The Scholar Tree

A medium-to-large evergreen tree with a dense crown and a straight cylindrical bole... One may not recognise the tree, but he/she will not fail to notice the strong fragrance of the flowers, which bloom October onward. The Scholar tree (Alstonia Scholaris/सातवीण, सप्तपर्णी) is an elegant evergreen species. 

Saptaparni in Sanskrit means ‘seven leaves’, and is based on the fact that 4 to 8 simple leaves - more often seven - occur in a circle at each node around the stem. The tree has traditionally been used to make wooden slates & black boards for school children. Hence the tree is also known as Black board tree. Since ancient times, the Scholar tree has been used to make paper in India. The tree has been also recommended for the manufacture of pencils. These things help to explain the name of the species, scholaris.

The tree is really elegant whether it is flowering or not. In October small, cream or greenish white colored fragrant flowers appear. Inflorescence mostly formed of dense bunches of flowers, filling the air at dusk with a distinct and unmistakable fragrance. The pungent fragrance is described variously as ‘strong’, ‘heady’, ‘intoxicating’, ‘solidifying the air’, ‘fragrance of peace & contentment’ and so on... Those who like it can’t seem to have enough of it; there are others who complain of headaches and breathing troubles too. It is a tall, fast-growing tree with greyish rough bark and milky sap. The leaves are whorled, that is, several of them coming out of the same point. Leaves are slightly rounded, leathery, dark green in color. This gives the tree a beautiful shape.

In India, many tribal peoples believe that the tree is evil and avoid it completely. They say that the tree is inhabited by an evil spirit who will possess any individual who dares walk or sleep beneath it. This spirit is also said to kill any individual who chooses to sleep beneath its branches. Local superstition about the tree mainly stems from the fact that its milky sap is rich in poisonous alkaloid, and thus the tree is shunned by cattle. Thanks to this belief, Devil’s tree has been spared much of the destruction that has faced other species of tree in India. 

The hardy species can be grown in a variety of climatic conditions in India. However, it prefers a fairly moist habitat. It is also the State Tree of West Bengal.

Scholar tree has many medicinal properties like anti-microbial, anti-amoebic, anti-diarrheal, anti-hypertensive, anti-malarial, febrifuge, stimulant, hepato-protective, immuno-modulatory, anti-cancer, anti-asthmatic, antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-fertility, anti-diabetic etc. In Ayurveda it is used for treating skin disorders and for upper purification process of Panchkarma. It is also useful to purify blood & relieve respiratory disorders and known to rejuvenate the digestive system.

The tree is moderately fast growing & coppice freely. When in flower, they are often surrounded by pollinating bees and butterflies. The fruits open on the tree and the seeds, which have a tuft of silky hairs at each end, are dispersed by wind. It can be easily propagated by seeds and also by cuttings. It is often planted as an avenue tree and as ornamental in gardens.

The Beauty Leaf

As the name suggests, Indian Laurel (Calophyllum Inophyllum/उंडी, नागचाफा) has attractive and beautiful foliage. Because of its decorative leaves, fragrant flowers and spreading crown, it is best known as an ornamental plant. But this plant has more to its credit.

Also known as Sultan Champa, it is a large evergreen tree native to southern coastal India. It is a low-branching and slow-growing tree with a broad and spreading crown. Due to its slow growth & ornamental appearance, the tree is often planted in urban areas for beautification. It is valued for its deliciously scented snow-white flowers that are reminiscent of orange blossom. The fragrant flowers have been prized as an adornment and as a perfume. But the cherry on cake is its flowering can occur year-round. If not year-round, usually two distinct flowering periods are observed, in late spring and in late autumn. 

Besides being a popular ornamental  tree, its wood is hard & strong and has been used in construction or boat-building. It grows best in sandy well drained soils in coastal areas but will tolerate clays, calcareous soils and rocky soils. It is also found higher up the rivers along river margins. The tree demands light and prefers full sun. It is sensitive to frost and fire. It tolerates occasional water-logging in coastal areas.

