Fragrance...On The Ground

There are few species of trees that bloom in the night & early in the morning, their fragrant flowers fall and carpet the ground around them with a heavenly aroma.. Sounds interesting na?!

Coral Jasmine (Nyctanthes Arbortristis/पारिजातक, प्राजक्ता) is one of the kind small tree which is a favourite tree in city gardens. This fragrant tree has many virtues to its name. The flower is the state flower of West Bengal.

The great, highly fragrant flowers bloom during night spreading their essence all to the surroundings. The courtyards filled with these flowers in the very morning is a bliss to eyes & nose as their aroma arises your spirit. These are apparently only flowers that are offered to God after being picked from the ground instead of plucking from the tree! That signify the importance of the tree.

The Puranas mentions that the Kalpa-Vriksha (the tree which grants all the wishes) which appeared as the result of the Samudra Manthan (Churning of the Milky Ocean) was actually the Coral Jasmine or Night-flowering Jasmine. It is believed that Lord Vishnu's heavenly throne is placed under a flowering Parijata tree & Hanuman lives under its shade. According to mythology, this heavenly tree is brought to Earth by Lord Krishna as both of his wives, Satyabhama & Rukmini wanted this tree from heaven to be planted in their respective gardens. A quarrel over it ensued between both of them. So to keep both of them happy, Krishna planted the tree in Satyabhama's courtyard in such a way that when the tree flowered, the flowers fell in Rukmini's courtyard.

The tree is reported to have high medicinal values in Ayurveda and is useful as anti-pyretic, anti-spasmodic & anti-inflammatory agent. An insecticidal effect of an extract from shade-dried leaves has also been reported.

Coral Jasmine is easily propagated by seeds or cuttings. It coppices readily & is not browsed by goats or cattle. The essential oil in the flowers of Coral Jasmine, which is similar to the oil in jasmine, is used as perfume. The corolla of the tree has been used as a source of yellow dye in traditional fabric dyeing.

Another tree that flowers at night, sheds flowers early in the morning and similarly carpet the ground with its lovely flowers is the Indian Cork tree (Millingtonia Hortensis/बूच). Its bark yields an inferior cork, hence the name. It is a traditional medicinal plant widely used in India.

Its dried flower is a good lung tonic & broncho-dilator. It is also used in the cough diseases. Extract of the leaves of has good antimicrobial activity. A study revealed that the tree has a potent mosquito larvicidal property and could be selected for further studies particularly those pertaining to its effect on growth & development of mosquitoes.

Also known as Tree Jasmine, it is easily propagated from root suckers & cuttings. The tree is a favorite garden tree and is a very fast grower. Leaves are very ornamental, even when not in bloom this plant is an eye stopper. The flowers of this drought resistant tree have very rich & pleasant scent.

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