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 in diameter. The fruit skin is quite thick, fibrous.
The genus name areca (Tamil word) means a bunch of hard fruit, and the species name catechu got its name from the plant's Malaysian name. The original residence of this palm is believed to be Malaysia and the Philippines.
Mat, basket, bag can be made from the leaves. Its trunk is used as pole frequently. Its fruit powder is used in worms, diarrhea, dyspepsia and sexual stimulation. However, eating raw fruit can bring bad results for the eyes. By the by, in many areas of Bangladesh it is called Gua.
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
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
Kulekhara or Talmakhna ( Hygrophila auriculata , family: Acanthaceae) is a stout and erect herb with straight and undivided stem. The spiny plant is very popular as a medicinal plant in Bangladesh as well as the Indian subcontinent. Other names: Kulekkha, Kuiley-rekha, Kanta kalika, Shoolmordon. Leaves are lanceolate, subsessile, acute at both ends with long whitish hairs, dense with straight and stout thorns that grow from each node. Outer leaves are longer than the inner ones. Both leaves and thorns remain in upward direction. Flowers in axillary whorls. They are bright violet or bluish purple and red, sometimes whitish with soft and minor hair, corolla 2-lipped. Flower blooms in the winter. Fruit a capsule, 4-8-seeded. Seeds are ovoid (not in the pic). The body of the plant contains alkaloids, phytosterols, stigmasterol, lupeol and essential oils. Its seeds contain oil, enzymes and sterols. The plant is cooling and diuretic in cases of h