Indian Laurel is a multipurpose plant, and is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and source of materials. The tree is planted for shade and for reforestation & afforestation. Also used to provide shelter from the wind and as an efficient shore protector in most places. The mature fruit is burned as a mosquito repellent. The fruit is a source for bio-diesel is used in treating skin disorders, diarrhea, osteo-arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, Kapha and Pitta imbalance disorders and more.

The seeds yield viscous oil, known as Domba oil, which is of excellent quality for soap manufacture; it is also used as an illuminant and in local medicine. It may be employed as a remedy for rheumatism, ulcers and skin diseases. Bark is said to be an astringent. A decoction of the bark and latex is used medicinally, internally against diarrhoea and after childbirth, externally against skin and eye diseases and rheumatism. Leaves, flowers and seeds are sometimes also used in local medicine. 

Beauty leaf usually propagated by seeds or cuttings. It makes a good specimen for street, parking lot as a shade tree and is both wind and salt tolerant, making it especially useful for coastal locations. It becomes twisted and contorted when exposed to constant wind, creating an interesting specimen. Beauty leaf is sometimes used as a tall hedge or windbreak around tennis courts and similar places. It could be used more often as an urban street and garden tree.

The Black Palash

Sandan (Desmodium Oojeinensis/तिवस, तिनसा, काळा-पळस) is a medium sized deciduous tree. Though very beautiful, the tree is very much neglected in urban area. It bears numerous flowers which are pinkish-white in colour, borne in short racemes. The new leaves add more beauty to it. Leaves are trifoliate, with large, rigidly leathery leaflets.

Flowering of the tree is conspicuous and afford a beautiful sight, making Sandan a versatile ornamental tree. It attracts number of birds and bees. The flowers of the tree have significant similarities to that of Palash except for the size & colour. The leaves shape is also similar up to some extent. Only significant difference is the bark of Sandan is somewhat dark brown. Hence in Marathi, tree is known as Kala Palas which means 'black Palash'.

The tree does well in lowland alluvial soils as well as on dry exposed sites & eroded hills. It also occurs on red clay, black cotton and rocky soil. Young trees and seedlings need a moderate amount of shade, but once established they require full sunlight for best development. Although young trees are frost sensitive, mature trees are hardy and drought tolerant. Sandan coppices well and produces abundant root-suckers. This characteristic is particularly useful for controlling soil erosion along steep banks and eroded hillsides.

Sandan also has numerous uses. The wood is hard, tough, close-grained, elastic and durable. It is highly valued in India for making agricultural implements. It is also a specialty timber for marine plywood. A red, transparent, astringent gum is obtained from the trunk. Bark fibres are suitable for making rope. Sandan has a range of medicinal uses which include astringent, antipyretic, anti-dysenteric.

It is propagated by seeds & root cuttings. Seeds should be soaked in water for 24 hours before sowing. This facilitates germination.

The tree comes up readily in blanks in the forest, on hilly slopes, landslips and bare places. In addition, this species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby. This could make it a valuable pioneer agroforestry species!

The White Fig

White Fig (Ficus Virens/लघुपिंपरी, पायर, पाईर) is a moderate to large sized deciduous fig with a spreading canopy. It is a beautiful shade tree wirh dense green foliage. New leafs emerge in March with colors of purple, red & bronze, giving the tree a wonderful look, very pleasing to the eye. The color transformation goes on till April. The aerial roots commonly wrap around the main stem instead of forming props.

The leaves have similar texture as that of Peepal tree and have a whitish midrib. The stipules are short, measuring less than 1 cm. The pea-sized figs appear in pairs and greenish-white to brown in colour with spots.

