Pterospermum acerifolium

Botanical name:Pterospermum acerifolium
Family: Malvaceae
Genus: Pterospermum
Species: P. acerifolium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Common Name : Karnikara tree. The classification Pterospermum is based on two Greek words, Pteron and Sperma, meaning “winged seed.” There is an array of common names for Pterospermum acerifolium, depending on the region where it is grown. It is commonly referred to as Kanak Champa, Muchakunda or Karnikar Tree within its native range. Other common names include Bayur Tree, Maple-Leafed Bayur Tree, and Dinner Plate Tree.

Habitat :Pterospermum acerifolium is an angiosperm indigenous to Southeast Asia, from India to Burma.It is most likely to grow naturally along forested stream banks.

Description:
It is a relatively a large tree, growing up to thirty meters tall. Mostly planted as an ornamental or shade tree, the leaves, flowers, and wood of Pterospermum acerifolium can serve a variety functions.

The leaves of the Pterospermum acerifolium are palmately ribbed and have stipules. The leaves grow in an alternate insertion arrangement. Leaf shape can range from oblong, broadly obovate to ovate. Leaf edges are commonly dentate (toothed) or irregularly lobed. Many leaves tend to droop downward, giving the tree the appearance that it is wilting, when in fact it could have a sufficient amount of water available. The top side of the leaves is a dark green color with a glabrescent texture. The leaves are rough and rubbery to limit the loss of moisture in a hot climate. The bottom side of the leaves range from a silver to rust color and are pubescent. The bark of the tree is grey in color and is considered to be fairly soft. Small twigs and new growth can sometimes seem feathery and are commonly more of a rusty-brown color. Leaves have a peltate blade base, meaning the insertion of the petiole is at the center of the leaf.

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The  tree produces large, white, finger shaped flowers in the spring. Flowers begin as one long bud, then separating into five more slender sepals as it matures. Each sepal can be up to seven inches long. The sepals of the flower curl outward and around the white and gold stamen located at the center. The flowers are nocturnal and exceptionally fragrant, suggesting they attract moths for pollination. Successfully pollinated flowers produce a fruit in the form of a hard capsule. The fruit has a very rough texture and is sometimes covered in brown hairs. Fruits can take a very long time to completely mature; up to an entire year. The capsule then splits open releasing a massive number of “winged seeds.” Because it takes such a long period to reproduce, it seems the Bayur tree can be outcompeted by other faster growing plants. It is not widely distributed or common in natural environments, but is popular plant in gardens and landscaping.

Other Uses:
As mentioned before, one of the common names for Pterospermum acerifolium is the Dinner Plate Tree. The utilization of the leaves is exactly what the name depicts. Mature leaves are very large, reaching a length and width of up to thirty five centimeters. They can be used as actual dinner plates or as packaging and storage by wrapping materials inside.
The leaves can also serve as a primitive method of re-enforcing roofs and preventing leaks.

The reddish wood of the Pterospermum acerifolium can be used for planking. Because the wood is soft, it is not considered to be very strong. However it is incredibly durable and somewhat flexible, making it perfect for planking and wooden boxes. The Bayur Tree even serves a cultural function. Local Hindu people employ the plant for religious purposes. it’s bark is also supposed to be used in case of scabies topical preparation in lipstics.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterospermum_acerifolium
http://www.ask.com/wiki/Pterospermum_acerifolium?o=3986&qsrc=999

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