Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Temple plant (বরুণ ফুল) - Crataeva religiosa

Bengali Name : Borun (বরুন ফুল), Barna (বর্ণা ফুল), Boinna (বৈন্যা ফুল).
Common Name : Temple plant, Sacred garlic pear, Spider tree.
Botanical Name : Crataeva religiosa
Synonym : Crateva religiosa
Family : Capparaceae






The binomial name of the flower is Crataeva religiosa, and if you notice the species name religiosa then you'd probably have realized that the name is related to something religion. And yes it is, this is a sacred flowering plant in India. The leafs of this plant use to worship the Lord Siva (শিব) during the Mahashivaratri (মহা শিবরাত্রি).





It has several common names such as Temple plant, Sacred garlic pear, Spider tree, etc. In Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) it also has several names such as Borun (বরুণ/বরুন), Borna (বর্ণা), Boinna (বৈন্যা), etc. This plant belongs to the family Capparaceae, and native to the Indian subcontinent along with Southeast Asia.





Spider tree (বরুণ / বরুন ফুল) is a medium sized deciduous plant that is widely available around the Bangladesh (not in Dhaka city). Leafs are trifoliate and aromatic when crushed. Slightly glossy leafs are linearly elliptic and occurs as a cluster with a common petiole. This plant mostly found around the river bank and wetland area.


These are not flower buds, rather these are filament of flower bud.



Flowers are a real beauty of the plant. This plant brings the showy flower profusely. It has four petals which are initially white but later turns into yellowish white (or creamy) in color. Similar to the leafs the flowers also bloom as a cluster. The arrangement of the petals on the flower is not symmetric. All four petals are at the one half of the flower and other half is empty.


The tree at the edge of the Botanical garden.



Temple plant (বরুণ ফুল) flowers are having lot of stamens which are very long and dark purple in color. The filament atop of the stamen also having the same color. The flower buds are slightly different for this flower. Unlike the other flowers these are having stamens and style open (not covered with bract or petals). And the filaments are slightly larger and resembles as a flower bud itself.





Fruits are round shaped and having a color of whitish green or greyish green. They are having a hard shell around and produce a very bad smell when broken. But still this fruit is having few medicinal value (I can't remember any right now).


Notice the yellow flowers around the whites.



This plant is abundantly occurs around the districts Manikganj (মানিকগঞ্জ), Munsiganj (মুন্সিগঞ্জ) along with others near the wetlands (হাওর). Flower blooms during the Spring (March-April) here in Bangladesh and the fruits are available around the rainy season. In some parts the villagers use to fry the green leaf to eat with rice.





Temple plant (বরুণ) is a highly revered medicinal plant. The bark, extract of the root, etc are the main ingredients. Apart from these the leafs are very useful to ripen the green fruits quickly in a natural way. But these days people do not use this technique as the Calcium carbide is widely available and cheap.

















Photos of this article were taken from Bangladesh as mentioned below.
1) 03 March 2015: Botanical garden, Mirpur, Dhaka (মিরপুর, ঢাকা).
   It was near the western wall of the premise (beside a pond).
   The GPS coordinate is (23°49'20.98"N, 90°20'42.19"E).



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

ফুলের জন্য ভালোবাসা, আমি বুনো ফুল...



Sunday, July 26, 2015

Holly Mangrove (হাড়গোজা ফুল) - Acanthus ilicifolius

Bengali Name : Hargoja (হাড়গোজা ফুল), Hargoja (হাড়গজা ফুল), Harkuch (হাড়কুচ ফুল).
Common Name : Holly Mangrove, Sea Holly.
Botanical Name : Acanthus ilicifolius
Family : Acanthaceae






Holly mangrove is a plant from the sea shoreline and not found any other places (from the name 'mangrove' it is easily understandable). This plant is full with thorns (and interestingly at leafs too) but produces a cluster of beautiful flowers. It has another name that is Sea holly. In Bangladesh we call this as Hargoja (হারগোজা), Hargoja (হাড়গজা), or Harkuch (হাড়কুচ).