It is interesting to now that figs have a unique form of fertilization, each species relying on a single, highly specialized species of wasp that is itself totally dependant upon that fig species in order to breed. The tree produces three types of flower; male, a long-styled female and a short-styled female flower, often called the gall flower. All three types of flower are contained within the structure we usually think of as the fruit.

The female fig wasp enters a fig and lays its eggs on the short styled female flowers while pollinating the long styled female flowers. Wingless male fig wasps emerge first, inseminate the emerging females and then bore exit tunnels out of the fig for the winged females. Females emerge, collect pollen from the male flowers and fly off in search of figs whose female flowers are receptive. In order to support a population of its pollinator, individuals of a Ficus species must flower asynchronously. A population must exceed a critical minimum size to ensure that at any time of the year at least some plants have overlap of emission and reception of fig wasps. Without this temporal overlap the short-lived pollinator wasps will go locally extinct.

This tree is a fig belonging to the group of trees known as Strangler figs, which often begins life as an epiphyte. The seeds are dispersed by birds which tend to germinate on other trees. They grow to strangle and eventually kill the host tree, thus establishing itself as a winner.

According to Ayurveda, the tree has several medicinal properties to its name. It is known to be useful in treating cough, bronchitis, fever, headache and cold. In folk medicine it is used as a diuretic, for rheumatism of joints and muscles for gout, for bladder and kidney diseases. A decoction of the bark is used in the treatment of leucorrhoea. The herb is used for stomach complaints with hyperacidity, prophylaxis and therapy of stomach ulcers and for diarrhoea in children.

White fig is a potential agroforestry species; or rather in some parts of India, it is being used as one. The leaves are used as animal feed. The tannin and dye obtained from the bark has been used in respective industries. The tree is harvested for local use as a medicine, food and source of latex. It is sometimes cultivated as shade tree in coffee plantations. The tree is occasionally used as host tree for lac insects. The fig gives shelter to many birds, insects and arboreal mammals. The leaves are eaten boiled as a vegetable in Northern Thai curries.

White fig is also grown as an ornamental and shade tree along avenues. This tree has become popular as an avenue tree in and around the cities of New Delhi and Noida. It is suitable for plantation in parks and large gardens.

The Tree with Stars!

From a distance, the flowers may appear like stars or snow flakes on a tree giving a beautiful appearance to the tree. This summer-bloomer is easy to spot either due to the flowers or its typical pods. Sweet Indrajao or Pala-Indigo (Wrightia Tinctoria/ काळा-कुडा, दुधी) is a small, deciduous tree with white, fragrant flowers. Due to its small size, the beauty & medicinal properties, the tree strongly needs to be introduced to urban areas.

When in bloom, it is one of the spectacular beauties to see. You just can't take your eyes off the tree. The fruits appear in pendulous pairs and coherent only at the tip. The hairy seeds are released as the fruit dehisces. 

It is a good agroforestry species as it inter-crop well. It can stand a wide range of soil types and is suitable for arid, semi-arid and moist regions, especially dry sandy sites or hillsides and valleys. The tree parts are known to be used as food in many regions. The flowers, leaves, fruits and seeds may be eaten as vegetables. The branches are trampled into the puddle soil in rice field for green manuring. Thus it acts as a soil improver. It coppices well & grows moderately fast. The leaves are lopped for livestock fodder.

The tree is known as Dudhi in India because of its preservative nature. Supposedly a few drops of its sap in milk prevent curdling and enhance its shelf life, without the need of refrigeration. The leaves yield a blue dye called Pala Indigo.

The pods contain floss or cotton-like substance, which is used for stuffing cushions. The liquid latex of tree can be used as a renewable source of hydrocarbons and intermediate energy resources. Latex is also a source of rubber. It is also useful in dyes & tanning industries.

In Indian traditional medicine, the bark and leaves are used to treat psoriasis, stomach pains and dysentery. The seeds are said to be aphrodisiac and anthelminthic. Seeds also yield deep red, semi-drying oil, which has medicinal value. 

