Ashok (Saraca asoca, family: Caesalpiniaceae) is one of the most beautiful flowering trees in Bangladesh. The tree is widely distributed in the hilly area of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Malaya area. It gives fragrant flower profusely in the months of February-May, though it may be found round the year. This is as an avenue & garden tree in Bangladesh. It grows well in partial shade and rich porous soil.
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It is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree with dark brown, rough bark and spreading, drooping branches. Leaves are compound, leaflets alternate, 3-5 pairs, oblong-lanceolate, glabrous, coriaceous, petiolate, 15-39 cm long. 3-7 cm wide.
The tree is regarded as a sacred one to the buddhist community of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, & Nepal. Emperor Ashoka was born under the tree. The plant has many folkloric, religious and literary associations in the region.
Flowers are bright orange-yellow or reddish yellow in paniculate corymbs on old wood, rarely axillary; petals 4, sepals 5, stamen long.
The Sanskrit word Ashoka means being without sorrow.
Pods are linear-oblong, flat, glabrous, coriaceous, veined. Seeds are ellipsoid-oblong, slightly compressed, brown, smooth, glabrous. Fruits matures in August-September. Though flowers and fruits can be seen together in some trees in summer. Propagation of the plant is caused by seeds.
In Indian subcontinent saraca asoca has been used as a medicinal plant from thousands of years. The bark, flower s and fruits are prescribed for the treatment of snakebite and scorpion sting. The bark is bitter, acrid, refrigerant, astringent, alexiteric, anthelmintic, demulcent, cures dyspepsia, burning sensation, diseases of the blood biliousness, enlargement of the abdomen, colic, piles, ulcers. Bark and seeds are also useful in urinary discharges.
Synonyms: Jonesia asoca, Jonesia confusa, Jonesia pinnata, Saraca confusa, Saraca indica
Hijol or Indian oak ( Barringtonia acutangula , family: Lecythidaceae) is a medium-sized evergreen tree, native to riverine Bangladesh. This water-loving tree is found in the wetlands of Bangladesh. In rural areas, it can be seen standing in the water like Koronja . Common names: Hijal, Hijangal, Hendol. Leaves are short petioled, serrated, 7-12 cm long and 3-7 cm wide, crowded at the end of the branches. Flowers are small, pink to red, sub-sessile, purple red with numerous stamens. Inflorescence is 20-30 cm long, pendulous raceme, flower openning from top to downwards. The 4-merous flowers are grouped in long & pendulous racemes up to 20-30 cm long. The cup-shaped calyx is light green in color. Flowers bloom in April-May. In the winter Its bark has tannin which is useful for heart diseases. Powder of seeds works expectorant and applied to cure cough of children. Tonic is prepared from leaves and roots. Fish poison is also prepared from its roots
Makal or Mahakal ( Trichosanthes tricuspidata , family: Cucurbitaceae) is a woody climber with tendril and branches, attaining a height of 10-12 m. The multiangular-branched plant climbs up very far by holding any tree in the forest. It is found in the hilly areas as well as plain forests and village thickets in Bangladesh. It is also found in Indian subcontinent, Australia and some countries of South and Southeast Asia. According to ancient Sanskrit scriptures the other names of the plant are Bishala, Mohendro-baruni. In the Himalayas it has been seen at an altitude of 5000 feet. There are many refferences to the fruit in Bangla and Sanskrit literature. Someone is very nice to look at but he/she is useless--writers usually jokingly give examples of this fruit. Its roots and attractive fruits are packed with medicinal properties. The size and shape of leaves may vary. These are multilobed or trilobed, alternate, rough in both sides, 5-12 cm long, petioled, cor
Deua or Monkey jack ( Artocarpus lacucha , family: Moraceae) a large tree with large spreading crown, of 12-18 m height. The bark of the deciduous tree is grey and coarse. The type of its fruit reminds us of Jackfruit . It is found in South and Southeast Asia. It is one of the most common trees found in Bangladesh. Other names: Delo madar, deyphol, Deuphol, Dehua, Deua cham, Barta, Dalo, Bon kathal. Leaves are broadly elliptic, entire, rough, brittle, 10-30 cm long and 10-18 cm wide, undulate, back hairy, leathery. Flowers are small, without petals. Male and female flowers grow on the same inflorescence. Female inflorescence has pedicel, though the male one has none. The fruits come from the female flowers. Fruit is a syncarp (multiple fruit, which is fleshy), wavy, velvety, bright yellow or orange when ripe, 5-10 cm in diameter. The fruit is sour-tasted but also somewhat sweet. It is eaten raw or pickled. Seed is oblong and white in color. The pl