Eternal Beauty of Nature

Posts tagged “Bark

Shades of green – Ajaytao

Shades of green - Ajaytao

Shades of green – Ajaytao

Shades of Green

Far past my spring green age
I sit, all autumn touched with frost,
in introspective summer sun
and contemplate the lines and limits
of this limp and languorous life.

Above and beyond, the marbled sky,
creamy clouds skilfully stitched by
sedulous swifts into the clear cerulean blue,
to patch and paste a quilted backdrop
for my bordering bank of trees.

Such trees! Such leaves!
Such showers, shoots and sprays
and clamouring cascades
in myriad shades of green:

Here at the very twig tip
the freshest of spring green
brings to my musings small fingers
shyly seeking in the spring meadows
for the timorous hand-holds of new sweethearts
and soft lips barely brushed – first steps
in a dewy-eyed dance of love.

Further back, a deeper green,
so like the fiddle-head ferns on mountain fells
and bracken fronds bent and broken
flat for comfort in passion’s pas de deux
or deeper still to bring to mind
the glass of quarry pools and strings of weed
a-cling to strands of slick and sodden hair.

Emerald leaves spark a memory of firefly nights
tucked tight together with Terpsichore:
a passionate prelude to a closer dance.
Higher, in the conifers, blue-green needles
dusted with a hazy hint of smoke
take me to the sea and secret sandy dunes
and languid cherished shoreline loves

So many greens, from mint to sage,
and clever besides to pick each time the perfect
foil for blood berries and pastel blooms
and even in the passing time, the fall,
the beauty shifts from gold to flame –
though sad to say these painted shrouds
will duly die discarded on the ground

And so I sit replete, content
with visions I could not invent:
to soothe my soul and please my eye
these shades of green will ever satisfy.

Michael Graeme Coxe

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In the shade – Ajaytao

In the shade - Ajaytao

In the shade – Ajaytao

Shade

by the shadow
of the mountain
i am taking
a shade

on the shade
of a tree
i take my
shade

on the shade
of my body
i am taking
my shade

on the shade
of my soul
the mountain
the tree and
my body
also take
their shade

Ric S. Bastasa


Tropical leaves – 1 – Ajaytao

Tropical leaves - 1 - Ajaytao

Tropical leaves – 1 – Ajaytao

The air is sweet and with the scent of flowers
Music drifts gently from the wind in the palm
Breathing is easy and I feel utterly at peace
Somehow in this magic place I find I am calm..

The surf is soothing as it repeats its refrain
Life and its daily challenges seem so far away
But my dream this night is to soon ended
I wake to the dawning of the needs of today..

Barbara Gorelick


Caesalpinia pulcherrima – Peacock Flower – Ajaytao

 

Caesalpinia pulcherrima - Peacock Flower - Ajaytao

Caesalpinia pulcherrima – Peacock Flower – Ajaytao

Common name: Peacock Flower, Pride of Barbados, Poinciana, Red Bird of Paradise, Mexican Bird of Paradise, Dwarf Poinciana, Flamboyan-de-jardin.

Hindi: गुलेतूरा Guletura • Manipuri: ক্রিশ্নচূরা Krishnachura • Marathi: Sankasur • Telugu: Ratnagandhi • Kannada: Kenjige • Oriya: Krishnochuda • Tamil: Mayurkonrai • Malayalam: Settimandaram • Bengali: ক্রিশ্নচূড়া Krishnachura, রাধাচূড়া Radhachura • Sanskrit: Sidhakya

Botanical name: Caesalpinia pulcherrima

Family: Fabaceae, Caesalpiniaceae (Pea family)(Gulmohar family)
Genus: Caesalpinia
Species: C. pulcherrima

Caesalpinia pulcherrima is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the tropics and subtropics of the Americas and the world. It could be native to the West Indies, but its exact origin is unknown due to widespread cultivation, like many other plants, Peacock flower has escaped cultivation and become established in warm climate regions throughout the world, it flourishes during summer when the weather is hottest and other vegetation fades. Nobody can justify its origins but it was about 1680 that the tree was recorded as growing in the gardens of India.

The name Caesalpinia honors a 16th century botanist and philosopher ‘Andrea Caesalpini‘ and ‘Pulcherrima’ means “very pretty” is derived from a from a famous family ‘Leguminosae’ and it subfamily is Caesalpineae. The tree is famous in India and is known in hindi as ‘Kunish Churin‘, the Bengali people know it as ‘Krishna Chura‘ and ‘Radha Chura‘.

Peacock flower is an evergreen shrub or small tree in frost free climates, a deciduous to semi-deciduous shrub in areas with only occasional, slight frost, and a returning perennial in temperate climates with mild winters (down to 19°F (-7°C).

The tree can rise upto 25m and its low branches form an open and spreading bush. It is a shrub growing to 3 m tall. The leaves are bipinnate, 20–40 cm long, bearing 3-10 pairs of pinnae, each with 6-10 pairs of leaflets 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm broad. The fruit is a pod 6–12 cm long. This exotic plant is used extensively for its extravagant, showy flowers and its incredible heat tolerance. The flowers are borne in terminal clusters 8-10″ (20-25 cm) tall throughout most of the year in tropical climates and in late summer and fall where frosts occur. The most common colours are red and orange or a combination of red and yellow, but there are also forms with pure yellow flowers (often called yellow bird of paradise) and forms with flowers in shades of pink.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima - Peacock Flower - Ajaytao

Caesalpinia pulcherrima – Peacock Flower – Ajaytao

The inch-wide flowers have slightly ruffled petals and 10 long, red protruding stamens as accents (except the pure yellow form). As the inflorescence elongates, it produces new flowers at the top 1/3, and promptly sheds the lower old flowers. The pods form quickly at the bottom of the inflorescence, and the flower buds open a few at a time, so that buds, flowers, and seed pods appear simultaneously. The flowers are borne in racemes up to 20 cm long, each flower with five yellow, orange or red petals. Flowers, which appear in clusters on long erect stems, are smalled than those of Gulmohar and have exceptionally long stamens and a prominent pistil which protrudes from the center. Beautifully fringed, orange and red blooms cover this magnificent,West Indian shrub with deeply divided foliage. The most common color is red-orange, but one variety has pure yellow flowers.