This plant is native to the South and Southeast Asian seashore and probably later introduced into the Australian region (or vice-versa). Binomial name of the plant is Acanthus ilicifolius. It pertains to the plant family Acanthaceae. Most of the mangrove plants discard the salt from the seawater but this plant keeps the salt in it. That's why the sap of the plant is salty. This is a medicinal plant and people from Southeast Asia use it to soothe rheumatism and neuralgia.





Sea Holly (হাড়গোজা) is an erect herbaceous plant that can grow around 0.5 to 1.5 meter in height. The stem of the plant is yellowish (or reddish yellow) and spiny. Dark green leafs are wavy and having thorn at the upper and lower peak of the wave. This happen when the plant is totally exposed to the sun. Leafs are arranged oppositely and having short petiole.





There is another plant named 'Holly' is having similar type of those 'exposed' leafs of Sea Holly. That's why the plant got the name Sea Holly or Holly mangrove. But remember, the plant doesn't produce such spiny leafs when it is in a heavy shade. So do not get surprised if you see two type of leafs on this plant at different condition!


Thick bush of Holly Mangrove (হাড়গোজা) that is nearly impossible to penetrate.



To me the Holly Mangrove (হাড়গোজা) flowers are delicately beautiful. They are showy and light blue or light violet in color. Blooms as a spike shaped cluster. Blooming season is December to May usually. Plant produces capsule like fruits those explode when ripened. By this way seeds can be dispersed around 2 meter from the parent plant.





This Holly mangrove plant is not a threat for the other plants but it is an invasive one. I have seen this plant growing massively around the mangrove area of our Southern Bangladesh. Those bushes are too dense and it was really difficult for us to move forward by avoiding those thorny leafs and stems.





Photos of this article were taken from Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) as mentioned below:
1) 20 December 2014: Sonarchor, Patuakhali (সোনারচর, পটুয়াখালী).


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

ফুলের জন্য ভালোবাসা, আমি বুনো ফুল...



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Red-whiskered bulbul (সিপাহি বুলবুলি) - Pycnonotus jocosus

Bengali Name : Sipahi bulbuli (সিপাহি বুলবুলি), Chayna Bulbuli (চায়না বুলবুলি).
Common Name : Red-whiskered bulbul.
Binomial : Pycnonotus jocosus
Synonym : Otocompsa emeria
Family : Pycnonotidae






It is a small bird, yet attractive one. Its name is Red-whiskered bulbul for the noticeable red feathers behind the eye (on face). In Bangladesh we call it Sipahi Bulbul (সিপাহি বুলবুলি) that means Soldier Bulbul in English. The name can be a misleading one in Bengali, because these birds are not quarrel like or aggressive, rather they are very quiet and calm bird. But from my understanding, the bird looks like a soldier wearing nice uniform, and also the crest at the top justify the claim strongly.


A white tip is visible at the under-tail.



This small sized attractive bird is native to the tropical Indian region but introduced into other tropical region too. Binomial name of the bird is Pycnonotus jocosus and belongs to the Bulbul bird family Pycnonotidae. This bird was mentioned by the famous botanist Carolus Linnaeus on his book Systema Naturae at 1758.





From my judgement, the Red-whiskered bulbul (সিপাহি বুলবুলি) is one of the many beautiful birds from Bangladesh. This is not frequently seen around city area here in Dhaka or other towns. But at the hilly area, edge of the forest, or at urban garden this bird is prominently seen. This is a frugivorous bird, means mostly live on the fruits.





This small bird is having the upper part is brown in color with the head is black, and has a black cone shaped crest at the top of the head. The front, throat, and underpart of the bird is white in color. The vent is red colored, and also behind the eyes it has red feathers around the mustache line. The beak and the feet are black in color. Both male and female birds are similar in outlook.


Video of Red-whiskered bulbul (সিপাহি বুলবুলি) foraging.



Red-whiskered bulbul (সিপাহি বুলবুলি) mainly seen foraging with a small group or a pair. They restlessly move from one tree to another for searching the fruits. During the breeding season they use to make a small cup shaped nest. Both the parents take part to raise the babies. Initially they feed on caterpillars and insects, but later they change the food habit into fruits while maturing.





