Herbs & Plants

Ailanthus triphysa

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Botanical Name : Ailanthus triphysa.
Family: Simaroubaceae
Genus: Ailanthus
Species: A. altissima
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales
Syn. A. malabarica DC

Common Name : Guggula dhup, Gugguldhup, Baga-dhoopa, Hal-maddi, Mahanimba, Perumaram, Peddamanu.
Common names in Australia include White Bean, White Siris and Ferntop Ash.
(English) : white palle
(Tamil) : mattipal, peru, perumaram
(Trade name) : white palle

Habitat :-Ailanthus triphysa is an Asian and Australian rainforest tree.It occurs in India, Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia, Burma, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. In Australia, Ailanthus triphysa occurs in Western Australia, Queensland and as far south as the Clarence River (New South Wales).

A medium to tall evergreen tree to 35 metres high and width of 80 cm. The trunk is not buttressed, straight and cylindrical. The bark is grey, somewhat rough and resembling sandpaper to the touch.
Leaves are pinnate, curved and sickle shaped drawn out to a point. Particularly oblique at the base. Venation is prominent, the net veins more obvious under the leaf.

Flowers are creamy green, flowering in November to January in Australia. The fruit is a samara, often forming in threes.

Leaves crowded at end of branches, imparipinnate, 15–45 cm long; leaflets numerous (15–61) mostly oblong-lanceolate to lanceolate, often falcate, 3–10 cm long, 10–20 mm wide, apex acuminate, base strongly asymmetric, margins entire, both surfaces glabrous or lower surface pubescent; petiole 4–8 cm long; petiolules 2–5 mm long.

Panicles 5–7 cm long. Calyx lobes < 1 mm long. Petals 2.5–5 mm long, creamish green, ± glabrous. Stamens 3–6 mm long in male flowers. Carpels 2–4; styles fused or free at base. Samara mostly 4.5–6 cm long, 15–20 cm wide, brownish.

Medicinal Uses:
The resin is used for medicinal purposes in India.

Other Uses:
The timber is also of value; being light, white and soft, it is easily worked. The resin (halmaddi) is also used in the manufacture of trad. Nag Champa incense sticks. The (scented) resin of Ailanthus triphysa is applied to the split bamboo sticks after which the sticks are again covered in powdered sandal wood and plumeria pollen. The resin has the advantage of remaining in a semi solid pliable state as it absorbs moisture from the air. It is also used in the manufature of other resinous dhoop incense.

Timber: Wood is used for making boats, matches, fishing floats and weaponry accessories e.g. sword handles and spear sheaths. Gum or resin: A gum is obtained from stem cuttings of A. triphysa. Tannin or dyestuff: A dye obtained from the plant’s leaves stains satin black Essential oil: Aromatic oils are obtained from the bark. Medicine: The plant roots, leaves, bark and gum exudates are used as medicine in India.

Shade or shelter: A useful shade provider. Soil improver: Leaf litter of A. triphysa on decomposition restores soil fertility. Ornamental: A tree often planted for aesthetic purposes. Intercropping: Used as live stakes for supporting black pepper (Piper nigrum). Other services: The dried bark and gum exudates are burnt as incense.


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