Bel or Wood apple, Eegle marmelos

Bel or Wood apple (Aegle marmelos, Rutaceae) is a spiny deciduous tree with many branches, attaining a height of 10-12 m. Bark is grey, soft. The tree has been regarded as sacred plant to Hindu community. The medium-sized tree is a very popular homestead tree. 

It has been planted in Hindu temples in the subcontinent for thousand of years. The leafy tree can be planted by roads and highways and in park and gardens as an ornamental plant. 

Leaves are tri-foliate, wild-scented, alternate, green. There are hard thorns at the bottom of leaves. Leaves fall off in summer. Leaflet is lanceolate, 8-10 cm long and 4-6 cm wide.

Flowers are white with greenish touch, bisexual, sweet-scented. Petals 4, fleshy, calyx shortened, stamens numerous. Flowers bloom in March-May. 

Fruits are round, big, woody, edible, sweet-scented. The fruit matures for almost 8 months after the flowering occurs. Propagation is by seeds.

It has a valuable medicinal use. The fruit is nutritious and stomachic. Leaves are effective in cold. Raw fruit can cure blood dysentery and ripe fruit can cure constipation. 

Juice from ripe fruit is very popular in Bangladesh as well as Indian subcontinent. The wood is yellowish or whitish. It can be easily polished.  

The insects are very crazy abour the Bel flowers!

Bilvah is the Sanskrit name of the plant. The trifoliate leaves are the must used matter to Hindu worship. 


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