So many uses and relatively very easy to propagate from seeds. Isn’t it a wonderful species?! A very important & attractive tree for city gardens and tree lovers!

The Blue Mist Tree

Ironwood tree or Anjani (Memecylon Umbellatum/अंजनी) is a small, evergreen tree with amazing bright blue flowers and with dense, dark green foliage. The tree is a predominant arboreal species in the dry evergreen and semi-deciduous tropical forests along the western and eastern coasts. It is also known as ‘Pride of Matheran’ as it is found in abundance at the famous hill station Matheran, in Maharashtra.

The flowers are mildly scented and are so beautiful that they look almost unreal. The tree produces showy clusters of tiny purple flowers, which are grouped in great quantity in axillary umbrellas, close together and compact, appear in the lower part of the branches having no leaves. The trees bloom once or twice a year and are then indeed a beautiful sight. As the flower petals are shed, the soil below appears purple in colour. May be that’s why the tree is also called Blue Mist tree. 

The fruits of Ironwood tree are small, about 1cm and are green, turning red then black as they ripen. The fruits are pulpy, astringent & edible and were consumed in the past during famine periods. The leaf edges look golden if held against light. All together flowers, fruits and leaves make it a wonderful play of colours. 

This tree is not only beautiful, but also useful. It provides hard timber used for making boats. Dyes employed in the textile factories are extracted from its leaves and flowers. Although the species is widespread in nature and is much appreciated by the local populations, it is relatively little known in urban localities. It is a tough species having a long tap-root system. It usually & easily reproduces by seeds and the growth is moderately fast. 

The tree had a long history of traditional uses for wide range of diseases. It has been proved that various parts of the plant were used in traditional systems of Ayurveda to treat various ailments. In recent years it has been experimentally proved that the plant possess analgesic, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, hypoglycemic, antimicrobial, anti-spasmodic, nephro-protective and hepato-protective activity. In Ayurveda, the leaves are used as a cooling astringent and are given in leucorrhoea & gonorrhea. The leaves are reported to possess antiviral activity and also used in snakebite. The seeds are used to cure cough and sedative. Anjani is one of the important medicinal plants used by Paliyan tribes in Sirumalai hills of Eastern Ghats of India, especially for skin diseases.

We should not underestimate its potentiality as Agroforestry species. The tree can be used as windbreaks at farms. Also it does not compete with adjacent plants for water due to the long tap-root. Without doubt, it is an ornamental plant having showy blooming which, almost entirely, covers the branches in the part bearing no leaves. The flowers and fruits are visited by bees, butterflies and birds; increasing its natural beauty beyond limits! 

The Mountain Tree

In Hindu mythology, it is believed that while traveling to Lanka, the tree sprouted from the drop of nectar that fell from the bodies of the God Rama’s monkeys, which were restored to life by Indra, the supreme king of the Hindu gods. Hence the name Indrajao or Indrajav. Though a well known species in ancient literature of Ayurveda; it is a beautiful and impressive species in first place. Indrajao or Kurchi tree (Holarrhena Pubescens/इंद्रजव, कुटज, पांढरा कुडा) is a deciduous, small tree. 

The flowers are aromatic & bright white which turn creamish yellow as they age; with oblong five petals rounded at the tip. White flowers appear in corymbose cymes at the end of branches. Profuse flowering can be seen from April to July. Fruits are paired, dehiscing follicles hanging from the stalk. 

The flower of Indrajao reminds one of an introduced genus Plumeria, commonly known as Frangipani. But similar appearance can not guarantee the virtues. An introduced species is introduced after all. How can it compete or even match the goodness of native Indrajao..?!

