Boichi or Madagascar plum (Flacourtia indica, family: Flacourtiaceae) is a spiny shrub with numerous branches, attaining a height of 2-3 m. Bark is grey and rough. Young leaves and shoots are reddish. There are numerous long and sharp spines all over the body of this leafy shrub. It is found in village thickets, in deep forest and the edge of water bodies in Bangladesh. Globally it is found in many Asian countries, tropical Africa and Madagascar.
Other names: Baichha, Tamabot, Bunj, Dungkhoir, Beuchi, Kanta-bohuri, Bongkui-kanta, Bon-khoi.
Flowers are tiny, yellowish of greenish. They appear from the node of leaves. Female and male flowers are in different plants. Flowering occurs in the end of winter.
Fruits are round, 2-2.5 cm wide, Immature fruits are pink or red with shiny skin. When ripe, these turn dark purple. Seeds 4-10. The fruits ripen in summer. These are edible and dellicious too. The spiny shrub is propagated by seeds and cuttings.
Fruits are very popular among the village children. Smart sellers in the market make garlands with the tiny red and blackish fruits. Children wear them around their necks and they gladly press and eat them. By the by, it can reach a height of 10 meters if it is favored. Ripe fruits are rich in phosphorus and calcium. This is why these are used to treat gingivitis and jaundice.
Tulsi o r Sacred basil ( Ocimum tenuiflorum , family: Lamiaceae) is an odorous perennial herb or undershrub with many branches attaining a height of 1-1.5 m. Almost whole body of the plant is covered with hairs. Stem is woody, furrowed and quadrangular. Like many other herbs (Dhutra, Begun, Pepper) the plant can be purple. It is found everywhere in Bangladesh as a medicinal as well as sacred plant to Hindu community. It has spread across a huge global range, extending from the Arabian Peninsula to East Asia as well as Pacific Islands to Australia. Other names: Kalo tulsi (Bang); Tulasi, Ajaka (Sans); Holy basil (Eng). Leaves are strongly scented, green or purple, hairy, ovate-broadly elliptical, 2-5 cm long and 1-1.5 cm wide, opposite, irregularly dented, petiole 2-3 cm long. Flowers are tiny, white or purplish, 3-8 on terminal inflorescence (12-25 cm long). Corolla bilabiate, petals 5, calyx divided into two parts, Stamens 4. It produces flower almost round the year. Fruit is n
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
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