C. pulcherrima is the most widely cultivated species in the genus Caesalpinia. It is a striking ornamental plant, widely grown in domestic and public gardens and has a beautiful inflorescence in yellow, red and orange. Its small size and the fact that it tolerates pruning well allows it to be planted in groups to form a hedgerow; it can be also used to attract hummingbirds.

Culture: Peacock flower is very easy to grow in alkaline to acidic, well-drained soils. This is a fast growing plant and moderately tolerant of salty conditions. Fertilizer application is hardly necessary, especially if it is grown in adequately mulched soils.

Light: This plant enjoys full sun to light shade and loves heat. Best growth and flower production is in full sun. It gets leggy in shade and blooming is reduced.

Moisture: Peacock flower is drought tolerant once established, but performs best with regular irrigation while blooming.

Hardiness: Even under frost free conditions Peacock flower may lose some of its leaves when temperatures drop to 50-40°F (10-5°C), but it recovers quickly. It can also survive a yearly freeze. Peacock flower dies to the ground following periods of mild frost, but it comes back reliable, albeit late, in middle spring. Don’t give up on it! Peacock flower has survived temperatures as low as 18°F (-7.8°C). It can be grown as an annual in colder climates.

Propagation: Peacock flower is easy to start from seeds. Germination will be speeded up if the seeds are nicked with a file before planting. Under good growing conditions, peacock flower will self sow or spread by root suckers (not invasive though). Soak seed in warm water for 24 hours before sowing. Sow into pots or trays of moist soilbased potting mix and cover with a fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place in a propagator or warm place, and keep at a constant temperature of between 20-25C (68- 77F). After sowing, do not exclude light as this helps germination. Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged; germination can take 1-4 months.

Pruning: Peacock flower benefits from pruning, and can be shaped to tree form or shrubby bush form. It grows quickly before flowering, but while flowering growth virtually stops. Prune to any desired height in late autumn or winter to control height and spread. To get a bushier, more compact shrub you can even cut Peacock flower to the ground in winter andwill recover nicely. It flowers on new wood so do not prune in the spring as this could delay flowering until September, meaning four to five months of flowering loss.

Red Bird of Paradise is the National flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, and is depicted on the Queen’s personal Barbadian flag.

The flower is considered sacred to the Siva of India and the Hindus think it is very much sacrosanct.

Food: All seeds of Caesalpinia are poisonous. However the seeds of some species are edible before the seed reach maturity (e.g immature seeds of C. pulcherrima) or with treatment (C. bonduc toxicity is reduced after roasting).

Caesalpinia pulcherrima - Peacock Flower - Ajaytao

Caesalpinia pulcherrima – Peacock Flower – Ajaytao

Medicinal Uses

Is an antioxidant – that scavenges free radicals and prevents LDL cholesterol from being damaged. Behaves like an antihistamine. May help protect against heart disease and cancer. Falvonoids found in the plant possess anti-inflammatory activities.

1. Helps in cases of cholera.
2. For abortion
3. To prevent recurrence of diseases, like malaria.
4. Promotes menstrual flow.
5. As a purgative or the watery evacuation of the bowels.
6. For producing energy.
7. To relieve chest affections.
8. To reduce or eliminate fever.
9. Widely used for the cure of bronchitis, asthma and for malarial fevers.

How to Use:

The decoction of the roots is given for cholera.
The infusion of the leaves or the bark is used for abortion.
The infusion of the leaves is used to prevent recurrence like malaria, promote menstrual flow, work as a purgative, and for producing energy.
The infusion of the flowers is used to relieve chest affections, reduce or eliminate fever, cure bronchitis, asthma and malarial fevers.

A combination of the roots, bark, and leaves may be boiled into a medicinal tea, which is given to patients as a treatment for fever, jaundice, kidney disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. Gargling with the tea is also said to treat sores in the mouth or throat.

A liquid extracted from the flowers of the plant is often used topically as an eye wash or applied to the body as an insecticide. The liquid is sometimes consumed to treat a variety of other conditions. Patients with severe gastrointestinal disorders, including dysentery or severe diarrhea, may also be given the fruit of the plant, which is said to have astringent properties, to eat. These properties help the plant to dry out the intestinal tract.

The plant is known, however, to be an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory. These qualities may make it useful in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and internal or external wounds.

Preliminary medical studies have also indicated that Caesalpinia pulcherrima may also assist in weight loss. Mice given enzymes that are found in this plant were able to lose weight at a faster rate than the mice in the control group. Despite its potential medicinal uses.

Maroon medicine men in Suriname have long known some of the medicinal uses for Caesalpinia pulcherrima, which is known as ayoowiri. Four grams from the root is also said to induce abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Warning

Most references say that peacock flower is poisonous, but people in central Africa do eat the seeds, presumably after boiling in several changes of water. Don’t plant this sharply thorny shrub near pedestrian traffic.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima is also known to be toxic at certain doses, and it may be dangerous for patients to use folk cures that include this plant.

Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses

Toxic Principles: GI Irritants, Tannins

Clinical Signs: Vomiting and diarrhea.

Ajaytao Photography


Euphorbia pulcherrima – Poinsettia – Ajaytao

Euphorbia pulcherrima - Poinsettia - Ajaytao

Euphorbia pulcherrima – Poinsettia – Ajaytao

Common name: Poinsettia, Christmas Plant painted leaf, Lobster Plant, Mexican Flame Leaf, Flame-leaf flower, Crown of the Andes, Aztecs: Cuitlaxochitl, Mexico and Guatemala: La Flor de la Nochebuena (Flower of the Holy Night), Spanish: Flor de Pascua, Egypt: Bent El Consul, Japanese: Poinsechia, Shoujouboku, Danish: Julestjerne, French: Euphorbe écarlate, German: Weihnachtsstern, Malay: Dènok, Kastooba, Ratjoonan, Portuguese : Flor-de-papagaio, Folha-de-sangue, Russian: Molochai krasivyeishij, Swedish: Julstjärna, Chinese: Xing xing mu, Lao lai jiao, Thai: Cheu eun, Poh pan, Song ra-doo

Hindi: Lal pate
Tamil: Ilai paddi, Mayil kaḷḷi,

Botanical name: Euphorbia pulcherrima

Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family)
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. pulcherrima

Synonyms: Pionsettia Pulchenima

Pascuas is an erect, sparingly, and laxly branched shrub, 2 to 4 meters high. Leaves are elliptic to oblong-elliptic or the upper ones lanceolate, 10 to 18 centimeters, the lower ones entirely green, obscurely repand or slightly lobed, long-petioled, slightly hairy beneath, the upper ones, at the time of flowering, uniformly bright-red. Inflorescence is terminal. Involucres are ovoid, about 1 centimeter long, the margins toothed, each with one or two large, yellow glands. Flowers are crowded.

The bright petals of Poinsettias, which look like flowers, are actually the bunch of upper leaves of the plant, called bracts. Poinsettia flowers are small, green or yellow, and grow inconspicuously in the center of each leaf bunch. Poinsettias are sub-tropical plants and therefore wither if the night temperature falls below 10 degrees C (50 degrees F). The day time temperatures in excess of 21 degrees C (70 degrees F) shorten the lifespan of Poinsettias.

The yellow flowers, or cyathia, are in the center of the colorful bracts. The plant drops its bracts and leaves soon after those flowers shed their pollen. For the longest-lasting Poinsettias, choose plants with little or no yellow pollen showing.

The Poinsettia has a short, thick trunk and rough, brown bark. The branches are slender and green and spread into an open bush formation, bearing most of their leaves towards the end. New leaves are soft, bronze and downy, later becoming green and then hard and leathery, deeply scored by the veins. Each branchlet ends with a circle of bracts surrounding a small cluster of “flowers.” The bracts are about 12.5 cm. long and half that in width.

The colors of the bracts are created through “photoperiodism“, meaning that they require darkness (12 hours at a time for at least five days in a row) to change color. On the other hand, once Poinsettias finish that process, the plants require abundant light during the day for the brightest color.

In colder climates, Poinsettias are grown as indoor plants. As indoor plants, Poinsettias need exposure to the morning sun and shade during the hotter part of the day. Poinsettias are one the most difficult to reflower after the initial display when purchased. Poinsettias need a period of uninterrupted long, light-free nights for about two months in early spring in order to develop flowers.

They are found in the wild in deciduous tropical forest at moderate elevations from southern Sinaloa down the entire Pacific coast of Mexico to Chiapas and Guatemala. They are also found in the interior of Mexico in the hot, seasonally dry forests of Gurerro and Oxaca Now it is found in most parts of the world, in greenhouses in the colder climes and out-of-doors in tropical and sub-tropical countries like the Indian subcontinent. It is very popular in Australia, Malta, Egypt and Turkey.

It came originally from Mexico and was named after Ambassador Poinsett of South Carolina, who brought the first plants from there in the middle of the 19th Century.

There are many varieties all with the same peculiarity — extreme degeneration of the flowers. The coloured leaves are not part of the flowers but just bracts, brightly coloured to attract insects as in the Bougainvilleas and other plants. The rounded, bud-like formations, with up-standing stamens and peculiar lateral protuberances are not flowers at all but clusters of degenerated flowers. Each “stamen” is all that exists of a male flower, and the bulky “pistil” is all there is of a whole female flower.

Euphorbia pulcherrima - Poinsettia - Ajaytao

Euphorbia pulcherrima – Poinsettia – Ajaytao

Some of the varieties are very far removed from our gay garden plant, being nothing but roadside weeds. Others are like miniatures with only a small area of scarlet, others have no scarlet at all but an ugly greenish-yellow instead. Horticulturists have introduced still more varieties, so now we have double forms, forms where the red is replaced by pink or yellow or white and some with variegated leaves. But any of these is an improvement on the original crimson.

Facts About Poinsettias

Poinsettias also bloom in cream, lemon, peach, pink colors and with white and gold-splashed leaves. There are more than 100 varieties of poinsettias available today. Poinsettias come in colors like the traditional red, white, pink, burgundy, marbled and speckled.

Poinsettias are perennial flowering shrubs that were once considered weeds.

Euphorbia pulcherrima, means “the most beautiful Euphorbia“.

Poinsettia was named after the former US ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel R. Poinsett who introduced the Poinsettia to the United States.