At ancient time the bird was a popular one to use as a cage bird (this practice still persists in some places). They had to accept such fate due to their attractive beauty. And being a docile bird people used to train the bird to sit on the hand.





Here the red vent is clearly visible.



A pair of Red-whiskered bulbul (সিপাহি বুলবুলি) foraging.















Photos of this article were taken from Bangladesh as listed below:
1) 13 December 2015: Kalenga Reserve Forest, Habiganj (কালেঙ্গা রিসার্ভ ফরেস্ট, হবিগঞ্জ).


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

শেষ বিকেলের পাখী, আমি যাযাবর...



Sunday, July 19, 2015

Grass pea (খেসারী কলাই) - Lathyrus sativus

Bengali Name : Kheshari Kolai (খেসারি কলাই), Kheshari Kalai (খেসারী কালাই)
Common Name : Grass pea, Blue sweet pea, Chickling vetch.
Botanical Name : Lathyrus sativus
Family : Fabaceae (pea family)



Flower of Grass pea (খেসারী কলাই ফুল).



Today I am going to introduce another flower that belongs to the cultivated crops in Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ). It is mainly a winter crop here in Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ). I have seen this crop has been cherished around the sandy soil in our country where other crops struggle to survive.





It is known as Grass pea, Blue sweet pea, Chickling vetch, Indian vetch, etc in general. The binomial name of this crop plant is Lathyrus sativus and belongs to the plant family Fabaceae. In Bengali (বাংলা) we use to call this as Khesari Kolai (খেসারি কলাই). This plant is native to Indian region but grows well in Africa too.





Grass pea is an annual crop plant grows as bushy by trailing and crawling around the ground. Slender grass-like leafs are alternately arranged with having terminal tendrils. On the cultivated field it looks like a mile after mile of grass field. This highly drought tolerance plant doesn't need that much care to grow.


Upper side of the petal is pinkish in color. Also notice the bract.



Typical small pea like flowers are strikingly blue. Upper side of the petal is having a pinkish color. Deep vein on the petal is visible. Both male and female organ exist inside the same flower (hermaphrodite). The bract of the flower looks like a funnel with a shape of star. Fruits are pod like and having 3-5 seeds.





Grass pea (খেসারী কলাই) is a pulse crop and the seeds are being used in several dishes. One such is the traditional Daal (ডাল), a soup like recipe that is popular in this Indian subcontinent. Also a handmade bread named Kolai ruti (কলাই রুটি) is made from from the flour of the seeds. Seeds provide a great amount of protein for both human and the domestic animals.





Though the seeds are palatable and full with nutrient, but consuming too much seeds as a diet (more than 30% of total diet) can be fatal for the human. That means you can not rely on this entirely. That can cause Lathyrism and can make you cripple or paralyzed. Previously this was one of the main crops in Bangladesh, but after the spread of that news the cultivation had stopped long time ago. Now a days farmers cultivate this on a very small scale.


Deep vein is visible on the petals.



Human can use the plant as a vegetable and can be consumed after frying. Also the domestic animals can take the plant as well. But both cases the quantity is a factor as it contains toxins. Another benefit of the plant is to use it as a crop rotation plant. It can return back the fertility to the soil that has declined due to cultivating the same crop again and again.





Photos of this article were taken from Bangladesh as mentioned location:
1) 23 January 2015: Near Dhaleswari river, Munsiganj (মুন্সিগঞ্জ).


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



Saturday, July 4, 2015

Asian Koyel (কোকিল) - Eudynamys scolopaceus

Bengali Name : Kokil (কোকিল), (এশীয় কোকিল).
Common Name : Asian Koyel.
Binomial/Scientific Name : Eudynamys scolopaceus
Synonym : Cuculus scolopaceus
Family : Cuculidae






