Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ceylon oak (কুসুম গাছ) - Schleichera oleosa

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Bengali Name : Kusum gachh (কুসুম গাছ), Kushum gachh (কুসুম গাছ).
Common Name : Ceylon oak, Kusum tree, Indian lac tree, Gum lac tree.
Botanical Name : Schleichera oleosa
Family : Sapindaceae

আমাদের দেশে কুসুম নামে একটা ফুল আগে থেকেই আছে। আর আজকের এই গাছটির নামও কুসুম। নামটি যদিও হিন্দিতে বেশি ব্যবহৃত হয়, তার পর বাংলায় খুবই মানানসই। এই জন্য আমরাও এই গাছকে কুসুম গাছ বলেই ডাকি। গাছটির ফুল কিন্তু মোটেও আকর্ষনীয় কিছু না। বসন্তের সময় টকটকে লাল রঙের পাতার জন্য এই গাছের সমাদর বেশি। বসন্ত ছাড়াও সারা বছর অল্প বেশি কচি লাল পাতা দেখা যায় গাছে। কুসুমের ফল থেকে তৈরী হয় এক রকম তেল, যার নাম কুসুম তেল। মাথার চুলের সাজগোজের জন্য ভালো দরকারী এই তেল।

There are lot of plants in this world which bring beautiful flowers, and in contrast there are also lot of plants which do not bring eye catching flowers. Few of those plants are still attractive for the lovely colorful foliage. Our today's plant Ceylon oak tree is one of those.

This plant is known as Kusum tree (Hindi name), Ceylon oak, etc. It doesn't have any Bengali name, hence we also know this as Kushum (কুসুম) or Kusum (কুসুম). There is another flower in Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) that is also known as Kusum (কুসুম), that's why this plant is mostly known as Kushum gachh (কুসুম গাছ).

Kusum tree (কুসুম গাছ) is a plant that is native to this South Asian region, but found few at Southeast Asian region too. The binomial name of the plant is Schleichera oleosa. The species name oleosa means for 'oily' or 'rich in oil'. It pertains to the plant family Sapindaceae.

Lot of flies on the flower cluster!

This is a medium to tall growing tree having a height of 20-30 meter. Initially the tree is on a firm base then branched around. The leafs are having lovely colorful foliage. Initial color of the leafs are scarlet, bright red. The tree brings such leafs more or less everyday. But during the spring the amount of new leafs are profuse.

The leafs then turn into light green that is also a lovely foliage, and stay on that form for few days. Later the leafs turns into dark green. Compound leafs are having 4-8 leaflets which are having short petiole. Alternately arranged veins are visible on the leafs. It is a deciduous plant by the way!

Ceylon oak (কুসুম গাছ) brings tiny flower as soon as after the new leafs during spring. They are not that much attractive or showy. Flowers bloom as a cluster and the color is yellowish or creamy. The petals are not visible, only the stamens with yellowish filaments are visible on flower. The flower attracts lot of flies and wasps (not sure why the flies).

Lot of flies on the flower cluster!

I have found the fruits during the June, that means it takes around two months to turn the flowers into fruits. Nut like fruits are small ball shaped. Initially they are green and later they turns into brick red color.

The seed of Ceylon oak (কুসুম) provide a nice oil that is known as Kusum oil (কুসুম তেল). This oil is popular for hairdressing (I have seen an ad for this oil long time back, forgot the brand name). Apart from this, the oil is also consumable after refining. This oil can also be used as a massage oil.

The bark of the tree has few medicinal uses (i.e. it can be used against the menstrual problem). The reddish brown wood of the plant is very hard and they are very useful as a grinder. For example grinding rice to make flour, or grinding seeds to extract oil.

Inside the Dhaka city you'll find plenty of such trees around the streets. Just look for the colorful leafs or lovely green foliage. Inside and around the Romna park (রমনা পার্ক) it has plenty. Also around the Dhaka university area we have quite a few of this tree.

Ceylon oak's fruit.

Ceylon oak's fruit.

Ceylon oak's fruit.

Red looking Ceylon oak tree with new leafs.

Green Ceylon oak tree after changing color.

Initial green leafs are also looking beautiful.

I have taken the photos from Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) as mentioned below:
1) March 2015: Romna park, Dhaka (রমনা পার্ক, ঢাকা) : Flowers
2) June 2015: Romna park, Dhaka (রমনা পার্ক, ঢাকা) : Fruits

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

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