Poinsettias, at times, reach a height of sixteen feet.

Poinsettias are also known by other names such as ‘Christmas flower‘, ‘lobster flower’, and ‘Mexican flame leaf‘.

The Paul Ecke Ranch in California grows over 70% of all Poinsettias purchased in the United States and does about 50% of the world-wide sales of Poinsettias.

December 12th is Poinsettia Day, which marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett in 1851.

In Mexico, the Poinsettia is displayed in celebration of the “Dia de la Virgen“, which is also coincidentally, December 12th.

The Aztecs used the Poinsettia bracts to make a reddish purple dye for fabrics, and used the sap medicinally to control fevers.

Poinsettias contribute over $250 million to the U.S. economy at the retail level.

California is the top U.S. Poinsettia-producing state.

Poinsettias are the best selling potted plant in the United States and Canada.

Poinsettias are susceptible to several diseases, mostly fungal, but also bacterial and parasitic.

The Aztecs used the plant to produce red dye and as an antipyretic medication.In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, the plant is called Cuetlaxochitl (from cuetlatl, residue, and xochitl, flower) meaning “flower that grows in residues or soil.” Today it is known in Mexico as “Flor de Noche Buena“, meaning Christmas Eve Flower. In Spain, Puerto Rico, Guatemala and other Central America countries it is known as “Flor de Pascua” or “Pascua” meaning “Easter flower”. In Chile and Peru, the plant became known as “Crown of the Andes“. In Turkey, it is called Atatürk’s Flower because Atatürk, the founder of the Republic, liked this flower and made a significant contribution to its cultivation for it to become widespread in Turkey. This name is given by botanists who took place in the beginning of its cultivation in Turkey.

Poinsettias & Christmas

The ancient Aztecs (the Mexican Indians) prized the Poinsettia as a symbol of purity. Centuries later, Mexico’s early Christians adopted the Poinsettia as their prized Christmas Eve flower. The Mexican Poinsettia, known as the Christmas flower in North America, is used in most Christmas decorations, owing to its bright red color and its blooming season coinciding with the Christmas holiday season.

The Mexican poinsettias are commonly bright red. For some, these star-shaped bracts symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. The Christmas Poinsettia flowers have become a symbol of Christmas and are used as festive decor.

A Mexican legend explains how Poinsettias came to be associated with Christmas. Apparently, a child who could not afford a gift to offer to Christ on Christmas Eve picked some weeds from the side of a road. The child was told that a humble gift, if given in love, would be acceptable in God’s eyes. When brought into the church, the weeds bloomed into red and green flowers and the congregation felt that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle.

Euphorbia pulcherrima - Poinsettia - Ajaytao

Euphorbia pulcherrima – Poinsettia – Ajaytao

Other Uses

Triterpenes in the latex of E pulcherrima.
Bracts yield a resin, a yellow and red coloring-matter, essential oil, tartaric acid, gallic acid, gum, glucose, sucrose, starch, and salts.
Bark yields a red coloring principle; bracts yield a scarlet dye.
Leaf yields alkaloids, saponins, sulfur, fat, amilodextrin, and formic acid.

Medicinal Uses

Folkloric

Leaves applied as poultice for erysipelas and a variety of cutaneous problems.
Latex is poisonous and causes irritation in wounds.
Infusion of flowers used as galactagogue.
Plants used as emetic and cathartic.
In Mexico, decoction of bracts taken by nursing women to increase the flow of milk, although the practice is considered dangerous by some.
Infusion of flowers prescribed as galatagogue.
Plant used as emeto-cathartic.
In Indonesia, the racunan plant (E. pulcherrima) is used as emetic, emmenagogue, and galactagogue, for treating tuberculosis, skin infections, and fractures.

Studies: Cytotoxic Testing • Antibacterial • Phytochemicals • Bactericide / Chitosan • Anticonvulsant / Antinociceptive • Antibacterial / Antinociceptive

Warning

Recent research has proved that Poinsettias are not poisonous.

Poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50-pound child would have to eat more than 500 leaves to have any harmful effect. Plus poinsettia leaves have an awful taste. You might want to keep your pets from snacking on poinsettia leaves. Eating the leaves can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Contact dermatitis: Reports of contact dermatitis associated with EP simulating a phototoxic reaction.

Latex is very caustic and poisonous, severely irritating to wounds, and extremely dangerous to the eyes.

A characteristic of many poisonous plants, it should be noted, is a milky-white sap which exudes from a part or all of the plant when cut. Poinsettia is no exception and one should exercise great care in handling cut branches. Both leaves and bracts droop very quickly after cutting; so if the sprays are required for indoor decoration, the cut ends should be immediately plunged into boiling water to the depth of 5 cm. This will preserve their freshness for a considerable time.

The Poinsettia requires full sun and good drainage and should be cut down to about 30cm. after flowering. This is essential if large, compact shrubs, 2.5 to 3m. high, are expected the following season. Cuttings root readily.

Many plants in the Euphorbiaceae family ooze a milky sap. Some people with latex allergies have had a skin reaction (most likely to the sap) after touching the leaves. For pets, the poinsettia sap may cause mild irritation or nausea. Probably best to keep pets away from the plant, especially puppies and kittens.

Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are popular potted plants, particularly during the Christmas season. Brightly colored and mostly red, a Poinsettia provides effective color in home decor during and after the holiday season. The newer Poinsettia cultivars are long-lasting in contrast to the cultivars that were available a few years ago. Christmas charm is what these amazing Poinsettias hold. As there are few flowers to brighten our gardens around Christmas time, the flamboyant Poinsettia, with its bright red bracts, is deservedly popular.

