Sunday, April 19, 2015

Indian Lilac (নিম ফুল) - Azadirachta indica

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Bengali Name : Neem ful (নিম ফুল), Sada Neem (সাদা নিম), etc.
Common Name : Neem, Indian lilac, etc.
Botanical Name : Azadirachta indica
Synonym : Antelaea azadirachta
Family : Meliaceae (mahogany family)

Neem (নিম) is a very useful tree that is native from our South Asian region. Both the common and local name for the plant is Neem (নীম). But in English it has a pompous name that is Indian lilac. Botanical name of this plant is Azadirachta indica and it belongs to the plant family Meliaceae (mahogany family). For your information, the word নিম can be written as নীম as well.

Neem (নিম) is a very fast growing plant that can grow even in a poor soil. This plant can grow up to a height of 20 meter as its maximum. This is an evergreen plant but I have seen this dropping few leafs during the winter. Pinnate leafs are alternately arranged and having 12-25 leaflets. Each of the leaflets are having curvy at one side and toothed at the both sides. The whole plant including the tree is bitter in taste. The plant is not that much hard like other trees.

Neem flowers (নিম ফুল) are very small and blooms as a cluster. Blooming season is the Spring and Summer here in Bangladesh which is from February to May. They are white in color and that is a reason to call this plant as Shada neem (সাদা নিম) in Bengali which means White neem. Small flowers are having five petals with a slightly long stalk. At the middle of the flower it has a cylindrical thing that comprises of the male and female reproduction system of the flower where the filaments and the stigmas are located at the top. Fruits are small berry like and taste bitter. If you squeeze the ripe fruit then it will produce a pungent smell.

The plant has hardly any enemies as it is bitter in taste. Even the insects which use to live inside the stem of a tree by making a hole try to avoid this plant. That's why the farmers uses this Neem (নিম) as pest control (dried or powder Neem mixing with water). Such method doesn't kill the insect, but prevent them from coming or make them die from starving. Also the Neem (নিম) leafs are useful to protect the seeds as it prevents the insects from approaching.

In medicinal uses the plant is heavily rich and has been using since the ancient time. The whole plant (leaf, bark, stem, flower, root) is useful to cure lot of diseases (probably around 40). Such medicinal applications are against the skin ulcer, eye problem, diabetics, cough, urinary disorder, leprosy, gum problem, etc. Even in our part of the world people are also making Meswak (মেসওয়াক), a stick that they use to clean the teeth like a toothbrush.

I can remember an incident from my childhood regarding this Neem (নিম). My mother always boiled the bath water with the Neem (নিম) leafs whenever I got any skin problems. Another one was funny and that is related with my uncle. He always got himself hurt during the afternoon football playing. That's why he always put few bunches of Neem (নিম) leafs hanging on his room's door from the belief that the pain couldn't enter inside his room for those leafs.

বাংলায় নিম বা নিম ফুল নিয়ে কিছু তুলে ধরার মতন সৃষ্টি:
- নিম তিতা, নিশিন্দা তিতা, তিতা পানের খর। তার থেকেও বেশি তিতা ...
(গানের বাকিটুক বাকিটুকু খুঁজে নিন নিজ দায়িত্বে)
- আমাদের প্রয়াত লেখক হুমায়ূন আহমেদের 'চোখ' গল্প অবলম্বনে অনেক আগে বিটিভিতে দেখেছিলাম নাটক 'নিম ফুল'।

Photos of this article were taken from the Gulshan (গুলশান) of Dhaka during April 2015. It was the road just beside the lake near Bonani bridge of road 11. The wind was too heavy and the branches were swerving heavily.

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

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