Markundi

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  Markundi  Butea Gum Tree
 BOTANICAL NAME:
Buteamonosperm
REGIONAL NAME:
Bengali: Palas
Punjabi: Chichra
Persian: Palah
Hindi: Tesu, Dhak, Palas.
Pashto: Kammarkas
Sanskrit: Palasha
Sindhi: Khalas Papari
UNANI/TIBBI NAME:
Palas, Dhak, Tesu, Chenia Gond
ENGLISH NAME:
The flame of the forest
Butea gum tree (the gum is known as Bengal kino or Butea kino)

Butea is a well known tree found on the Indian subcontinent. It is scientifically known as Butea monosperma. The Butea tree belongs to the Faboideae and Leguminosae family. The trees grow rapidly and can reach up to a height of 40 feet. They bear crimson and bright orange flowers which has led to tree being popularly known as the “flame of the forest”. The flowers appear during February to March after the leaves are shed in winter.

Butea is a well known tree found on the Indian subcontinent. It is scientifically known as Butea monosperma. The Butea tree belongs to the Faboideae and Leguminosae family. The trees grow rapidly and can reach up to a height of 40 feet. They bear crimson and bright orange flowers which has led to tree being popularly known as the “flame of the forest”. The flowers appear during February to March after the leaves are shed in winter. The clusters of flowers blooming on the leafless branches present a unique sight as if the tree is aflame. The Butea is also known as Butea Frondosa after the Earl of Bute who took an active interest in the study of plants and leaves. The term Frondosa means “leafy”.

What is the history of the Butea Tree?

The Butea is native to India growing mainly in the deciduous forests of Western and Central India. It is also found in Sri Lanka and Burma and grows easily in black cotton soil, waterlogged and swampy grounds as well as barren lands. But it cannot grow in the dry arid regions. The various names of the Butea tree include Butea Gum Tree, Papasa in Sanskrit, Markundi in Hindi and Pauk in Burmese among others. The Butea tree is regarded as a sacred tree in India and is widely used in rituals related to sacrifice practices. Sacred vessels are made from its wood while the dry branches of the tree are used for the sacred fire. The crimson flowers representing blood are offered to goddess Kali during sacrifice rituals.

What are the features of the Butea Leaves?

Butea Leaves grow during April to May having a width of 10-18″ .The leaves have a soft and velvety appearance when fresh and appear as pale green in color. The old leaves appear tough like leather and have a smooth appearance on the top with a hairy underneath. The tree looks bare during the winter months of December and January when all its leaves fall off.

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