Ajaytao Photography

 


Cochlospermum religiosum – Silk Cotton tree – Ajaytao

 

Cochlospermum religiosum - Silk Cotton tree - Ajaytao

Cochlospermum religiosum – Silk Cotton tree – Ajaytao

Common name: Buttercup tree, Yellow slik cotton tree, Golden silk Cotton tree, Cottontree, Silk Cotton tree, Algodão-da-Índia, Portuguese: Capoquero blanco, Torchwood Tree,

Hindi: Galgal, Katira • Marathi: Ganeri गणेरी • Tamil: Kattupparutti • Konkani: Kondagogu • Bengali: Sonali simul • Kannada: Arasina buruga • Malayalam: Cempanni • Telugu: Konda gogu, Parapanji, Chembanji, Ganiar, Chaor, Ganer, Sonsawar, Golgol,

Botanical name: Cochlospermum religiosum (L.) Alston
Family: Bixaceae (Annatto family), (Lipstick-tree family)
Genus: Cochlospermum
Species: C. religiosum
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order: Violales

Synonyms: Bombax gossypium, Cochlospermum gossypium, Maximilianea gossypium

Cochlospermum religiosum is a flowering plant from the tropical region of Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. Buttercup Tree is native to India, Burma and Thailand.

The botanical name has the following meaning – Cochlospermum because the seed resembles a snail. Religiosum because the flowers are used as temple offerings. It is also known as Silk-Cotton Tree because the capsules containing the seeds have a fluffy cotton-like substance similar to kapok. Another common name is Buttercup tree because its yellow and bright flowers look like large-sized buttercups. In Thailand it is the provincial tree of Nakhon Nayok Province.

Deciduous trees, to 10 m tall, It is a small tree usually found in dry deciduous forests. The bark is smooth and pale grey, bark 20-25 mm thick, surface dark grey, fibrous; branchlets thick. It is sparsely clothed with leaves and sheds them at the height of the flowering season. Leaves glabrous above, densely brownish tomentose below, the arrangement is alternate distichous, Leaf Base is Chordate. The leaves appear at the tips of the branches leaves simple, palmately 3-5 lobed, alternate, estipulate; petiole 6-20 cm long, stout, swollen at base, pubescent; lamina 5-15 x 7-20 cm, base cordate, lobes, elliptic or elliptic-lanceolate, tips acute or acuminate, margin entire or crenate, serrate, glabrous above, densely white tomentose below, coriaceous; 5-7 nerved from the base, palmate, lateral nerves 7-10 in each lobe, parallel, prominent, intercostae scalariform, faint.

Cochlospermum religiosum - Silk Cotton tree - Ajaytao

Cochlospermum religiosum – Silk Cotton tree – Ajaytao

The flowers of the Buttercup tree are the most conspicuous part of the tree. Flowers bisexual, buttercup shaped and bright yellow. The stamens are orange. Flowers with prominent sepals. They are large, growing upto about 7.5-10 cm across, bright yellow, in grey tomentose terminal panicles; sepals 5, 2.5 x 1.5 cm, unequal, obovate, densely tomentose, deciduous; petals 5, 5 x 3 cm, obovate, deeply emarginate, contorted; stamens many, inserted on an eglandular disc, shortly connate at base into 8-10 clusters; filaments 1.5-2.5 cm long; anthers linear, opening by apical slit; ovary superior, globose, glabrate, 3-5-celled, ovules many; style 1, to 1 cm, filiform; stigma somewhat lobed.

The fruits are brown and oval shaped. They come in the form of a capsule made up of five segments. The capsule splits open to release the seeds which are embedded in the silky cotton contained within. Fruits like a capsule, 6-8 x 4.5-5.5 cm, 5-valved, obovoid, pear shaped, straight, leathery, brown; seeds many, 6 mm long, black, curved, embedded in white cotton. This silky cotton is said to induce sleep when stuffed into pillows.

C. religiosum - Mature fruit

C. religiosum – Mature fruit

The flowering season is between February and April, particularly after the leaves are shed.

The flower is highlighted in one of the telugu rhymes which conveys that flowers will be on the top of the branches where moon only can pluck the flowers by climbing on a mountain.

“Chandamama raave, jabilli raave Kondekki raave, GOGU poolu theve”

Materials Uses:

The tree yields a gum, katira gum, which is insoluble in water but swells in it, and mixed with gum-arabic gives a water-borne adhesive paste. The gum has some value in cigar and ice-cream manufacture, and can be used as a substitute for gum tragacanth in various industrial processes. It is sweetish, cooling and sedative and helpful in cough medicine. The dried leaves and flowers are said to be stimulant. The floss surrounding the seeds is an inferior substitute for kapok. The seeds contain a non-drying oil reported in Indian material to amount to 14–15% and to be usable in soap-manufacture. The residual seed-cake is a suitable cattle concentrate, or can be used as a manure. The wood is soft, light and of little value. The bark contains a cordage fibre.

Yellow Silk Cotton (C. religiosum) trunk

Yellow Silk Cotton (C. religiosum) trunk

Gum is used for Book binding, Calico printing, Cosmetic industry, Cigar paste, Seed oil is used in soap making, Seed cake is used as Manure and cattle feed.

Seed-cake: Agri-horticulture: composting, manuring, Floss covering seed is used for Stuffing in Pillows, Mattresses Cushions, Life belts,

™Wood is used as Fuel wood.

