculate; seed one.

Flowering and fruiting: February-May
Dry deciduous forests
India and Sri Lanka




Please identify this plant details of which are as follows:
Date           :22.09.13                                                              
Location     :Kasampatti sacred grove, Alagarkoil hill range
Altitude      :less than 500 ft
Habitat        :sacred grove
Habit           :tree
Height         :more than 50 ft
Leaves         😕 serrated? dentate
Flowers       :
Fruits           :berry similar to neem,
Local name  :karukatchi

I have never seen a Cassine glauca tree that big.

The leaves and fruits look like the species mentioned. The apex of the leaf is typically bent like that shown in your picture. Flowers may help for concluding the ID

Thanks for the id. Shall post pictures of flowers when I see them.  It is undisturbed as it forms part of a sacred grove and therefore might have become a huge tree.

efi page on Elaeodendron glaucum (Syn: Cassine glauca (Rottb.) Kuntze)

According to the revision by Kostermans, in Gard. Bull. Sing. 39: 180 (1986) this is Cassine albens. He gave the distribution on as Southern Tamil Nadu. Massive, but usually a short-boled tree, up to 25 m tall and 60 cm dbh, bark outside reddish, inside yellowish. Drupe on-celled, obovoid, red when ripe, succulent with soft thin crustaceous putamen. I am curious about the red fruit. I am looking forward for additional photos of the flowers and hopefully fruit. 
This differs from C. glauca, which fruit is white, and narrowly ellipsoid with sharp tips.

Yes, it matches Cassine albens (Retz.) Kosterm. The fruits become red when mature.

Thank you so much for the confirmation. I am working on a paper on the genus, which is cosmopolitan in distribution from America to Australia. Something I do need is photos of the ripe red fruit. I would appreciate a slightly larger resolution photo  for publication for use with full acknowledgement.

Thanks a lot for your sustained efforts to fix any plant which goes unidentified. Please convey my thanks to … and … Shall send photographs of fruits and flowers as and when I get them.

Thanks, …,


In the thread, Tree flowers for ID (130709 NSJ), you have stated:
” ………… the names Elaeodendron and Cassine have been confused for centuries. However, my own research and DNA analysis proved that this plant is Elaeodendron. The genus Cassine with only 3 species, occur in South Africa and looks very different, both in flowers and fruit from Elaeodendron.” 
That way what this species should exactly be as per your current research ?

I am sending a close up of the tree trunk.

… it is Cassine glauca (Rottb.) Kuntze of Celastraceae only

As … is an expert on Cassine, I am taking it as Cassine albens only.

Yes …, I saw the fruits of Cassine glauca. which is entirely different from one that is available in this image. Seed is not tapering. We have the Cassine glauca tree at the entrance of BSI, Coimbatore. I wrongly commented; after that only I realized it.