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, cordate at base, deeply dented.
Its flowers have a great resemblance to Chichinga or Snake gourd flowers. Flowers are exceptional, in a word wonderful. These are unisexual, growing from the axil of leaves, funnel-shaped, having long tube, 5-7 cm long. Petals 5 with crown-like appendix. Like many other white flowers, it blooms at night. Flowering occurs in the rainy season. Like many other white flowers, it blooms at night. Flowering occurs in the rainy season.
Many seeded fruit is almost round or oval-shaped, brilliant red in color, 5 cm in diameter. Seeds are thin, smooth and grey. Although it looks eye-catching, it is inedible to human. In fact, it is a poisonous fruit. But it is a favorite food of birds. The fruits ripen in Aug-Sep. Propagation of the plant is caused by seeds.
Fruits play a very beneficial role in asthma. These are also used in nose and ear wounds. Roots are used in boil. Seeds are used in laxative.
Hijol or Indian oak ( Barringtonia acutangula , family: Lecythidaceae) is a medium-sized evergreen tree, native to riverine Bangladesh. This water-loving tree is found in the wetlands of Bangladesh. In rural areas, it can be seen standing in the water like Koronja . Common names: Hijal, Hijangal, Hendol. Leaves are short petioled, serrated, 7-12 cm long and 3-7 cm wide, crowded at the end of the branches. Flowers are small, pink to red, sub-sessile, purple red with numerous stamens. Inflorescence is 20-30 cm long, pendulous raceme, flower openning from top to downwards. The 4-merous flowers are grouped in long & pendulous racemes up to 20-30 cm long. The cup-shaped calyx is light green in color. Flowers bloom in April-May. In the winter Its bark has tannin which is useful for heart diseases. Powder of seeds works expectorant and applied to cure cough of children. Tonic is prepared from leaves and roots. Fish poison is also prepared from its roots
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
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