Medicines:

Gum Medicines: naso-pharyngeal affections; sedatives, etc. naso-pharyngeal affections; sedatives, etc. The gum extracted from bark is used in the treatment of Cough, Cooling effect

Seed: Phytochemistry: fatty acids, etc.

Ajaytao Photography


Albizia saman – Rain tree – Ajaytao

 

Albizia saman - Rain tree - Ajaytao

Albizia saman – Rain tree – Ajaytao

Common name: Rain Tree, Coco tamarind, Acacia preta, French tamarind, Saman, Monkey pod, Arbre á la Pluie, Cow Bean Tree, Giant Thibet, Inga Saman, Algarrobo, Acacia, Akasya, Palo de China, Cow tamarind, False powder puff, French: Gouannegoul, arbre depluie, Fiji: Vaivai Ni Vavalagi,Vaivai Ni Vavalagi, Japanese: America-nemu, Guam: Trongkonmames. Hawaii: Ohai, pu ohai, Tongan: Kasia kula, mohemobe

Hindi: गुलाबी सिरिस Gulabi Siris, Vilaiti siris
Bengali: Biliti siris • Tamil: Amaivagai, Thoongumoonji maram

Synonyms: Samanea saman, Acacia propinquaMimosa saman, Pithecellobium saman, acutifolium Benth, Samanea (Benth.) Merr, Samanea,

Botanical name: Albizia saman, Samanea saman, Pithecellobium saman,

Family: Fabaceae (Touch-me-not family)
Genus: Albizia
Species: A. saman

Albizia saman (sometimes treated under the obsolete name Samanea saman) is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the Neotropics. Its range extends from Central America, Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, through Guatemala to Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil to Peru, Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianas. but it has been widely introduced to South and Southeast Asia, India to Sri Lanka as well as the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii. Common names include saman, rain tree and monkeypod It is often placed in the genus Samanea.

Large, handsome and spreading, the Rain Tree is easily recognised by its umbrella like canopy of evergreen, feathery foliage and puffs of pink flowers. It is frequently planted in groups or as an avenue because of its ability to keep its symmetrical conformation in spite of prevailing winds.

It is a tree of rapid growth, brought originally from Central America to Sri Lanka and forwarded from there because it was considered to be a tree of great value for railway fuel. It often reaches a height of 27 m. and the strong, spreading branches may be nearly as long. The bark is dark grey, often bearing horizontal weals and the trunk frequently branches quite low down. From March to May and again towards the end of the year the green canopy is dotted all over with pink and white. During the rest of the year, too, there are usually quite a few flowers to be seen. The flowers appear like round, silken tufts, but actually each flower stalk bears one central and a surrounding circlet of florets, up to twenty in number. Each has a tube-shaped calyx and a tiny, yellow-lobed, crimson trumpet; bunches of long stamens, half pink and half white, protrude from each. The leaves fold in rainy weather and in the evening, hence the name “rain tree” and “five o’clock tree” (Pukul Lima) in Malay Hujan-hujan meaning “rain”, but in India it is believed that the name was given because of a curious habit possessed by the tree of intermittently spraying the ground beneath with moisture.

Albizia saman - Rain tree - Ajaytao

Albizia saman – Rain tree – Ajaytao

Several lineages of this tree are available, e.g., with reddish pink and creamish golden colored flowers. The long, heavy leaves are twice pinnate and each pinna, of which there are four to eight pairs, bears from three to seven pairs of leaflets. These are oval and have no stalks, becoming larger and more curved towards the end. on its thickened base so that the leaves all lie sideways. Later it was discovered that this was caused by multitudinous minute insects. The fruit is a fleshy pod, sweet to the taste and much relished by squirrels, horses and cattle. Although generally planted as a shade tree and ornamental, it has been naturalized in many countries and is greatly valued in pastures as shade for cattle. Short-boled, with a spreading crown when open grown, it forms a long, relatively straight stem when closely spaced. Its wood is highly valued in some locations for carvings and furniture.

The Monkey Pod tree is called this perhaps because monkeys are fond of the pods and sit in the trees eating them. The tree’s name in Greek. During his 1799–1804 travels in the Americas, Alexander von Humboldt encountered a giant saman tree near Maracay, Venezuela. He measured the circumference of the parasol-shaped crown at 576 ft (about 180.8 m[3]), its diameter was around 190 ft (about 59.6 m), on a trunk at 9 ft (about 2.8 m) in diameter and reaching just 60 ft (nearly 19 m) in height. Humboldt mentioned the tree was reported to have changed little since the Spanish colonization of Venezuela; he estimated it to be as old as the famous Canary Islands dragon tree (Dracaena draco) of Icod de los Vinos on Tenerife. The tree, called Samán del Guère (transcribed Zamang del Guayre by von Humboldt) still stands today, and is a Venezuelan national treasure. Just like the dragon tree on Tenerife, the age of the saman in Venezuela is rather indeterminate. As von Humboldt’s report makes clear, according to local tradition, it would be older than 500 years today, which is rather outstanding by the genus’ standards. It is certain, however, the tree is quite more than 200 years old today

The tree has nyctinastic leaf movements like Choi-Moi or the Tickle Me plant; its leaves close and curl up at night so that any rain that falls hits the ground more easily than it would under a tree with ordinary leaves. The pods and flowers are nitrogen rich and when they fall and decay, the nitrogen goes into the soil. Plants need this to make chlorophyll which gives them their green colour, so perhaps this is why there is lush vegetation under the Rain tree. Farmers like the trees because they are nitrogen fixers and they also grow quickly, the durable, hard wood is sustainable and eco-friendly so can be used for furniture and hand-carved bowls and decorative pieces. In Thailand the tree is host to the lac insect from which we get shellac.

