|Flowers on a tree in Kolkata, West Bengal, India|
It is a small to medium-sized tree growing to 20 metres (66 ft) tall, with smooth, flaky bark. The leaves are deciduous, oval to elliptic, 8–15 cm (3.1–5.9 in) long and 3–7 cm (1.2–2.8 in) broad, with an acute apex. The flowers are produced in erect panicles 20–40 cm (7.9–15.7 in) long, each flower with six white to purple petals 2–3.5 cm (0.79–1.38 in) long. The flowers in this plant blooms only once in a year at the peak of summer.
Cultivation and uses
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It is grown in South East Asia, India and the Philippines. It is also widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical areas. The leaves of the banabá and other parts are used widely in the Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan as a tea preparation. Banabá herb is one of the 69 herbal plants promoted by the Philippine Department of Health (DOH). In Vietnam the plant's young leaves are consumed as vegetables, and its old leaves and mature fruit are used in traditional medicine for reducing glucose in blood.
In Theravada Buddhism, this plant is said to have been used as the tree for achieved enlightenment, or Bodhi by the eleventh Lord Buddha ("Paduma - පදුම"), and the twelfth Lord Buddha ("Naarada - නාරද") . The plant is known as මුරුත (Murutha) in Sinhala and "Mahaasona - මහාසොණ" in Sanskrit.
- Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers. — The Plant List
- "Lagerstroemia speciosa (L.) Pers. pride of India." PLANTS Profile, United States Department of Agriculture / Natural Resources Conservation Service. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- Eduardo B. Principe and Aurora S. Jose (2002). "Propagation Management Of Herbal and Medicinal Plants" (PDF). Research Information Series On Ecosystems. Retrieved 25 January 2013.[dead link]
- Tanaka, Yoshitaka; Van Ke, Nguyen (2007). Edible Wild Plants of Vietnam: The Bountiful Garden. Thailand: Orchid Press. p. 90. ISBN 9745240893.
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- Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening 3: 10.
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