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Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub., Butea frondosa, Erythrina monosperma, Plaso monosperma

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A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this flower. The hindi phrase “ढाक के तीन पात” (Dhaak ke teen paat) comes from the prominent three leaflets of this tree.


Vernacular name: State flower of Jharkhand, State flower of Uttar Pradesh, State Tree of Chandigarh

English: Bengal kino, Bastard Teak, Flame of the Forest, Parrot Tree

Gujarati: Kesudo

Hindi: Dhak, Palash, Tesu

Ho Mundari: Morud

Manipuri: Pangong

Marathi: Palas

Punjabi: Keshu

Sanskrit: Kinshuk

Santhali: Murup

Tamil: Plasu, Chamata

Telugu: Modugu chettu

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Kingdom: Plantae – plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants

Subkingdom: Viridiplantae

Infrakingdom: Streptophyta – land plants

Superdivision: Embryophyta

Division: Tracheophyta – vascular plants, tracheophytes

Subdivision: Spermatophytina – spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames

Class: Magnoliopsida

Superorder: Rosanae

Order: Fabales

Family: Fabaceae – peas, legumes

Genus: Butea Roxb. ex Willd.

Species: Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub. – Bengal kino, Bastard Teak, Flame of the Forest, Parrot Tree – (Syn. Butea frondosa, Erythrina monosperma, Plaso monosperma)

Phytogeography: It is native to tropical and subtropical parts of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia (India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam).

Plant description

Habit: Flame of the Forest is a medium sized tree, growing from 20 to 40 feet high, and the trunk is usually crooked and twisted with irregular branches and rough, grey bark. It is seen in all its ugliness in December and January when most of the leaves fall: but from January to March it truly becomes a tree of flame, a riot of orange and vermilion flowers covering the entire crown.

Leaves: The leaves are pinnate, with an 8-16 cm petiole and three leaflets, each leaflet 10-20 cm long.

Flowers: Scentless, are massed along the ends of the stalks-dark velvety green like the cup-shaped calices and the brilliance of the stiff, bright flowers is shown off to perfection by this deep, contrasting colour. Each flower consists of five petals comprising one standard, two smaller wings and a very curved beak-shaped keel. It is this keel which gives it the name of Parrot Tree.

Flowering season: Flowers bloom at early summer or at the end of winter (March to April).

Propagation: Seeds

Parts used: Flower, leaves, bark, stem and gum

Phytochemical Constituents: (-)-medicarpin; a-Amyrin; 10, 16-dihydroxyhexadecanoic acid; 15-Hydroxypentacosanoic acid; 2,14-dihydroxy-11,12-dimethyl-8-oxo-octadec-11-enylcyclohexane; 21-methylene-22-hydroxy-24-oxooctacosanoic acid Methyl ester; 3, 9-dimethoxypterocarpan; 3',4',7- trihydroxyflavone; 3-hydroxy-9~methoxypterocarpan [(-)-medicarpin]; 3-methoxy-8,9-methylenedioxypterocarp-6-ene; 3-Z-hydroxyeuph-25-ene; 4-pentacosanylphenol; 5, 6, 7, 4’-tetrahydroxy-8-methoxyisoflavone 6-O-rhamnopyranoside; 5-methoxygenistein; 7-glucoside; 8-C-prenylquercetin 7,4'-di-Omethyl-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1-4)-α L-rhamnopyranoside; Alanind; Alanine; Allophanic acid; Arachidic acid; Aspartic acid; Aurones; Behenic acid; Butein; Butin; Butolic acid; Butrin; Calcium; Chalcones; Coreopsin; Crude fiber; Crude protein; Cyanidin; e-sitosterone; Fructose; Gallic acid; Glucose; Glucoside; Histidine; Isobutrin; Isobutyine; isocoreopsin (butin 7-glucoside); Isomonospermoside; Jalaric esters I and II; Jalaric esters I, II; Kino-tannic acid; Laccijalaric esters III and IV; Laccijalaric esters III, IV; Lignoceric acid; Linolenic acid; Lupenone; Lupeol; Lypolytic enzyme; Minerals; Miroestrol; Monospermin; monospermoside (butein3-e-D-glucoside); Mucilaginous material; Myricyl alcohol; Myristic acid; N-free extract; nheneicosanoic acid δ-lactone; Nonacosanoic acid; Oil (yellow, tasteless); Oleic acid; Palasimide; Palasitrin; Palmitic acid; Pentacosanyl-β-Dglucopyranoside; Phenylalanine; Phosphatidylcholine; Phosphatidylethanolamine; Phosphatidylinositol; Phosphorus; Polypeptidase; Proteinase; Proteolytic enzyme; Prunetin; Pyrocatechin; Shellolic acid; Sitosterol; Somonospermoside; Stearic acid; Stigmasterol; Stigmasterol-3-α-Larabinopyranoside; Stigmasterol-e-D-glucopyranoside; sucrose; Sulphurein; Tannins; Triterpene; Triterpenoid ester, 3α- hydroxyeuph-25-enyl heptacosanoate; Z-amyrin; β-sitosterol; β-sitosterol-β-D-glucoside;

Pharmacological actions: Analgesic; Anthelmintic; Antibacterial; Anticancer; Anticonvulsive; Antidiabetic; Antifertility; Antifungal; Anti-inflammatory; Antimicrobial; Antiesterogenic; Antioxidative; Antiperoxidative; Aphrodisiac; Astringent; Chemopreventive; Contraceptive; Depurative; Diuretic; Dyspepsia; Free radical scavenger; Haemagglutinator; Hepatoprotective; Hypoglycemic; Sore throat; Snake bite; Thyroid inhibitory; Tonic;

Medicinal uses: Diarrhoea; Dysentery; Epilepsy; Eye disease; Febrifuge; Fever; Filariasis; Flatulence; Giardiasis; Gout; Helminthiasis; Leprosy; Leucorrhoea; Liver disorders; Night blindness; Piles; Splenomegaly; Tumour; Ulcer;

Other uses: In olden days, the flowers of Tesu were used to make colour for the festival of Holi. The tree is one of the most important hosts for the lac insect. It is used for timber, resin, fodder, medicine and dye. The wood is dirty white and soft, being durable under water, is used for well-curbs and water scoops. Good charcoal can be made from its wood. Leaves are much used for plates and as wrappers. Leaves are good fodder. It is also cultivated as an ornamental tree.

It is said that the tree is a form of Agnidev, God of Fire. In the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh, these flowers are specially used in the worship of Lord Shiva on occasion of Shivratri.

Dosage and administration: The plant parts are used in the form of extract, juice, infusion, powder and gum.


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