Albizia saman - Rain tree - Ajaytao

Albizia saman – Rain tree – Ajaytao

The flowers attract honey bees as well as birds, moths and other insects, and locals enjoy the honey produced from the nectar, but it is only consumed in the locality of the growing trees.

Medicinal Uses

Saponin-like alkaloid pithecolobin has been isolated from the bark and the seed.
· Alkaloids are said to be abundant in the bark, stems, leaves, and seeds.
· Leaves and stems have saponin and tannin; gum from the trunk.
· Pods are rich in starch and sugar, with a fair proportion of albuminoid substances.
· Bark has no tannin. Trunk yields an inferior gum.

It is used as an Antipyretic, antimicrobial, stomachic, astringent, antidermatoses, laxative, antimalarial, sedative.

In the Philippines, a decoction of the inner bark or fresh cambium and leaves is used to treat diarrhea. Acute bacillary dysentery, enteritis, diarrhea: use 15 to 30 gms dried material in decoction. Also for colds, sore throat, headache. A decoction of the inner bark or fresh cambium and leaves is used to treat diarrhea. Anaphylactic dermatitis, eczema, skin pruritus: use decoction of fresh material and apply as external wash. Latex used as gum arabic for gluing. Seeds chewed for sore throat; inner bark decoction and fresh leaves used for colds and diarrhea.
In Pakistan infusion of leaves used as laxative. Decoction of inner bark used for diarrhea, colds, and intestinal ailments. In Jamaica leaf infusion used for treating blood pressure. In Tropical Africa seeds are chewed for treating gum and throat inflammations. In Venezuela rain tree is a traditional remedy for colds, diarrhea, headache, intestinal ailments and stomach ache. Root decoction used in hot baths for stomach cancer. In the West Indies, the leaf infusion is used as a laxative and seeds chewed for sore throat. The alcoholic extract of leaves used for tuberculosis. In Columbia, the fruit decoction is used as a sedative.

Modern medical research has shown that the Monkey Pod tree has antibacterial and anti-fungal activities and can fight Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and E. coli infections. An alcohol extract of the leaves may inhibit Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but more research is needed.

In the West Indies the leaves are chewed to relieve toothache, and a root decoction is used in hot baths in Venezuela for stomach cancer. An infusion of the leaves is given for constipation and in the Philippines a decoction of the inner bark and the fresh leaves is given for diarrhoea. A boiled bark poultice is used to cure constipation too. It is another of Nature’s wonderful health-giving trees.

Edible: Mesocarp of the fruit is sweetish, sometimes eaten by children.

Wood: Rain Tree wood, Kayu, Suwar (or Suar), is a form of Mahogany and is a much higher quality of wood to carve with than cheaper types of wood like Kayu Pule, Kayu Sandat, or Kayu Cempaka. The Scientific name for Suwar/Suar wood is Samanea Saman and it is commonly known in the English as Rain Tree wood. Another common name for the Rain Tree is Monkeypod relating to the fact that it has seed pods which are edible. Popularly used in carving, making tables, wood basins and bowls. Hats are made from the shavings of the wood. Resistance to biodegradation is reported to vary, but the wood is durable under water. The heartwood is rated as resistant to attack by termites. The material is prone to blue-stain. The heartwood is golden-brown to dark brown in color. Wood vessels contain shiny, brown deposits.

Furniture, Cabinetmaking, Turnery, Interior trim, Carvings, Turnery, Veneer, Bedroom suites, Building materials, Chairs, Chests, Concealed parts (Furniture), Core Stock, Decorative veneer, Desks, Dining-room furniture, Dowell pins, Dowells, Drawer sides, Figured veneer, Fine furniture, Floor lamps, Furniture components, Furniture squares or stock, Hatracks, Interior construction, Kitchen cabinets, Living-room suites, Millwork, Moldings, Office furniture, Plain veneer, Radio, stereo, TV cabinets, Rustic furniture, Stools, Tables , Trimming, Utility furniture, Wainscotting, Wardrobes, Woodwork

Fodder: Seasonally copious pods with sweet pulp that can be grounded and converted to fodder and alcohol as an energy source. It is a valuable source of feed for cattle and horses. It is also an important honey plant like most mimosaceous trees.

High sugar content of the pod can be utilized for producing alcohol by fermentation.

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Cordia Sebestena – Scarlet Cordia – Ajaytao

Cordia Sebestena - Scarlet Cordia - Ajaytao

Cordia Sebestena – Scarlet Cordia – Ajaytao

Common name: Orange Geiger Tree, Scarlet Cordia, Sebestena Plum Tree,, Geiger Tree, Sea Trumpet, Spanish Cordia, Ziricote, Texas Olive, Geranium tree, large-leaf geiger tree, bois râpe – French, Scharlach-Kordie –German, Sebestenenbaum – German, Sebesteira-verdadeira – Portuguese, Anacahuita – Spanish, Anaconda – Spanish, siricote blanco

Hindi: लाल लसॊड़ा Lal Lasora, Bohari
Bengali: Kamla buhal, Raktarag

Botanical name: Cordia Sebestena

Family: Boraginaceae (Forget-me-not family)
Subfamily: Cordioideae, Cordiaceae Ehretiaceae
Genus: Cordia
Species: C. sebestena

Cordia sebestena is a species of flowering plant in the borage family, Boraginaceae, that is native to the American tropics. and is cultivated in Southeastern U.S.A.: Florida, Southern Mexico – Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Caribbean: Bahamas; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Haiti; Jamaica, Mesoamerica: Belize; Honduras; Panama, India and many tropical and subtropical countries of the world. Geiger Tree (after Key West wrecker John Geiger) in Florida.

