Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Persian lilac (ঘোড়ানিম ফুল) - Melia azedarach

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Bengali Name : Ghora neem (ঘোড়া নিম), Boro neem (বড় নিম).
Common Name : Persian lilac, White ceder, etc.
Botanical Name : Melia azedarach
Synonym : Melia australis
Family : Meliaceae (mahogany family)

কয়দিন আগেই দেশী নিম ফুল বা ছোট নিম ফুল নিয়ে লিখেছিলাম। আজকে পরিচয় করিয়ে দিচ্ছি আরো একটি নিমের সাথে, যাকে আমরা 'ঘোড়া নিম' বা 'বড় নিম' বলে চিনি। এই নিমের ফুল আকারে একটু বড় আর রঙিন। রয়েছে হালকা সুগন্ধ। শুরুতে বাংলাদেশে সৌন্দর্য বর্ধনের জন্য লাগানো হলেও এখন মানুষ কাঠের জন্য চাষ করতে শুরু করেছে বানিজ্যিক ভাবে। এই গাছের কাঠের রয়েছে অনেক চাহিদা। শক্তপোক্ত কাঠ, আর তেতো হবার কারনে সহজেই ঘুণে ধরেনা। তাই আসবাবপত্র তৈরিতে নিশ্চিন্তে ব্যবহার করা যায় এই কাঠ।

Few days back I have written another article that was for Indian lilac flower. Now today It is going to be the Persian lilac flower which belongs to the same plant family Meliaceae and having lot more similarities. But this flower is more colorful and beautiful compare to the previous one. It has several bookish name which are White ceder, Chinaberry tree, etc. In Bangladesh we call this as Ghora-neem (ঘোড়ানিম), Gora-neem (গোঁড়ানিম), Moha-neem (মহানিম), Boro-neem (বড়নিম), etc. Botanical name of this flower is Melia azedarach. This plant is native to the Southeast Asia and Australia. Also grows naturally at the Himalayan range.

This is a small to medium sized plant which can grow up to 40 feet in normal circumstances. The leafs are compound and having two levels of leaflets (bookish term is bipinnate, means twice feather like) and can be 1-2 feet long. The leaf is having a very long petiole and having 5-11 leaflets. Each of the leaflets are then further having 5-11 leaflets. Finally the small leaflets are symmetric (not like the Asymmetric Indian lilac). Leaflets are elliptic or ovate and pointed at the top. This plant is having similarity with the Indian lilac and can be confused with that one. For easier identify, this Persian lilac (ঘোড়ানিম) is slight smaller and less dense, and the leaflets are slightly broad and having a symmetric shape. Leafs are bitter in taste, but not that much like the Indian lilac.

Of course you can easily identify the Persian lilac (ঘোড়ানিম) plant from its flower. They are light violet or lilac in color. Flowers are star shaped and much larger than the Indian lilac flower. It has five petals and crown like reproduction system at the center. The flower turns into white before withering. This flower is delicately beautiful, and having slight fragrance. Flower blooms as a cluster and the blooming season is Spring (February-March) here in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has familiarity with the Indian lilac since the ancient time. But the Persian lilac (ঘোড়ানিম) is new in our country. Even a few decades back this plant was rare in our country. But these days this is frequently seen around us. Initially the plant was an ornamental plant for its beautiful flowers.

But the Persian lilac (ঘোড়ানিম) tree is being cultivated commercially by our farmers. This small growing tree provides a good timber. No insects or anything those are harmful dare to approach towards this tree or timber for the bitterness. That's why the wood has a demand for making furniture.

Persian lilac has more or less medicinal uses similar to the Indian lilac. The extract from the several portion of the tree is useful against the roundworm, asthma, etc. The fruit is useful to prepare an oil that can be used as an insect repellent. The fruit is poisonous for the human beings, but for the birds it is not. For example the fruit is a favorite meal for the Indian grey hornbill birds.

Photos of this article were taken from the Mirpur Botanical Garden, Dhaka (মিরপুর বোটানিক্যাল গার্ডেন, ঢাকা). It was the February 2015 and I was there to observe birds but got this flower.

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog http://icwow.blogspot.com/

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