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Alkushi or Cowitch, Mucana pruriens

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Alkushi or Cowitch ( Mucana pruriens , family: Fabaceae) is an annual or sometimes perennial twinning vine. It is one of the best itch-producing fruits in the world. The leafy and hairy plant is found beside the roads, in village thickets and in the deep hilly forests of Bangladesh. It is also found in some countries of South and Southeast Asia.  Other names:  Bilai chimti, Koch, Bichuti. Leaves are tri-foliate, grey-silky beneath, leaflets ovate or almost quadrangular, 8-17 cm long, petioled. Leaf-nerves are unequal-sided.  6-30 flowers flowers are in raceme inflorescence, pendulous, 15-30 cm long, tube campanulate, corolla usually deep purple, also be white or pink, 3-4 cm long. Flowering occurs in October-November. Fruit is S-shaped pod that covered with numerous irritating or stinging hairs, grey in color, 5-8 cm long and 1.5 cm wide. Seeds 5-6,  grey in color. Fruit matures in November-February. Its fruits, seeds, roots have been widely used in Ayurvedic treatment for ages. Root

Kanchon or Orchid tree, Bauhinia variegata

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Rokto kanchon or Orchid tree ( Bauhinia variegata , family: Caesalpiniaceae) is a small or medium-sized deciduous tree with numerous and scattered branches. Trunk is short. Bark is rough, grey-colored. As an ornamental plant it is found in parks, gardens, botanical gardens in Bangladesh. The home of the beautiful flowering plant is South and Southeast Asia.  Other names: Rokto kanchon, Lal kanchon. It can be easily identified by looking at its leaves. Suddenly it looks like a pair of wings of butterfly. These are green, ovate, parltly bilobed, shiny, 8-12 cm long, apex emerginate, 11-15 veins, long-petioled. Flowers are magenta with reddish tone, edge slightly white, sweet-scented, 5-6 cm wide, borne on inflorescence. Petals 5, sepals 5; stamens 5, uneven.  It is an iconic flower of spring of Indian subcontinent, especially in Greater Bangla. It blooms during February-April. Its white flowers are also seen in Bangladesh, and of the same species.  Fruit is a pod, dehiscent, 15-26 cm

Naglingom or Canon ball tree, Couroupita guianensis

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Naglingom or Canon ball tree ( Couroupita guianensis , family: Lecythidaceae) is a soft-wooded lagre deciduous tree, attaining a height of about 25 m. Trunk is stout and rough, brownish grey. The tree has a habit of shedding its leaves all on a sudden and it does the act several times a year.  As an ornamental tree it is planted in parks, gardens, botanical gardens and by avenue. Its original home is South America. Leaves are alternate, oblong-ovate, 20-25 cm long, short-petioled, alternate. The new leaves are light green and eye-catching. The mature leaves are dark green. Flowers are yellow-pink or red with whitish stamens which which are curved like the hood of a snake, strongly scented, about 5 cm long and 8 cm wide, on woody, pendulous racemes, 50-0 cm long, springing from old trunk.  Petals 6, outside brown-orange and inside maroon. It blooms mainly in summer but flowers can be seen throughout the year.  Fruit is big and round, almost 15 cm wide, many seeded. It shaped like ammu

Raj oshok or Pride of Burma, Amherstia nobilis

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Raj oshok or Pride of Burma ( Amherstia nobilis , family: Caesalpiniaceae) is an evergreen medium-sized tree with branches, attaining a height of 10-15 m. The slow-growing tree looks like its family member Ashoka . The plant is originated in Myanmar. It is found in the Hill Tracts of Chottogram in Bangladesh as well as some countries of Southeast Asia. It is grown in gardens, parks, botanical gardens and along roadsides for its extraordinary shape of flowers.  Common names: Queen of flowers, Queen of flowering trees, Burma flower, Amherstia, Shokrey.  Leaves are compound, rachis 30-45 cm long. Leaflet is lanceolate, 10-15 cm long. Young leaves with various beautiful shades of pink, copper, mauve or purple hanging loosely from the end of branches, turn bright green on becoming firm.  The hanging inflorescence is spectacular, quite long, 50-75 cm. The flower at the base of the inflorescence blooms first, then the later ones gradually. Flower is bright red-yellow, sepals 5, petals 5. T

Boro shialmuti or Siam weed, Chromolaena odorata

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Boro shialmuti  or Siam weed ( Chromolaena odorata, family: Asteraceae) is a fast growing and highly reproductive perennial herb with many branches. In suitable condition, it can grow up to 10 m. Branches are hairy and glandular, stem woody. It grows in fallow land, in jungle and on the side of roads. It is regarded as an invasive plant round the globe. It has been said that, in Bangladesh, it escaped from the botanical gardens of Dhaka in the 19th centuary. It is originated in Americas, from USA to South America.  Leaves are green, triangular-ovate, 3-10 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, deeply dented with pointed end, opposite. The leaves give off a pungent scent when crushed. Bunch of flowers bloom in the shape of head. Flowers are small and light violet.   Fruits are round. Seeds are achenes, hairy. Propagation of the plant is caused by seeds. The seeds usually float in the air and travel long distances. However, it can go to different places through the body of  animals and human. Its leave

