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For flowers and wood

Mimosops is known for its scented flowers



Himposops elangi

Variously known as Maulsari (Hindu), Elangi (Malayalam), Poghada (Telugu) and Maghadam (Tamil) this is a medium sized handsome evergreen tree growing up to 25 metres with cylindrical trunk and dense rounded crown of shiny, oblong, elliptic abruptly pointed shiny green leaves 3.5 cm x 7 cm. It belongs to the family Sapotaceae. Bark is dark grey deeply furrowed exuding drops of milky juice when hurt. Flowers are fragrant small star shaped double, creamish 1.2 cm across, borne as axillary clusters. They are hidden in the foliage.

The flowers are greatly in demand in the market. They are strung together to form necklaces. A scent is prepared from the flowers. The fruit is a yellow berry, ovoid 1-2 cm, edible with sweet sticky pulp.

Mimosops is very common in western India, a great favourite in large gardens. Propagation is by seeds. The wood being very strong is used in bridges and house construction and comprises one of our strongest woods - thus the name `Bullet wood'.

Another name for it is `Medlar tree' means tree with fruit like a small brow apple. The Swedish botanist Linnaeus selected its Malayalam name `elangi' as its specific name.

CHITRA RADHAKRISHNAN

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