Mankochu or Giant taro (Alocasia macrorrhizos, family: Araceae) is a rhizomatous evergreen herb with soft, smooth and round stem up to 15-18 cm in diameter. Usually it can get a height of 1 to 2 m. It is one of the most popular vegetables in Bangladesh. The perennial plant is found everywhere in Bangladesh, especially in rural areas.
Common names: Giant alocasia, Elephant ear, Upright Elephant ear.
Upright leaves are gigantic and very attractive too; about 1 m long, green and heart-shaped, dented with pointed or round end, petiole is almost 1 m long covering the stem.
Inflorescence is a spadix, small flowers are covered with spathe. Spathe is divided in to two parts, upper part is 20-25 cm long and the lower is 3-5 cm long. Flower blooms in the autumn (Sep-Oct). Fruit is orange or reddish.
Propagation is by rhizome. It is planted mainly in rainy season. Its fleshy frond and leaves are used as vegetable which is nutritious.
It reduces constipation, allergy, piles, sore in tongue and ear. The stem is eaten to produce rheumatic pain. Powder of dry stem cures jaundice. It is also used when the stomach is upset. The stem and petiole contain protein, Vitamin B & C and iron.
It can be planted in the garden and park for its extraordinary beautiful leaves. It is found in India, South and Southeast Asia as well as the Pacific islands.
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
Hijol or Indian oak ( Barringtonia acutangula , family: Lecythidaceae) is a medium-sized evergreen tree, native to riverine Bangladesh. This water-loving tree is found in the wetlands of Bangladesh. In rural areas, it can be seen standing in the water like Koronja . Common names: Hijal, Hijangal, Hendol. Leaves are short petioled, serrated, 7-12 cm long and 3-7 cm wide, crowded at the end of the branches. Flowers are small, pink to red, sub-sessile, purple red with numerous stamens. Inflorescence is 20-30 cm long, pendulous raceme, flower openning from top to downwards. The 4-merous flowers are grouped in long & pendulous racemes up to 20-30 cm long. The cup-shaped calyx is light green in color. Flowers bloom in April-May. In the winter Its bark has tannin which is useful for heart diseases. Powder of seeds works expectorant and applied to cure cough of children. Tonic is prepared from leaves and roots. Fish poison is also prepared from its roots
Kulekhara or Talmakhna ( Hygrophila auriculata , family: Acanthaceae) is a stout and erect herb with straight and undivided stem. The spiny plant is very popular as a medicinal plant in Bangladesh as well as the Indian subcontinent. Other names: Kulekkha, Kuiley-rekha, Kanta kalika, Shoolmordon. Leaves are lanceolate, subsessile, acute at both ends with long whitish hairs, dense with straight and stout thorns that grow from each node. Outer leaves are longer than the inner ones. Both leaves and thorns remain in upward direction. Flowers in axillary whorls. They are bright violet or bluish purple and red, sometimes whitish with soft and minor hair, corolla 2-lipped. Flower blooms in the winter. Fruit a capsule, 4-8-seeded. Seeds are ovoid (not in the pic). The body of the plant contains alkaloids, phytosterols, stigmasterol, lupeol and essential oils. Its seeds contain oil, enzymes and sterols. The plant is cooling and diuretic in cases of h