Kochu or Taro, Colocasia esculenta

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Kochu or Taro ( Colocasia esculenta , family: Araceae) is a perennial aquatic herb with stolon and rhizome, attaining a height of 1.5 m. It is found by water or standing in water. The fast-growing plant is found almost everywhere in Bangladesh. Although it is originated mainly in Southeast Asia, it has gradually become naturalized in the tropical world. It is one the oldest cultivated crops in Asia. The whole part of the plant, like leaf, stem, petiole, rhizome, stolon--everything can be eaten as vegetable. Other names: Mukhi kochu, Gura kochu, Kuri kochu, Chhora kochu, Duli kochu, Binni kochu. Leaves are showy, large, green, glabrous, triangular-ovate, 30-40 cm long and 20-26 cm wide. Petiole is thick and juicy and it can be almost equal to the height of the plant. New leaves grow from the rhizome. Neumerous small flowers are clustered on spadix inflorescence, covered with giant bract leaf, spathe; the spadix is three-fifths of the spathe. In initial stage the inflorescence is full

Ulu or Cogon grass, Imperata cylindrica

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Ulu or Cogon grass ( Imperata cylindrica , family: Poaceae) is a beautiful perennial grass with cylindrical and solid stem and creeping rhizomes, attaining a height of 1 m. The herb is one of the most beautiful flowering plants of Bangladesh. The water-loving grass is found all over Bangladesh. Its original home is Indian subcontinent.   Other names: Ulu-ghash, Ulu-khor, Lalong, Shon, Chhon, Chhau, Sarkanda. Leaves are green, rough, linear-lanceolate, 20-50 cm long with pointed apex.  Flowers are pure white, silky, on spike inflorescence. Although the initial color of the flower is purple-white, it gradually changes to shiny white. It blooms from rainy season to autumn.  Fruits are caryopsis, winged. Fruits and flowers can be seen at a time on different plants. It is propagated by rhizomes and seeds.  When they bloom over a large area, a truly eye-catching scene unfolds. Only Kaash (Saccharum spontaneum) can be compared to its blossoming. It is used in diabetes and gonorrhoea. It is

Isshormul or Indian Birthwort, Aristolochia indica

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Isshormul or Indian Birthwort ( Aristolochia indica , family: Aristolochiaceae) is a perennial woody climber, rising from woody rootstock. Its twinning branches are soft with soft hair. In fallow land, road-side, canal-side and bushes, the plant can be seen climbing up by twisting each other's branches or leaning on something. It is found in Dhaka, Moymonsingho, Rajshahi and in Sundorbon in Bangladesh. The original home of the plant is the Indian subcontinent.  Other names:  Issher mul, Issher muli, Isher mul; Rudro-jota, Isshori, Roudri, Shugondha, Rudro-lota, Potro-bolli (Sanskrit). Leaves are fiddle-shaped, lanceolate, grooved, 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm wide, apex curved and pointed.  Flowers are greenish white, tubular, deep throated, borne on axillary racemes. The mouth of the flower is quite enlarged to attract insects perhaps. Fruit is about 2.5 cm long with flat, winged and triangular seeds. Flowering time is June to October. The plant is propagated by seeds.  Root and leave

Turut chondal or Telegraph plant, Desmodium motorium

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Turut chondal or Telegraph plant ( Desmodium motorium , family: Fabaceae) is a shrub with branches and attractive leaves, attaining a height of 2 m. It naturally grows in different districts Bangladesh. It is also found in the countries of South and Southeast Asia. Like Lojjaboti (Touch me not), the leaves of the plant can move and that can be seen with the naked eye. Renowned Bengali scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose proved by experimenting on this plant that the plant also has life. Seeing the movement of the leaves, he may have become interested in this research. Common names : Turuchondal, Turichondal, Bonchondal, Gorachan. Leaves are pale green, sometimes trifoliate with white shade along the midrib; Treminal leaflet is much longer and thicker than other two, 5-7 cm long and 2-2.5 cm wide. The most notable feature of the plant is that its tiny leaves of each pinna can move. This may be to get more sunlight. Flowers are pale orange. Thesee bloom in spring (Feb-Mar).  Fruit is a po

Gima-shak or Pot-biroot, Glinus oppositifolius

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Gima-shak or Pot-biroot ( Glinus oppositifolius , family: Molluginaceae) is an annual herb with diffiuse branches and taproot. Stems can be 3 to 40 cm long. Young shoots and branches are silky and sometimes reddish. It is found in waterside area, cropfield, fallow land and damp places in Bangladesh. It occasionally grows on old walls. It is found in the tropical Asia, Africa and in Australia too.  Leaves are 1-2.5 cm long, elliptic-oblanceolate, petioled, opposite. Flowers are tiny, white in color, showy, 0.4 cm long, petals 5, stamens 5-10. The flower buds are reddish. Fruits are ellipsoid, reddish or brownish, 4-5 mm, 3-valved; seeds numerous. The plant is propagated by sedds.  It can be planted as an ornamenal plant in tub or pot. It is eaten as vegetables in Bangladesh. It is used in constipation, indigestion, itching? and various kinds of skin diseases. By the by, like many other herbs the color of the whole plant is occasionally reddish.