Ritha or Soapberry (Sapindus saponaria, family: Sapindaceae) is a a medium-sized much branching tree attaining a height of 15 m. Its bark is dark with rough scales. The deciduous tree is originated from tropical America. Nowadays it has been naturalized in Bangladesh as well as tropical areas of Asia. The good looking tree is found in the North-West region of the country.
Leaves are green, 2-6 pairs per pinnae, 40 cm long, terminal leaf absent. Leaflets almost opposite or alternate, elliptic-lanceolate, 5-15 cm long and 3-6 cm wide, petioled, apex emarginate.
After leaving all the leaves in the winter, new leaves arrives in the beginning of spring.
Flowering occurs in the summer. Inflorescence up to 25 cm long. Flowers creamy white, tomentose. Petals 5. Fruit is drupe, solitary or pair, fleshy, subglobose, 1 cm in diameter, glabrous. Fruiting occurs in rainy season. The propagation of the plant is caused by seeds.
Fibers on inner bark are used for making ropes. Fruits are used as a substitute for soap because of the high amount of saponin. The fruits are used in memory loss disease and breathing difficulties. Fruits are also used in fish poisoning.
Seeds are formally used as buttons and beads. A kind of oil is extracted from the seeds too. In Sanskrit, it is called Arishta and Phenil.
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
Kodbel or Elephant wood apple ( Feronia limonia , family: Rutaceae) is medium-sized fruit-giving tree with straight trunk and numerous branches. Bark is dark grey. It has straight spines in axil. Some parts of the tree are quite fragrant--leaves, ripe fruits, seeds etc. The tree is planted as ornamental one in parks and gardens nowadays in Bangladesh. It is planted in the country as a homestead tree too. Other Bangla names: Koyetbel, Chirpaki. Leaflet is small, 5-7, and 3-4 cm wide, opposite, cuneate or obovate. Leaves are scented. Flowers are good-looking, showy. Those are reddish; calyx 5-lobbed, triangular; petals ovate. Male and female flowers can be seen in the same panicle. Flower blooms in March-April. Fruit is round, greenish white or ye l l o w is h w h ite at a glance, 8-10 cm in diameter. Skin is very hard but fragile. The pulp is fleshy and soft. Raw pulp is light brown, ripe is deep chocholate or yelowish brown. The ripe fruit is qu
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