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.
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.