The Pink Pearl!

Indian Cherry (Cordia Dichotoma/भोकर, गोंधण, लसोडा) is a medium sized, almost evergreen tree with a short bole & spreading crown. It is a very important species when it comes to avifauna and arboreal animals.

The flowers are small, short-stalked, bisexual, white in colour. Flowers open only at night, hence hardly noticed. Fruits are sweet, sticky & edible; yellow or pinkish-yellow shining globose which turns black on ripening. The immature fruits are pickled and are also used as a vegetable. The tree shed leaves for a short period in early summer. It has elliptical to broadly ovate shaped, bright green leaves.

Being a quick-growing fruit tree, performing well under semi-arid conditions, Indian Cherry is suitable for planting along boundary & farm roads. The tree coppices and pollards well. The leaves are fed upon by butterfly larvae of the Oakblue butterfly and are also lopped for fodder. The seed kernel has medicinal properties and has potential as cattle feed. It is often cultivated for its fruits. It is propagated by seeds. Young seedlings are damaged by browsing and fire, but have good power of recovery from these injuries.

There are many medicinal properties and usages of Bahuvaraka mentioned in traditional literature of Ayurveda and Materia Medica. The fruits are used as an expectorant and astringent. They are also considered useful for treating all diseases related to the lungs. In Unani medicine, the fruits are considered to be anthelmintic, diuretic, expectorant, anti-inflamatory & purgative. They are used for treating dry cough, diseases of the chest and urethra, in biliousness and chronic fever, joint pains and diseases of the spleen as well. The inhabitants of Bhadrak District in Odisha take the fruit juice orally as a blood-purifier. A decoction of Indian Cherry bark is considered useful for the relief of dyspepsia and fevers, as well. It is also reported to possess anti-diabetic, anti-ulcerative, anti-inflammatory, immune-modulator and analgesic activity.

Though small, the flowers are delicately beautiful; which attracts bees and butterflies. When in season, various birds and arboreal mammals tend to be the greatest enthusiasts of the sticky pink fruit. Being as valuable as a pearl to our Environment, the tree might have given the name 'Pink Pearl'! Truly its a gem for tree-lovers!! :)