Widely known in Ayurveda by the name Kutaja; its numerous healing properties has been mentioned in the Vedas. It has been used to treat several gastro-intestinal diseases for hundreds of years and is still used by several Indian tribes to cure ailments like epilepsy, anemia, skin infections and cholera, apart from digestive problems. It is a one of the best drug for Amoebic Dysentery or Diarrhoea. The tree is also useful in Rheumatic Arthritis & Osteoarthritis. Indrajao also possesses potent immuno-stimulant property. Its scented white flowers improve appetite and its seeds act as a cooling agent. The tree is propagates with seeds. The seeds should be soaked in cold water for 24 hours and then sown. This will increase the germination rate.

In Sanskrit, 'Kuta' means mountain. The tree which grows in mountain region is Kutaja. Thus, it can grow in tough conditions and grows moderately fast. It tolerates variety of soils, and can grow even in degraded land. It is believed to improve the soil where it grows. Shade retards its growth but it can tolerate full sun. As an effective screen or as a taller hedge, this species can be planted in a continuous row. It does well in tough sites even with little watering and it requires almost no maintenance. Indrajao with its short stem, many branches and little broad crown converts the corner of a residential area into a pictorial patch. Its bright white mildly fragrant flowers add grace to the garden. The tree performs well in the urban environment.

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!! :) 

The Crape Flower

Small Flowered Crape Myrtle or simply, Crape Flower (Lagerstroemia Parviflora/लेंदीया, बोंडारा) is a  moderate-sized deciduous tree which is a very common tree both in the moist and dry deciduous forest in many parts of India. Just like Queen's Crape Myrtle, it is a beautiful tree that you can not ignore when flowering.

In April-June, the tree flowers profusely with small white flowers which are borne in 2-6 flowers clusters in leaf axils and at the end of branches. Flowers are mildly fragrant and attract loads of bees, insects and butterflies. You may also spot various birds and fly-catchers hunting on these insects when flowering is at its peak.

Fruit is oval and is surrounded by a persistent sepal-cup at base. The fruit dehisces dispersing the winged seeds. It is propagated by seeds. For seed collection, you may have to visit the tree when the fruits are mature but not dehisced; or else you may not find the seeds. 

Till now this plant is used in India for the treatment of different diseases. The Santals of Chotanagpur region of India uses the leaves of this plant for treatment of infection and chronic sores. The plant finds wide applications by the tribal women in overcoming lactation problems. Traditional folklore opined that the whole plant can be used for treatment of strangulation of intestine and syphilis. Cough, fever, asthma and bronchitis can also be effectively well controlled by this plant. Leaf decoction cures fever while extracts derived from flowers cures chronic dysentery and abdominal pain. The tree is known to possess anti-inflammatory, antipyretic & antitussive properties. 
Crape Myrtle is a light demander and drought resistant species. Though the seedlings are killed by severe frosts, but older trees and coppice shoots are frost-resistant. It grows on a variety of soils, but does not thrive on waterlogged soils. It recovers well after fire. The tree coppices and pollards well, regrowing vigorously. The tree yields a useful timber called Ben-teak. A sweet flavored edible gum is obtained from the tree.

Though Crape Myrtle is rarely sighted in urban and sub-urb area, it could become a perfect garden tree in cities. First of all, it is a slow growing tree. Plus, you can keep it small by prunning. It won’t utilize much of your residential or commercial space. The leaves are not palatable to cattle and hence are not browsed by cattle. And last but not least, it flaunts white, fragrant flowers in dense showy masses…A unique species having all-in-one qualities of an urban species. 

Waras..The One who takes Care!

Waras (Heterophragma Quadriloculare/वारस) is an important native species of India. A large deciduous tree which is noticeably attractive when in bloom.

Its flowers occur in terminal panicles, which are densely velvet covered. They are rose-tinged white in colour and fragrant. Flowering occurs during the beginning of the hot season. The flowers have a characteristic pleasant smell which attracts bees & insects. The tree is exclusively pollinated at night by large Carpenter bees. Being highly mobile, these bees cover long distances in the search of the tree.

