Habitat:—Commonly cultivated, but wild in the forests of the Temperate Himalaya, from Nepal Eastward.
A small evergreen tree. Bark grey, smooth, ½ in. thick. Wood soft even-grained; sapwood white, heartwood light olive-brown. Young shoots silky; branchlets pubescent. Stipules convolute. Leaves 8-10 by 2½-4 in. shining above, pale and glabrous or puberlous beneath. Petioles slender, ¾-1½ in. Flowers 2 in. diam., pale yellow or orange, fragrant; some consider the flowers strongly scented. Peduncles short. Buds silky. Perianth-leaves 15, deciduous, imbricate, in whorls of 3; the outer oblong, acute; the inner linear. Fruiting spike compact, 3-6 in. long. Carpels sub-sessile, ovoid, blunt, lenticillate, coriaceous, dorsally dehiscing. Stamens numerous, many-seriate; filaments flat; anthers linear, adnate, introrse, bursting longitudinally. Gynophore stalked; styles short. Capsules ¾ in; bark brown. Seeds 1-2, brown when old, bright scarlet or rosy when just mature, polished, variously angled, rounded on the back, pendulous by a white thread-like funicle, after dehiscence of the capslue, embryo minute in an abundant oily albumen.
Parts used:—The flowers, fruit, leaves, roots, root-bark, oil, bark.
Uses:—According to Sanskrit writers, the flowers are bitter and are useful in leprosy, boils and itch.
The flowers and fruits are considered bitter and cool remedies, and are used in dyspepsia, nausea and fever. The leaves, anointed with Ghi, and sprinkled over with powder of Cumin seeds, are said in the Baroda Darbar Catalogue Col. and Ind. Exhib., to be put round the head in cases of puerperal mania, delirium, and maniacal excitement.
Taylor states (Topography of Dacca) that the flowers mixed with Sesamum oil form an external application, which is often prescribed in vertigo. The flowers beaten up with oil are also applied to fœtid discharges from the nostrils. According to Rumphius, the flowers are useful as a diuretic in renal diseases and in gonorrhœa. Rheede states that the dried root and root-bark, mixed with curdled milk, are useful as an application