Clearing Nut Tree
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Clearing Nut Tree
D Native Photo: Anurag Sharma
Common name: Clearing Nut Tree • Bengali: নির্মলী Nirmali • Gujarati: નિર્મલી Nirmali • Hindi: निर्मली Nirmali • Kannada: ಚಿಲ್ಲ Chilla • Malayalam: Thettamaram, Chillam, Kadakam, Thettamparel • Nepali: दमाई फल Damaai Phal, निर्मली Nirmali • Tamil: Sirungamaram, Kal Kottei, Tattan Kottei, Sillamaram, Sirungaru Maram, Kalkottai • Telugu: చిల్లగింజ Chilla-gingalu
Botanical name: Strychnos potatorum    Family: Loganiaceae (Logania family)
Synonyms: Strychnos heterodoxa, Strychnos stuhlmannii

Clearing Nut Tree is a tree up to 12 m tall, bark 1-1.2 cm thick, brownish-black, rough, corky with deep and narrow vertical cracks; blaze creamy yellow. Leaves are simple, opposite, estipulate; leaf-stalk 2-8 mm, hairless; blade 5-15 x 3.5-7.5 cm, elliptic, ovate, elliptic-ovate, base blunt or round, tip pointed, margin entire, hairless, shiny, papery. Nerves are 3-5 from the base, lateral nerves from the midrib 4 pairs, hairless; intercostae netveined, prominent. Flowers are bisexual, white, 0.85 cm long, in short in leaf-axils cymes, 6-8 mm long; flower-stalk 2 mm; sepals 5, small; flower 3.5 mm across, salver shaped, hairy within, tube cylindric, lobes 5, longer than tube; stamens 5, inserted on the flower tube; anthers 2-celled, introrse; ovary 1 mm, superior, hairless, ovules one in each cell; style hairless; stigma obscurely 2 lobed. Fruit is a berry, 16-18 mm across, spherical, black, pericarp hard; seeds 1-2, 10-12 mm across, turgid, round, compressed, yellowish. Seeds are used to clarify foul and muddy water, which probably the origina of the common name. Seeds are rich source of polysaccharide gum suitable for use in paper and textile industries. Clearing Nut Tree is found in Peninsular India and Sri Lanka.
Medicinal uses: According to Ayurveda, seeds are acrid, alexipharmic, lithotriptic and cure strangury, urinary discharges, head diseases etc. Roots cure Leucoderma whereas fruits are useful in eye diseases, thirst, poisoning and hallucinations. The fruits are emetic, diaphoretic alexiteric etc. According to Unani system of medicine, seeds are bitter, astringent to bowels, aphrodisiac, tonic, diuretic and good for liver, kidney complaints, gonorrhea, colic etc.

Identification credit: Anurag Sharma Photographed at Makalidurga and Turahalli, Karnataka.

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