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
Guloncho or Heart-leaved moonseed ( Tinospora cordifolia , family: Menispermaceae) is a deciduous creeper with hard and long stem, climbing other trees or fences. Bark on the stem is as thin as paper. Aerial roots come out of the stem when the plant grows older. The plant is found everywhere in Bangladesh except southern part. It is also native to South and Southeast Asia. Common names: Heart-leaved moonseed, Guduchi, Giloy, Guloncho, Guroncho, Padma guloncho. Leaves are simple, green, alternate, cordate, 6-15 cm long and 5-13 cm wide. Inflorescence, growing from the axil of leaflet branches, bears yellow flowers. Male and female flowers bloom separately. Sepals 6, arranged in two rows, petal 6, pistils 3. Fruit is a drupe, brilliant red when ripe. This attractive fruit is inedible to human. What an extensive climber! Tinospora cordifolia is used in weakness, tastelessness, rheumatis
Maloncho or Alligator weed (A lternanthera 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. Other names: Heycha, Hechi-shak, Burma-shak, Bormi-shak. 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
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