Boichi or Madagascar plum (Flacourtia indica, family: Flacourtiaceae) is a spiny shrub with numerous branches, attaining a height of 2-3 m. Bark is grey and rough. Young leaves and shoots are reddish. There are numerous long and sharp spines all over the body of this leafy shrub. It is found in village thickets, in deep forest and the edge of water bodies in Bangladesh. Globally it is found in many Asian countries, tropical Africa and Madagascar.
Other names: Baichha, Tamabot, Bunj, Dungkhoir, Beuchi, Kanta-bohuri, Bongkui-kanta, Bon-khoi.
Flowers are tiny, yellowish of greenish. They appear from the node of leaves. Female and male flowers are in different plants. Flowering occurs in the end of winter.
Fruits are round, 2-2.5 cm wide, Immature fruits are pink or red with shiny skin. When ripe, these turn dark purple. Seeds 4-10. The fruits ripen in summer. These are edible and dellicious too. The spiny shrub is propagated by seeds and cuttings.
Fruits are very popular among the village children. Smart sellers in the market make garlands with the tiny red and blackish fruits. Children wear them around their necks and they gladly press and eat them. By the by, it can reach a height of 10 meters if it is favored. Ripe fruits are rich in phosphorus and calcium. This is why these are used to treat gingivitis and jaundice.