Shimul or Red silk-cotton (Bombax ceiba, family: Malvaceae) is one of the most common trees that found in Bangladesh. This deciduous straight tall tree with thorny trunk and spreading crown is also found in tropical regions of Asia. In Bangladesh, the tree is planted in parks and on highways and beside national monuments for its gorgeous fire-red flowers. It can reach a height up to 60 m.
Common names: Shimul, Red silk-cotton, Red cotton tree.
Leaves are large, spreading, glabrous, digitate, leaflets lanceolate, entire, 10-15 cm long; petiole is up to 20 cm long. It blooms in spring (March-April).
Flowers red, numerous, appearing when the tree is bare of leaves, stamens numerous arranged in five outer bundles and one middle bundle.
Fruit capsules, woody valves. 10-13 cm in length. Seeds smooth, black or grey embedded in long white wool.
Oh! the flame of the forest!
Young plant is used in dysentery, cough, plethora, malnutrition and sexual diseases. Wood is soft and used to make match boxes and sticks. The fruit is light-green in color in immature, brown in mature fruits.
The trunk of bombax ceiba is covered with rigid and pointed thorns.
The roots of bombax ceiba is used in dysentery. The gum is used in burning sensation, blood impurities. The bark is use for fomenting and healing wounds.
Young leaves in the spring are very eye-catching.
A paste of it is good for skin eruptions. Leaves good for strangury. Flowers are astringent and are good for skin troubles.
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