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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/97

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HERBS, SHRUBS, AND TREES

plant is called paighambari phul or the prophet's flower. Among Composites Calendulas and Carthamus oxyacantha or the pohli, a near relation of the Carthamus which yields the saffron dye, are abundant. Both are common Mediterranean genera. Silybum Marianum, a handsome thistle with large leaves mottled with white, extends from Britain to Rawalpindi. Interesting species are Tulipa stellata and Tulipa chrysantha. The latter is a Salt Range plant, as is the crocus-like Merendera Persica, and the yellow Iris Aitchisoni. A curious plant found in the same hills is the cactus-like Boucerosia (N.O. Asclepiadaceae), recalling to botanists the more familiar Stapelias of the same order. Another leafless Asclepiad, Periploca aphylla, which extends westwards to Arabia and Nubia and southwards to Sindh, is, like Boucerosia, a typical xerophyte adapted to a very dry soil and atmosphere. The thorny Acacias, A. eburnea and A. modesta (vern. phiddhi), of the low bare hills of the N.W. Panjab are also drought-resisting plants.

Submontane Region.- The Submontane region consists of a broad belt below the Siwaliks extending from the Jamna nearly to the Jhelam, and may be said to include the districts of Ambala, Karnal (part), Hoshyarpur, Kangra (part), Hazara (part), Jalandhar, Gurdaspur, Sialkot, Gujrat (part). In its flora there is a strong infusion of Indo-Malayan elements. An interesting member of it is the Butea frondosa, a small tree of the order Leguminosae. It is known by several names, dhdk, chichra, paldh, and palds. Putting out its large orange-red flowers in April it ushers in the hot weather. It has a wide range from Ceylon to Bengal, where it has given its name to the town of Dacca and the battlefield of Plassy (Palasi). From Bengal it extends all the way to Hazara. There can be no . doubt that a large part of the submontane region was once dhdk forest. Tracts