Nag Kesar
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Nag Kesar
ative Photo: Tabish
Common name: Cobra saffron, Ceylon ironwood, Indian rose chestnut • Assamese: নাহৰ nahor, নোক্তে nokte • Bengali: নাগেশ্বর nagesar • Garo: kimde • Gujarati: નાગકેસર nagkesar • Hindi: नागेसर nagesar • Kannada: ನಾಗಕೇಸರ nagakesara, ನಾಗಸಂಪಿಗೆ nagasampige • Kashmiri: नागकेसरः nagkesarah • Konkani: नाग चम्पो nag champo, व्हडलो चम्पो vhadlo champo • Malayalam: നാഗകേസരം nagakesaram • Manipuri: নাগেসৰ nageshor • Marathi: नागचाफा nag chafa, नागकेशर nagkeshar • Mizo: herh-sê • Nepali: नाग केशर nag keshar • Oriya: ନାଗକେଶର nagakeshara • Pali: नाग naga • Sanskrit: नागकेसर nagakesara • Tamil: நாகமரம் nakamaram • Telugu: నాగకేసరము naga-kesaramu • Tibetan: na ga ge sar • Tulu: ಬೈನಾವು bainavu, ಕೇಶರ keshara Source: Names of Plants in India
Botanical name: Mesua ferrea      Family: Clusiaceae (Garcinia family)

A handsome Indian evergreen tree often planted as an ornamental for its fragrant white flowers that yield a perfume; source of very heavy hardwood used for railroad ties. In olden time, the very hard timber was used for making lances. It is a small to medium-sized evergreen tree up to 13 m tall, often buttressed at the base with a trunk up to 90 cm in diameter. It has simple, narrow, oblong, dark green leaves 7-15 cm long, with a whitish underside; the emerging young leaves are red to yellowish pink and drooping. The flowers are 4-7.5 cm diameter, with four white petals and a centre of numerous yellow stamens. The flowers have many uses - they are used to make an incense and also used to stuff pillows in some countries. It is the National tree of Sri Lanka.
Medicinal uses: The leaves are applied to the head in the form of a poultice for severe colds. Oil from the seeds is used for sores, scabies, wounds, and rheumatism. The root of this herb is often used as an antidote for snake poison. The dried flowers are used for bleeding hemorrhoids and dysentery with mucus. Fresh flowers are also prescribed for excessive thirst, excessive perspiration, cough, and for indigestion.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Sundar Nursery, Delhi

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