from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A genus of plants, type of the tribe Uvarieæ in the order Anonaceæ. They are characterized by having flowers with valvate sepals, numerous appendaged stamens, many carpels, and many ovules; the receptacle and sometimes the stamens are truncate. The genus includes about 44 species, natives of tropical Asia and Africa. They are climbing or sarmentose shrubs, with hairy stems and leaves, and bisexual flowers, usually opposite the leaves. The corolla is frequently brown, greenish, or purple, and often densely velvety. The flowers of several species of India are very fragrant and somewhat showy, reaching in U. dulcis 2 inches and in U. purpurea 3 inches in diameter. The aromatic roots of U. Narum, a large woody climber with shining leaves and scarlet fruit, are used in India as a febrifuge, and by distillation yield a fragrant greenish oil. Some produce an edible fruit, as U. Zeylanica and U. macrophylla of India. U. Caffra, with laurel-like leaves, and fleshy berries resembling cherries, occurs in Natal, and two other extra-limital species are Australian. U. virgata and U. laurifolia, two West Indian trees known as lancewood, once classed here, are now referred to the genus Oxandra; and many other former American species are now assigned to Guatteria. Compare also Unona and Asimina.


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