Udal or Elephant rope tree, Sterculia villosa

Udal or Elephant rope tree (Sterculia villosa, family: Sterculiaceae) is a medium-sized deciduous tree with spreading hairy branches. Bark is white, smooth and thick. It is one of the most spectacular forest trees of Bangladesh. It has many characteristics. 

In Bangladesh it is mostly found in Chottogram, Chottogram Hill Tracts and Sylhet.

Leaves are alternate, large ovate-oblong, deeply lobed, long petioled, and crowded at the end of branches.

Flowers are orange-yellow with purple centre, borne on long drooping panicles. Both male and female flowers bloom in the tree. Flowers bloom in March. Before appearing new leaves numerous hanging fruits can be seen at the end of the spring. 

Fruit is 4-8 cm  long, curved, green when raw and brilliant red when ripe. Seeds are dark, rounded. The tree is propagated by seeds.

It is planted along roadsides and in large public gardens. It is used as purgative. Its bark is used extensively to prepare drink, which quench thirst. Its adhesive is also used as medicine. Rope is prepared from its fibre. It is used in Elephant hunting.


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