Monday, June 27, 2011

Kanak Champa

The Kanak Champa Pterospermum acerifolium is a big tree with fragrant flowers. The tree is also known as the 'Dinner Plate tree' , because of its big round leaves, which are woven into dinner plates in some parts of India. The flowers fall after a day. They look like peeled bananas.
The timber of this tree is used to make planks. The bark is used in traditional medicine. The tree grows to an immense size, resembling the teak tree. It is found in the deciduous forests of the Western Ghats and Central India.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blue Tiger

The butterfly Blue Tiger Tirumala limniace has started appearing in gardens now.Here, it is resting on the plant of Black Nightshade Solanum negrum which grows wild in unexpected corners of my garden. I like the tiny black fruit of the plant, which is said to be a good antioxidant. The leaves and fruit of this plant are widely used in Ayurveda, the Indian medicine system. The fruit has culinary uses too. It is called Ganike in Kannada.
The plant is used in Chinese medicine to prevent cervical cancer.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Melastoma malabathricum

The 'Malabar Rhododendron Melastoma malabathricum grows in the wild in India. It has attractive large pink flowers which last only a day. The name Melastoma came from the Latin meaning 'black mouth', because children who eat its fruit have their mouths stained black.
It is called Nekkarike in Kannada, and the leaves are used to cure dysentry and piles.
The plant is a host for the Sailor butterfly.
A very important quality of the plant is that it sequesters aluminium which contaminates the soil near aluminium mines.