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Chandmala or Water snowflake, nymphoides indica

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Chandmala or Water snowflake (nymphoides indica, family: menyanthaceae) is a fast growing floating aquatic plant. The root of the plant arises from the clay. This mother-plant expands through the roots that grow from stem-nodes. And by this the floating plant can make its length up to 3 meters. They seem to be a colony from a distance. In the colonies, when they begin to bloom, they look like stars. In Bangla, the plant is called Chandmala or Chondromala (group of stars) for this reason.

Heart-shaped floating leaves are simple, shinny green, wavy-edged, 3-10 cm wide; petioled, almost 4 cm long. Flowers are small, white in color with yellow mark at the centre. Petals are quite exceptional, 5-7, with fringe. Flower blooms in rainy season to late outumn. They are short-lived. They can survive only a day. Fruit is globose with many bright yellow seeds. The propagation of the plant is caused by seeds.

It is found in shallow and waterlogged area, like pond, canal, lake, beel, jheel along wi…

Roshundi-lota or Garlic vine, mansoa alliacea

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Roshundi-lota or Garlic vine (mansoa alliacea, family: bignoniaceae) is an evergreen extensive and bushy climber with dense foliage. It is recommended as a beautiful ornamental climber in the country. The climber has come from tropical America 

Leaves are opposite, bipinnate or tripinnate. Leaflets are elliptic, 4-8 cm long, leathery, pointed at the end, producing an odour of garlic. The Bangla and English name have got this type of name due to the peculiar smell of leaves. Terminal leaflet is often modified into tendril. 

Flowers are mauve in color, funnel-shaped with five expanded round lobes. Lower parts of the flower (tube) is creamy white. It blooms in large panicles in autumn-spring (Oct-Feb) and a few minor flushes in the summer (April-May) months in Bangladesh. 

The plant is propagated by cuttings. Saplings also grow from the roots. This dazzling flowering climber is called Lota-parul in Bangla due to match with very controversial Parul tree (stereospermum chelonoides). However…

Shupari, Betel nut or Areca nut, aareca catechu

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Shupari, Betel nut or Areca nut (areca catechu, family: arecaceae) is an evergreen palm tree attaining a height of 45 m. It is one of the major cash crops in Bangladesh. It is cultivated extensively in the coastal areas of the country. 

In Indian subcontinent, its fruit is eaten with the Betel leaf as daily food. It is found in almost every home in the village area. Like any other palm tree, it is also quite a beautiful one. The tree is planted with rows as a decorative tree in gardens and parks. The tree can survive for almost 50 years.

There are many gray-colored rings in its green trunk. Its leaves are closely packed together at the top of the tree like all other palms. There are 70-80 leaves in every pinnae. The leaves fall within a year.

Flowers are produced in the spadix-like particle. Numerous brown and sweet-scented flowers are gathered in this type of inflorescence. Immature fruits are of green color. Ripe fruits are yellow, orange or red. Fruit is oval-shaped, about 5-6 cm i…

Kew, Crepe ginger, cheilocostus speciosus

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Kew or Crepe ginger (cheilocostus speciosus, family: zingiberaceae) is a rhizomatous annual or perennial shrub, attaining a height of 2 to 4 m, with clump-forming stems. It is found almost everywhere in Bangladesh. It usually grows well in damp places. The plant itself a beautiful one. The gardeners of the country cultivate this plant for its clean white large flowers.

Leaves are stalkless, downy, entire, big in size (18-24 cm), leathery, ovate-elliptical, about 10-20 cm long.

Flowers are short-lived, very showy, trumpet-shaped, pure white in color, and have round yellow mark in the centre. Each flower is half-covered by brilliant red bract. The flowers begin to blossom at the end of the monsoon. 

Fruit is a capsule. Mature or dry fruits are brown or reddish. Propagation of the good-looking plant is caused by seed or division of rhizomes. 

Stem is used in heart disease, leprosy, rheumatism and fever. Its root is used to boost energy and sexual power. Root is also used to eliminate wor…

Daruhoridra, Narrow-leaf morinda, morinda angustifolia

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Daruhoridra or Narrow-leaf morinda (morinda angustifolia, family: rubiaceae) is a shrub or small tree with soft branches attaining a height of 2 to 6 m. The evergreen plant is mostly found in the Shal forests, the Sundarbans and in coastal areas. It is also planted in the garden and parks.  Indian subcontinent and China are its original home.

Leaves are dark green, lanceolate, dented, 10-30 cm long and 4-5 cm wide, tip pointed.

Flowers are showy, pure white, scented, tubular in the lower part, clustered on head inflorescence. Sepals 5, petals 5. flowering occurs throughout the year.

Fruits are very peculiar, composite. Each fruit seems to have one eye! The fruits become purplish when ripe. Propagation of the plant is caused by cutting and seed. 

The plant has medicinal quality and used in asthma, common cold, vomiting and dysentery. It is also used to cure wound and regain energy. Bark and root are used in urinal problems. A kind of yellow color is made from its roots and used to dye…

Kukurchita, litsea glutinosa

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Kukurchita (litsea glutinosa, family: lauraceae) is a medium-sized evergreen tree with branches attaining a height of 7-8 m. Bark is grey and shiny. The whole tree is filled with wild smell. 
The tree grows here and there in Bangladesh. As a traditional medicinal plant, its leaves are used to make nutritious drinks, which relieve stomach-ache. It is also energetic and can cure many womanly diseases. 

Leaves are 7-20 cm long, slightly hairy, ovate, dark green in color. If crushed sticky leaves emit a kind of aroma. 

Small yellowish flowers bloom in clusters on the axil of leaves. Flower has many stamens, it looks like the earring of women. Flower blooms in summer (May-June). Fruits are round in shape. The ripe fruit is purplish black in color. Propagation is caused by seeds. Village children frequently use these fruits as the bullet of toy gun. 

Other local names: Menda, Pisla menda, Kajlipata, Fotekka, Roton, Kharjura, Karjuki.

Shornolota or Dodder, cuscuta reflexa

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Shornolota or Dodder (cuscuta reflexa, family: cuscutaceae) is a golden-colored slender parasitic creeper grown on other trees. It clasps like cobweb, sometimes killing its shelter tree. It has branches. Many people think that it is a leafless plant. But it has leaves, those are scale-like, alternately grow from stem. The plant is well-mentioned in the Bengali literature, specially in medieval Baul poems. 

Flowers are small, white and thickly clustered, petals 5. Corolla lobe is short and triangular. flowering period is April-December. Fruit is round capsule.  

The juicy stem produces haustorium (a kind of tiny root) that help it to hold the host plant tightly. And with that kind of help sometimes the creeper covers its host plant completely. 

Its seeds can be germinated almost throughout the year. The propagation of the perennial plant is caused by seeds and cuttings. 
In Indian subcontinent, it has been used as a traditional medicinal plant for thousands of years. Stem and seed are…