Pitalu or Laddu, Trewia nudiflora

Pitalu or False White Teak (Trewia nudiflora, family: Euphorbiaceae) is a medium-sized deciduous tree with soft stem. Young branches and leaf backs are hairy. This is an indigenous plant of Bangladesh, as well as Indian subcontinent.

Leaves are simple, green, ovate-cordate, 10-18 cm long and 6-13 cm wide, edge entire or serrate, apex acute, oppositely arranged. Petiole is 2.5-8 cm long. 

During the spring when flowering comes it seems to be the best flowering tree of the land. Male and female flowers appear on separate trees. 

Male flowers are borne on 20 cm long hanging spike inflorescence. Female flowers usually grow as single on long penduncle. Male flowers bear numerous yellow stamens. Female flowers have no petals. Flowering season of the tree is spring (Feb-Apr).  

Fruit is globose, 2-4 cm wide, 5 chambered. Fruit ripens in Oct-Dec. Propagation is easily possible from seeds.

The plant is found almost everywhere in Bangladesh. May be that's why the plant has many Bangla names: Pitthalu, Pitali, pitalu, Medda, Meragota, Lattu, Latim, Laddu. 

Timber is light and used in making packing box. It is also used as firewood. During the rainy season, the village children play with the fruit in the water. It is a water-loving tree. More than that, the tree can survive after being submerged for long period.


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