Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Genus: Mallotus
Botanical name: Mallotus philippensis
Sanskrit: Rechanaka, Kampillaka
Hindi: Amala, Raini, Rohan, Rohini, Sinduri
English: Kamala Tree, Dyer's rottlera, Monkey face tree, Orange kamala, Red kamala, Scarlet croton
Malayalam: Sindoori, Kurangumanjal, Kunkumappuumaram
Kamala Tree is small or medium sized tree, up to 25 metres tall and a trunk diameter of 40 cm. The trunk is fluted and irregular at the base. The grey bark is smooth, or with occasional wrinkles or corky bumps. Small branches are greyish brown in colour, with rusty covered small hairs towards the end. Leaf scars evident.
Leaves are opposite on the stem, ovate to oblong in shape. 4 to 12 cm long, 2 to 7 cm wide with a long pointed tip. The upper surface is green without hairs, the underside pale grey in colour. With a magnifying glass, small red glands may be visible. Leaf stems 2 to 5 cm long, somewhat thickened at both ends. The first leaf vein on either side of the mid rib extends from the leaf base, to over half the length of the leaf. Veins raised and evident under the leaf.
Yellow-brown flowers form on racemes. Racemes up to 6 cm long. Male and female flowers grow on separate trees. New South Wales flowering period is from June to November. Flowering period in the Philippines is March to April. Fruit may appear at any time of the year, three months or so after flowering. Usually a three lobed capsule, 6 to 9 mm broad, covered in red powdery substance. This is soluble in alcohol, which produces a golden red dye suited to colouring of silk and wool. One small black globular seed in each of the three parts of the capsule, seeds 2 to 3 mm in diameter. Fresh seed is advised for germination. The glandular, hair, which are reddish brown in colour, are acrid, thermogenic, purgative, digestive, lithontriptic, styptic, vermifuge, alexipharmic and depurative. They are useful in vitiated conditions of kapha vata, verminosis, constipation, flatulence, wounds, ulcers, cough, renal and vesical calculi, haemorrhages, poisonous affections, scabies, ringworm, herpes and other parasitic skin affections.
Kamala Tree
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