Shupari, Betel nut or Areca nut (Areca catechu, family: Arecaceae) is an evergreen palm tree attaining a height of 45 m. It is one of the major cash crops in Bangladesh. It is cultivated extensively in the coastal areas of the country.
In Indian subcontinent, its fruit is eaten with the Betel leaf as daily food. It is found in almost every home in the village area. Like any other palm tree, it is also quite a beautiful one. The tree is planted with rows as a decorative tree in gardens and parks. The tree can survive for almost 50 years.
There are many gray-colored rings in its green trunk. Its leaves are closely packed together at the top of the tree like all other palms. There are 70-80 leaves in every pinnae. The leaves fall within a year.
Flowers are produced in the spadix-like particle. Numerous brown and sweet-scented flowers are gathered in this type of inflorescence. Immature fruits are of green color. Ripe fruits are yellow, orange or red. Fruit is oval-shaped, about 5-6 cm in diameter. The fruit skin is quite thick, fibrous.
The genus name areca (Tamil word) means a bunch of hard fruit, and the species name catechu got its name from the plant's Malaysian name. The original residence of this palm is believed to be Malaysia and the Philippines.
Mat, basket, bag can be made from the leaves. Its trunk is used as pole frequently. Its fruit powder is used in worms, diarrhea, dyspepsia and sexual stimulation. However, eating raw fruit can bring bad results for the eyes. By the by, in many areas of Bangladesh it is called Gua.
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
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
Bon-jui or Glory bower ( Volkameria inermis , Lamiaceae) is a semi-erect beautiful mangrove shrub, attaining a height of 3-4 m. The salt-tolerant plant's stem is woody. Yong shoots, petiols, leaf blades are usually glabrous but sometimes covered with minutely hairs. Its geographical extent is quite large. It can be found in the countries of East Asia as well as South and Southeast Asia. It can also be found in Australia and Pacific Islands, such as New Guinea too. In Bangladesh, the flowering plant is found standing beside the muddy, wet and saline soils of cannals and other waterbodies of mangrove forests or edge of mangrove forests. In the country, it has long been planted as an ornamental shrub along roadsides and road islans. In some places it is also used as a hedge in gardens. Other names: Koklota, Bakri, Batraj, Chitka bhat (Bang); Garden quinine, Seaside clerodendron. The shrub's richness is due to the leaves. These are quite beautiful. Leaf blades are entire