Common name: Job’s tears (Hindi- Samkru)
Botanical name: Coix lacryma-jobi
Family: Poaceae(Grass family)
Habitat: Foothills of Himalayas
Importance- Used as a minor cereal and fodder. The berries are also strung as beads, used as rosaries, made into curtains, trays, bags and other accessories
Job’s tears receives its name from the hard shiny tear-shaped structures that enclose the seed kernels. Those bead-like pseudocarps are sometimes used for jewellery and rosaries.
Habit- A coarse annual or perennial herb
Stem– Annual to perennial, tillering grass which is erect, branched, coarse, and stout, and 1-2 m in height
Leaves– 10-40 cm long, 2.5-4 cm wide, with the base broad and cordate with parallel venation
Inflorescence– Spike of spikelets. Male spikelets are about 8 mm long. Female spikelets enclosed in a leaf-sheath which takes the form of a bead-like structure varying from ovoid to spheroid in shape and exhibiting various colours. The capsules are initially green and on drying are hard, bony, white or black, shining, ovoid, about 8 mm long.
Stamens– 3, versatile anthers with reduced or very small filaments. Anther wall tough and showing regular cell alignment. Pollen small an clustered within the anther sac, on releasing somewhat tetrahedral shape marked.
Stigma– 3, feathery, coloured with large number of tassels
Jasveen Dua & Samriti Dhawan (GGDSD College, Chandigarh)
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