গানের পাখি হিসাবে বাংলাদেশে এই কোকিলের অনেক সুনাম। বসন্তের শুরুতেই এদের উচ্চ স্বরে ডাকাডাকি শুরু হয়ে যায়। সুরেলা এই ডাকের সাথেই বোঝা যায় প্রকৃতিতে বসন্তের আবির্ভাব ঘটতে যাচ্ছে। যার কারণে এই পাখিকে বলা হয় বসন্তের প্রতীক। পুরুষ এবং স্ত্রী কোকিল দেখতে আলাদা রকমের হয়। অনেকে আবার ভুল করে এদেরকে আলাদা আলাদা পাখি বলেও মনে করে। আমরা যে সুরেলা কুউ-কুউ ডাক বসন্তে শুনি সেইটা কিন্তু ডাকে পুরুষ কোকিল। স্ত্রী কোকিল খুব অল্প স্বরে ডাকে (বা ডাকেইনা বলা চলে)। কোকিল একটি পরজীবী পাখি, অন্যের বাসায় ডিম পাড়ে।





Asian Koyel is a native bird from Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) and it does have a wide range including South Asia and Southeast Asian region. It belongs to the family Cuculidae and the binomial name of the bird is Eudynamys scolopaceus. In our country Bangladesh we call this bird as Kokil (কোকিল).


Notice the crimson/red eye of the male bird.



There are very few birds in this word where the male and the female are having a completely different outlook. This Asian Koyel (কোকিল) is one such bird from the very few. The male bird is having a black but shiny color (or can say glossy blue). It is a large sized bird having a long tail. The color of the bill is greyish and slightly hooked. The color of the eye is crimson/red and having a black pupil. The color of the feet and legs are also grey of this male bird.


Asian Koyel female (স্ত্রী কোকিল).



The female Asian Koyel (স্ত্রী কোকিল) is having a different outlook. The upper parts (head, back, wings, upper tail) are having black with heavily dotted (or streaked) with white. The undersides of the bird (breast, belly, under tail) is having white with streaked with black. The beak, legs, and feet are similar to the male bird.


Asian Koyel female (স্ত্রী কোকিল).



In Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) the male Asian Koyel (পুরুষ কোকিল) is known as the harbinger of the Spring. The call of this male bird if very loud and sweet sounding. They are mostly vocal during the breeding season which is February to August here in Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ). The call is like Ku-oo Ku-oo. In Bangladesh this bird is known as a singing bird and we have lot of poems and songs in Bengali (বাংলা) literature.





They mostly prefer to live inside the dense leafed trees and very shy to come in open space. But with their loud call they are easy to locate. They mainly prefer to live around the light forest or woodland. That's why they are frequently found around our villages as we have more or less trees around our houses.





Asian Koyel (কোকিল) is mainly a frugivorous (means feed on fruits). The mostly found foraging around the ripe fruits on the trees (i.e. papaya, banyan, banana, etc). I have see female bird trying to sneak a bite from the ripe papaya on a tree. Also I have seen another female to look for the fruits from the Polyalthia longifolia tree as well. But this bird takes insects, caterpillars as a meal too.





This is a brood parasite bird, means lay eggs on other bird's nest. Crows are mostly known as their host for this purpose. But they also choose the Common myna, Long tailed starling, etc birds as a host. A female mainly lays one or two eggs on a single host's nest at a time (means using multiple hosts). The males are found to distract the host while the female laying the egg.





Female lays eggs within a day or two after the host lays their eggs. And her eggs hatched 2-3 days earlier than that host's eggs. In that way the juveniles get the initial meals from the host parents and after gaining strength it competes with the siblings for food and make them starving. If it is found that the chicks are not getting foods from the host parents, then the female uses to feed her babies when the host parents are not around.


A female Asian Koyel (স্ত্রী কোকিল) hiding inside the bush.









A male Asian koyel (কোকিল) with a Banyan fruit.









Photos of this article were taken from Bangladesh as mentioned below:
1) 16 December 2014: Keraniganj, Dhaka (কেরানীগঞ্জ, ঢাকা).
2) 21 December 2014: Kukri-mukri, Bhola (কুকরি-মুকরি, ভোলা).
3) 06 March 2015: Boranical Garden, Dhaka (বোটানিক্যাল গার্ডেন, ঢাকা).


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

শেষ বিকেলের পাখী, আমি যাযাবর...