Indian Tree of Heaven
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Indian Tree of Heaven
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Indian Tree of Heaven, Coramandel ailanto • Hindi: महानिंब Mahanimb, महारुख Maharukh • Marathi: मरुख Marukh, माहरुख Mahrukh, महानिम्ब mahanimb • Tamil: Agal, பெருமரம் Perumaram, perumaruntu • Malayalam: Mattipongilyam, പെരു Peru, പെരുമരമ് Perumaram • Telugu: pedda, peddamandu, peddamanu • Kannada: Bende, ದೊಡ್ಡಬೇವು Dodabevu, ದೊಡ್ಡಮರ Doddamara • Oriya: mundayigatch • Sanskrit: aralu, araluka, araluvrksa
Botanical name: Ailanthus excelsa    Family: Simaroubaceae (Quassia family)

Indian Tree of Heaven is a large deciduous tree, 18-25 m tall; trunk straight, 60-80 cm in diameter; bark light grey and smooth, becoming grey-brown and rough on large trees, aromatic, slightly bitter. Leaves alternate, pinnately compound, large, 30-60 cm or more in length; leaflets 8-14 or more pairs, long stalked, ovate or broadly lance shaped from very unequal base, 6-10 cm long, 3-5 cm wide, often curved, long pointed, hairy gland; edges coarsely toothed and often lobed. Flower clusters droop at leaf bases, shorter than leaves, much branched; flowers many, mostly male and female on different trees, short stalked, greenish-yellow. Five sepals, 5 narrow petals spreading 6 mm across. Fruit a 1-seeded samara, lance shaped, flat, pointed at ends, 5 cm long, 1 cm wide, copper red, strongly veined, twisted at the base The genus name Ailanthus comes from ailanthos (tree of heaven), the Indonesian name for Ailanthus moluccana. Flowering: January-March.
Medicinal uses: Bark used in India as a powerful fever-cure and tonic. Leaves and bark in good repute as a tonic after labor, and the juice of the leaves and fresh bark employed by the Konkans as a remedy for after-pains.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed at Nehru Park, Delhi.

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