Mahua, Madhuca, madhuca longifolia

Mahua or madhuca (madhuca longifolia, family: sapotaceae) is a medium sized to large deciduous tree with spreading and round crown. The plant is native to Indian subcontinent including Bangladesh. 

Mahua is a slow growing species. It can attain a height of up to 20 m. The trunk is small. Bark is almost smooth, gray or brown with cracks on it. 

Common names : Mahua, Madhuca, Mahwa, Butter tree.

Young leaves are bronze-colored, mature ones are dark green. Leaves become 10-15 cm long, elliptical-oblong, tip pointed.

The flowers are used to make an alcoholic drink in Bangladesh and India. Different parts of the tree, especially the bark is used for medicine in its native range. Madhuca longifolia is regarded a boon to the indigenous people. 

Flowers are fleshy, borne at the tip of the twigs in clusters, creamy in color. Sepals 4, petals 8-9. The fragrant flowers bloom in the spring in Bangladesh.

The fruit is a berry, 25 to 50 mm long; green when raw and yellow when ripe. Egg-shaped fruit contains 2-4 shiny seeds. 

The tribal people of the Indian sub-continent make a kind of wine from its flower. Santal tribe of both parts of Bengal regards the tree as a sacred one. 

The species is one of the most beautiful trees in Bangladesh. For this it is generally planted in parks and gardens.

Oil extracted from seeds, flowers and bark is used to prepare medicine. It is used to cure billous fever, physical weakness. Dried flowers are used to make sweetmeats aromatic.

Propagation of the plant is caused by sedds.