Akondo or Crown flower (Calotropis gigantea, family: Apocynaceae) is a perennial shrub with branches and milky latex, attaining a height of 5 m. Bark is grey. The stem is slightly wooody and much branched at the base. Some plants have been found whose trunks are quite hard and woody and those look like small-sized trees.
Common names: Akkan, Madar.
Young shoots and lower part of leaves are tomentose. The plant is an iconic one in the rural areas in Bangladesh. It is found in several countries in South and Southeast Asia, including the Indian subcontinent, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand.
Branches and leaves emit milk when snapped. Leaves are whitish green, leathery, short-petioled or sessile, broadly ovate, 10-20 cm long and 6-12 cm wide, tip slightly pointed.
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The fruit is ovoid, curved, 6-8 cm long and 3-5 cm wide, tomentose, dehiscent, yields cotton; borne usually in a pair.
It grows on fallow lands all over Bangladesh. Propagation of the plant is caused by seeds and cuttings.
It is used in cough, cold, asthma and insect poisoning. A fine fibre is obtained from its stem. Cotton from the seeds is used to make pillows. Fresh leaves are used in rheumatic pains. The extract of roots is used as a a tonic. Laxative is made from its milky latex and is used in leprosy. Roots are used to make toothbrush and to cure toothache.
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
Maloncho or Alligator weed (A lternanthera philoxeroides , Amaranthaceae) is an aquatic or semi-aquatic perennial herb rooting at nodes. Stem is juicy, slender and hollow. So the plant can easily float on the water. Other names: Heycha, Hechi-shak, Burma-shak, Bormi-shak. Though the floating plant is found everywhere in Bangladesh, surprisingly it is native to Brazil. In the far past it has been introduced to the subcontinent and Southeast Asia. Flowers are very small, white, on head inflorescence, petals 5. Peduncle is very long. Leaves are green, slightly serrated, linear, elliptic-lanceolate, 3-8 cm long, opposite, acute at the end. Fruit an utricle, ovoid-orbicular or obcordate. Seed is inverse, lenticular, single-seeded. Flowering occurs in the rainy season. Propagation is caused by cutting or seeds. It grows in damp places, near pond and canal etc. Leaves are eaten as vegetables. It is energizing, emollient and reputed to induce
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