Scarlet cordia is a small shapely tree which grows up to be 25 feet tall and as wide. It is native to the northern coast of South America. This plant, on account of its large tubular scarlet flowers, is one of the most beautiful of the West Indian trees. This dense, rounded, evergreen native tree grows slowly to a height of 25 feet with an equal spread and can develop a trunk 12 inches thick. The large, seven-inch-long, stiff, dark green leaves are rough and hairy, feeling much like sandpaper. Appearing throughout the year, but especially in spring and summer, are dark orange, two-inch-wide flowers which appear in clusters at branch tips. The splendid flowers are followed by one to two-inch-long, pear-shaped fruits, which have a pleasant fragrance but are not particularly tasty.

Cordia Sebestena - Scarlet Cordia - Ajaytao

Cordia Sebestena – Scarlet Cordia – Ajaytao

Cordia (which means late) was named for father and son German botanists/pharmacists/physicians Euricius Cordus (1486-1535) and Valarius Cordus (1515-1544.) Euricius (Heinrich in German) was a professor and the 13th son of a farmer named Urban Solden. As number 13 little Heinrich was called the “late one” or in Latin Cordu. He kept the name as a last name when he Latinized his name as many educated people of that age did, going from Heinrich Urban Solden to Euricius Codus. His son, Valarius Codus, died at 29 of malaria while in Rome but had already established himself as a intellectual heavyweight of his age. His posthumous publications bolstered his reputation even more. Sebestena if from Sebesten, a name given to a related tree with similar fruit.

Cordia sebestena is widely planted throughout the tropics and subtropics as an ornamental plant in gardens because of its flowers. It has dark green, oval shaped leaves, and grows oval shaped fruits that are edible, but not flavorful. Cordia sebestena tolerates drought but not frost.

Flower color: orange
Flower characteristics: very showy

Fruit shape: oval
Fruit length: 1 to 3 inches
Fruit covering: dry or hard
Fruit color: white/gray, green

Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; showy; fruit, leaves a litter problem.

Geiger-Tree is quite salt- and brackish-water tolerant, making it ideal for use in coastal landscapes as a free-standing specimen, patio or framing tree. Most specimens are seen as multitrunked and low-branching but nurseries can produce single-trunked trees suitable for downtown and parking lots. It has been used as a street tree in some communities but drops leaves as a drought-avoidance strategy in prolonged dry spells. According to legend, the common name was bestowed by Audubon in commemoration of John Geiger, a Key West pilot and wrecker of the 19th century and is now used quite universally as the common name for this excellent Florida native tree.

Growing in full sun to partial shade, Geiger-Tree is tolerant of light, sandy, alkaline soils and salt-spray. It is highly recommended for seaside plantings. Do not plant where there is the slightest danger of frost.

Cordia boissieri is frost-resistant (tolerating temperatures in the high 20’s) and has stunning white flowers with yellow centers.

Propagation is by seeds or layering.

Kou haole, Geiger tree - with Fruit - Ajaytao

Kou haole, Geiger tree – with Fruit – Ajaytao

The Cordia sebestena has been planted through much of the warm world for its scarlet flowers and edible white drupes. While the fruits are edible their smell is better than they taste.  They are also fibrous. The tree also has a long medicinal history. Where it is from is a debate, from Cuba to the West Indies to South America. The teapot tempest rages on. The fruit of the C. alliodora is also edible. Fruit is juicy and edible raw (not the seeds) Cooking improves the flavor.

Pests

Mites, scales, and caterpillars will occasionally attack Geiger-Tree. The geiger beetle defoliates the tree upon occasion but the trees generally grow out of it and do fine. The problem can be locally troublesome.

Medicinal Uses

Essential oils have been reported to possess various medicinal properties in folkloric medical practices. Their application in modern medicine has also increased recently. Syrup of the bark, flowers, or fruit is taken for coughs and bronchial ailments. Teas made from the flowers are used to treat venereal disease. The tree’s sap is applied to wounds. Leaves washed in warm water or dressed with oil are used as poultices for headaches and sprains. Unripe fruit are emetic.

The chemical composition of the essential oil from the stem bark of Cordia sebestena obtained by hydrodistillation was determined using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and analyzed for its free radical scavenging potential using the 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) assay.

A total of nineteen compounds were identified with the major compounds being 9-octadecene (E) (20.26%), 5-octadecene (E) (18.68%), 9-eicosene (13.99%), cyclopropane, nonyl (12.42%), 3-eicosene (E) (7.29%), phenol, 2,4-bis(1,1-dimethylethyl) (4.71%), 1-nonadecene (3.17%), 7,9-di-tert-butyl-1-oxaspiro(4,5)deca-6,9-diene-2,8-dione (2.70%), and 2,6-diisopropylnaphthalene (2.17%). The DPPH radical scavenging potential of the oil was higher than the standard, butylated hydroxyanisole, with IC50 of 2.00 ± 0.31 μg/mL and 47.00 ± 1.27 μg/mL, respectively. At 50 μg/mL, the antioxidant potential of the butylated hydroxyanisole was 75% whereas the oil had 82% free radical scavenging activity. Several hydrocarbons contained in the essential oil may have contributed to the aromatic and antioxidant properties of the plant. The hydrocarbons could be useful for chemotaxonomic characterization of Cordia sebestena.

The essential oil may be further explored for its potential as an antioxidant contributor in food and phytotherapeutic medicine.

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