Leaves are compound, pinnate & crowded near the end of branches, giving dense shade. Waras harbor numbers of insects and birds. Due to its height and dense leaves, numerous birds prefer this tree as nesting sight. Hence bird-lovers prefer this tree!

Being attractive, large and dense foliage, the tree once used to be commonly planted along highways with Banyan, Peepal, Neem etc. Guess our forefathers were more intellectual than us as they preferred the indigenous species along highways. This way, travelers could enjoy the traveling and could use the shade for rest. Hence this tree is highly recommended for plantation along highways. The tree is propagated by seeds.

It is interesting to note that generally, deciduous trees shade leaves in summer. But Waras shade its leaves somewhat in Rainy season and is laden with leaves during summer; giving dense shade when it needs the most.

Waras provide green mulch, needed for reclamation of eroded lands. It also prevents soil erosion. Leaves can be used as fodder. The tree is believed to be used for treating skin diseases. It is also supposed to possess antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Waras is a Marathi word which also means ‘belongs to’ or ‘the one who takes care’. Waras literally takes care not only of birds , bees, insects & humans, but of our environment also. May be that’s why the tree has no name in english; for there is no single word in english describing the tree..! ;-) 

The Deer's Horn

Indian Screw tree (Helicteres Isora/मुरुडशेंग, केवण) is a small deciduous tree having serrated leaves & uniquely beautiful, nectary flowers in sparse clusters. Due to small size and attractive flowers, the tree is suitable for plantation in cities.

Flowers are bright orange-red or crimson coloured when young and turn purplish before fruiting. The colour changing patterns of flowers make the tree attractive & very delightful to watch. The unique, twisted, screw like shape of the fruit is what lends most of it names like Screw tree, Maror Phali, Deer's Horn.

It flowers during July to September. They are pollinated mainly by sunbirds & Flower Peckers. The caterpillars of Common Sailer and Golden Angle feed on this plant. It is also visited by many other butterflies and insects like ants, bees, sawflies, wasps etc. Hence the presence of this impressive tree in your neighborhood will attract not only your neighbor's attention, but also different birds and insects. 

Indian Screw tree possesses an impressive range of nutritional and medicinal properties. Medicinally, it is a rich source of nutrients and antioxidants of therapeutic importance. Investigations have indicated that the plant has antioxidant, anticancer, anti-diabetic and antimicrobial properties. The fruits are used in treating intestinal complaints, colic pains and flatulence. Roots are known to be useful in diabetes, diarrhea, dysentery & convulsions. The roots & stem barks are considered to be expectorant, demulcent, astringent; and are used in scabies, biliousness. Fried pods are advised to kill intestinal worms. 

The tree is hardy and can tolerate degraded soils. It also withstands dry periods. It easily propagates from seeds. The bark is the source of a strong fibre. It is used as cordage for making cots, tying cattle and ploughs. It is also good for making ropes and clothing.

Basically, Indian Screw tree is a wonderful tree having so many virtues to its name. It is a must species to have for any Nature lover!

The Yellow Teak

Haldu (Haldina Cordifolia/हळदू, हेदू, गिरीकदंब) is a deciduous tall tree with a large crown and is the sole species in the genus Haldina. The tree has long, straight, clean bole and is often buttressed & fluted at the base. The buttresses are sometimes of irregular and fantastic shapes. When growing in more isolated positions it produces a thick bole and massive branches with a large spreading crown.

Leaves are opposite, broadly ovate, heart shaped glossy green in colour. Flowers are tiny, yellow, in globose pedunculate heads and fragrant with protruding stigmas. The new leaves give a magnificent look, followed by creamy yellow flowers. The tree attracts lots of bees and insects and subsequently birds. The grey or light-black bark is startling yellow when freshly cut but turns pale red-brown on exposure. Hence the name Turmeric wood or Yellow teak. 

