Botanical name: Grewia optiva Family: Tiliaceae (Phalsa family)
Synonyms: Grewia oppositifolia
Bihul is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree, 9-12 m in height. Crown is spreading, bole is clear, 3-4 m, and about 1 m diameter. Branches are smooth, pale silvery-brown, bark dark brown, thick and roughish, peeling in small woody scales. Blaze is rather fibrous, pale yellow, often tinged pink towards the exterior, juice slimy. Leaves are opposite, 5-13 cm x 3-6 cm, ovate, long-pointed, closely toothed, teeth small, blunt. Leaves are rough and hairy above, velvety beneath. Base is rounded, slightly oblique, 3-nerved. Leaf-stalk is 0.3-1 cm long, stout, velvety. Stipules are 0.5 cm long, linear subulate, falling off. Flowers are borne 1-8 together, on a solitary stalk, opposite the leaf or exceptionally in leaf axils. The stalk is 2-3.5 cm long, densely hairy. Flowers yellowish-red, about 3.5 cm across. Sepals 1-1.5 cm long, linear oblong, 3-ribbed, green outside, white, pale yellow or red inside. Petals are white or pale yellow, shorter than the sepals, linear, claw distinct. Fruit is a drupe, 1-4 lobed, each lobe about 0.8 cm in diameter, olive green then black when ripe. The genus was named after Nehemiah Grew (1641-1712), one of the founders of plant physiology. Bihul is found in the Himalayan regions in Pakistan, Nepal, India, usually between 500 and 2500 m. Flowering: April-September.
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