Shitolpati or Murta, schumannianthus dichotomus

Shitolpati or Murta (schumannianthus dichotomus, family: marantaceae) is an evergreen and erect water-friendly shrub with clump-forming rhizome. Stem is green, smooth and slender, forked at the end. The plant is up to 5 m high. The plant is found in the plain land of some districts of Bangladesh as well as Sylhet and Chittagong area. It is also found in the Indian subcontinent and tropical or subtropical Southeast Asia.
Other Bangla names: Mostak, patibet, patipata, Muktopati
Shitolpati, a gorgeous bed mat is made from the soft bark of this plant. The artistic product has recently been listed in UNESCO World Heritage List. 

Leaves at the top of the long stem. Those are entire, shinny, coriacious, elliptic-oblong, acute at the end, alternate, 15-20 cm long and 5-8 cm wide.

Flowering occurs in winter to spring. Flowers are conspicuous, white, slender, 4-5 cm long, 2-stored, lower lips are bigger. Fruits are multi-angled, dehiscent.

Propagation is by division of rhyzome.

It is cultivated …

Maloncho or Alligator weed, alternanthera philoxeroides

Maloncho or Alligator weed (alternanthera philoxeroides, amaranthaceae) is an aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial herb rooting at nodes. Stem is juicy, slender and hollow. So the plant can easily float on the water. 

Though the floating plant is found everywhere in Bangladesh, surprisingly it is native to Brazil. In the far past it has been introduced to the subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

Flowers are very small, white, on head inflorescence, petals 5. Peduncle is very long. 

Leaves are green, slightly serrated, linear, elliptic-lanceolate, 3-8 cm long, opposite, acute at the end. Fruit an utricle, ovoid-orbicular or obcordate. Seed is inverse, lenticular, single-seeded. Flowering occurs in the rainy season.

Propagation is caused by cutting or seeds. It grows in damp places, near pond and canal etc. Leaves are eaten as vegetables.

It is energizing, emollient and reputed to induce sleep. It can be found in shallow and stagnant water in beel-jheel, ditches and ponds. The another Bangla na…

Shomudro joba or Sea hibiscus, talipariti tiliaceum

Shomudro joba or Sea hibiscus (talipariti tiliaceum, malvaceae) is a small bushy tree with many branches and nice curved canopy, attaining a height of  12-13 m. Trunk is grey with many reddish spots. Its roots do not go deep into the soil. 

It is found in the coastal regions of Bangladesh. The evergreen plant is also found throughout the tropical and subtropical sea beaches of the world. It is salt-tolerant and can grow in water logging condition and on coral sands.

Other names : Bhola, Bela, Bola, Chhelba (Bangla), Beach hibiscus (Eng.)
Leaves are cordate with long petiole (up to 10 cm long); soft green in color, whitish green, tomentose below, alternate, coriacious, slightly dented, apex pointed, 8-15 cm long and 8-14 cm wide.

Flowers are large, bisexual, 4-6 cm wide, eye-catching, beautiful, almost like Porosh pipul (thespesia populnea). They are solitary, axillary or terminal, funnel-shaped, yellow with blackish mark at the centre. 

It blooms in the morning but in the afternoon, i…

Korpur or Camphor, Cinnamomum camphora

Korpur or Camphor (cinnamomum camphora, family: ‎lauraceae) is an evergreen small or medium-sized aromatic tree from cinnamomum family, up to 10 to 15 m high with profuse branches. Trunk is short. Its bark is blackish and rough. Camphor, which is volatile and has a strong aroma, extracted from its bark and wood. 

Its original home is China, Japan and Malay. In Bangladesh it is found in Sylhet area. As an ornamental tree, it is also found in the parks and botanical gardens in the country. 

Leaves are small, elliptic-ovate, entire, veins and midrib are very clear; glabrous, alternate, bearing scent of camphor.

Flowers are brownish white, borne on axillary inflorescence. Female flowers are the bigger than males. Petals 6, arranged in two rows. 

Flower buds with the young shoots are derived from a kind of mound, which is unusual to floral kingdom. Flower blooms in February-March.

Fruit is a berry. The plant is propagated by seeds and air layering.

4-5 kg camphor can be aggregated from a tr…

Bel or Wood apple, aegle marmelos

Bel or Wood apple (aegle marmelos, rutaceae) is a spiny deciduous tree with many branches, attaining a height of 10-12 m. Bark is grey, soft. The tree has been regarded as sacred plant to Hindu community. The medium-sized tree is a very popular homestead tree. 

It has been planted in Hindu temples in the subcontinent for thousand of years. The leafy tree can be planted by roads and highways and in park and gardens as an ornamental plant. 

Leaves are tri-foliate, wild-scented, alternate, green. There are hard thorns at the bottom of leaves. Leaves fall off in summer. Leaflet is lanceolate, 8-10 cm long and 4-6 cm wide.

Flowers are white with greenish touch, bisexual, sweet-scented. Petals 4, fleshy, calyx shortened, stamens numerous. Flowers bloom in March-May. 

Fruits are round, big, woody, edible, sweet-scented. The fruit matures for almost 8 months after the flowering occurs. Propagation is by seeds.

It has a valuable medicinal use. The fruit is nutritious and stomachic. Leaves are e…

Bokphul or Vegetable hummingbird, sesbania grandiflora

Bokphul or Vegetable hummingbird (sesbania grandiflora, family: fabaceae) is a small soft-wooded tree with spreading branches, attaining a height of 10 m. Trunk is straight and tall, brownish and smooth. It is found in Madhupur forest of the country. The deciduous tree is grown in homestead and in parks and gardens for its outstanding eye-catching flowers. The tree itself  is a beautiful one.

Leaves are paripinnate, 10-25 pairs of leaflets perpinnae. Leaflets are small, linear, light green, 2-4 cm long. Inflorescence is short axillary raceme.

Flowers are red, white or light pink, ending portion is curved, like Heron's beak. It blooms profusely from September to November but found almost throughout the year in limited range.

Fruit is linear pod with 30 seeds; almost a metre long, dehiscent. The plant is propagated by seeds.

The whole plant is used as medicine. Bark is used as tonic and to prevent chicken pox. Root is used in rheumatism and gonorrhoea. Leaves can be consumed as vege…

Ramjani or Wild berry, maesa indica

Ramjani or Wild berry (maesa indica, family: primulaceae) is a large and much-branched shrub or small tree, attaining a height about 2 m. Wood is soft, brown in color. The wild flowering species grows on fallow land as well as the deep forest of Chittagong Hill Tracts and Sylhet. 

Leaves are simple, light green, alternate, elliptic-lanceolate, 6-17 cm long and 3-6 cm wide, deeply serrated, apex pointed, base rounded.

Flowers are small, campanulate, scented, white but single tiny yellow mark on each petal, borne on raceme inflorescence. Flowers occur in the January-March. 

Fruits are small, round, yellow in color, fleshy with several seeds. Fruiting begins from March. Propagation of the plant is caused by seeds. 

Wood is used as fuel. Fruit and bark are used in fish-poison. Leaves are used in cooking somewhere.