Haldu has a striking similarity with Kaim (Mitragyna Parvifolia/कळम) as the flowers and leaves appears almost same. But the leaves of Haldu are nearly circular, heart-shaped at base and with a pointy tip. Also there is difference in the stigma of flowers, if closely admired!

Natural regeneration of this species is difficult as the tiny seeds as well as young seedlings in forests are easily washed away. The proportion of seedlings which survive and establish themselves in forests is relatively very small. Further available trees are cut due to demand for its wood, which is reported to be acid-resistant, making it suitable for use as laboratory bench tops etc. 

Haldu is propagated by seeds. Seed is very small and so should only just be covered with soil. The seed is best sown in a seed-box that is placed in light shade and protected from heavy rain. It should be watered carefully with a very fine spray. Germination ordinarily takes place in about 20 - 40 days. Young seedlings grow very slowly in their first year and are very susceptible to being washed away or beaten down with rain at this time. Plants develop a thin but long tap root in their first year, this thickens and develops considerably in the second year. Growth is faster in the second year and onward.

Young trees prefer a position in light to moderate shade, but become more light demanding as they grow older. It succeeds in most of the soils but well-drained soil, growing best in deep, fairly fertile conditions. For instance, on lower slopes of hills among boulders. Usually growing along rivers or transitional areas between swampy wetlands and dry loamy areas, which are flooded for short periods. The tree has a massive tap-root system in proportion to its size, which makes it very resistant to drought. The tree can tolerate temperatures within the range of 5°- 47°C. 

The Yellow Teak is also harvested for local medicinal use. It pacifies vitiated pitta and known to be useful in inflammation, urinary retention, wounds and ulcers, skin diseases, biliary colic, infection, dysentery, fever and burning sensation.

Haldu is often planted as ornamental, avenue tree and even for its shade. But the tree is potentially great agroforestry species too! The tree produces fuel wood and fodder for livestock. It can be coppiced within limits. It provides good amount of green manure. It yields a yellow dye, which was used for dyeing wool and linen. In some parts of India, the tree has a religious significance in Hindu marriage rituals.

Our Ecosystems : Trees!

Gifting Trees... turns three today. So fast time flies! When we look back at our journey with trees and with all you readers, it bring us immense joy that more & more tree-lovers are not only asking about native trees, but also trying to plant a few. We would like thank all of them for their love and support!

Few readers also asked us whether we do it for money or as a business. We are sorry for disappointing them as our prime motto is to spread awareness about Native trees & Green Living; and not to earn money! :)

I, personally, am really sorry for not writing any post in last few months. I was busy in my professional work. Also I just don't want to repeat the similar facts/things which are published in previous posts. Instead, I would like to have some reciprocation from you guys if you want to know anything more. May it be any native tree or anything else related to Mother Nature. Like, one of the readers asked me about 'How bad is Plastic?' There definitely will be a post in upcoming time, throwing some light on this very subject. Few readers also suggested to have more articles on native trees. "Sure..!" :)

In last year, We have planted 15 native saplings and saved a Acacia & a Jujube tree from felling. How many trees have you..? Let there be few native trees dedicated to your loved ones..! Because these trees silently teach us many important lessons. Have a heart like trees and learn how to be grateful to the ones who have ever helped you.

Trees love us selflessly, they grow, fight against adversities and dedicate their whole life serving us. But instead of expressing our gratitude, we cut them down insensibly.

They are one of the greatest resources of the Mother Earth and the most gracious & faithful company. They offer shelter, delicious foods and beautiful life, give us fresh strength by purifying air and teach us wise lessons to live a happy and motivated life. They serve humanity in every possible way only to return our single help of seeding them. Today, we have distinct sympathy with nature...we no more feel their pain when we tear their leaves, no more hear the scream when we chop them down, no more hear the part of their joy when its raining; which leads us to accomplish the most shameful acts such as deforestation and our own destruction.

If you love trees, show it and act likewise! Just remember these line by an unknown author... “We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved..!”