Oroxylum indicum

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Oroxylum indicum
Oroxylum indicum Blanco1.219.png
Plate from book Flora de Filipinas, Gran edicion, Atlas I. by Francisco Manuel Blanco, 1880-1883? where name is Bignonia quadripinnata, Blanco.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Bignoniaceae
Genus: Oroxylum
Species: O. indicum
Binomial name
Oroxylum indicum
(L.) Benth. ex Kurz
  • Arthrophyllum ceylanicum Miq.
  • Arthrophyllum reticulatum Blume ex Miq.
  • Bignonia indica L.
  • Bignonia lugubris Salisb.
  • Bignonia pentandra Lour.
  • Bignonia quadripinnata Blanco
  • Bignonia tripinnata Noronha
  • Bignonia tuberculata Roxb. ex DC.
  • Calosanthes indica (L.) Blume
  • Hippoxylon indica (L.) Raf.
  • Oroxylum flavum Rehder
  • Oroxylum indicum Vent. nom. inval.[1]
  • Spathodea indica (L.) Pers.

Oroxylum indicum is a monotypic species of flowering plant belonging to the genus Oroxylum (frequently spelled Oroxylon) and the family Bignoniaceae, commonly called midnight horror,[3] oroxylum,[3] or Indian trumpet flower.[4] It is a tree which can reach a height of 12 metres (39 ft).


The large leaf stalks wither and fall off the tree and collect near the base of the trunk, appearing to look like a pile of broken limb bones. These twice pinnate leaves in life are up to 7' 10.5" (240 cm) in length and comparably wide, [5] borne on petioles or stalks up to 6' 7" (2 meters) in length, making this the largest of all dicot tree leaves. The tree is a night-bloomer and flowers are adapted to natural pollination by bats. They form enormous seed pods that hang down from bare branches. Those long fruits curve downward and resemble the wings of a large bird or dangling sickles or swords in the night.
The seeds are round with papery wings.[6]


Oroxylum indicum is native to: the Indian subcontinent, the Himalayan foothills with a part extending to Bhutan and southern China, Indochina and the Malesia regions. In Vietnam the tree is called núc nác (sometimes sò đo) and specimens can be found in Cat Tien National Park.

It is visible in the forest biome of Manas National Park in Assam, India. It is found, raised and planted in large number in the forest areas of the Banswara district in the state of Rajasthan in India. It is reported in the list of rare, endangered and threatened plants of Kerala (South India).

It is also reported from Sri Lanka (Ceylon).[7]


Oroxylum indicum lives in relationship with the actinomycete Pseudonocardia oroxyli present in the soil surrounding the roots.[8]

Septobasidium bogoriense is a fungal species responsible for velvet blight in O. indicum.


The tree is often grown as an ornamental for its strange appearance. Materials used include the wood, tannins and dyestuffs. [9]

In marriage rituals[edit]

The plant is used by the Kirat, Sunuwar, Rai, Limbu, Yakha in Nepal, the Thai in Thailand and the Lao in Laos.

In the Himalayas, people are hanging mobiles or garlands made from O. indicum (Skr. shyonaka) seeds from the roof of their homes for protective reasons.[10]

As food[edit]

It is a plant with edible leaves and stems.[11] The very large young pods, known as Lin mai (ลิ้นไม้) or Lin fa (ลิ้นฟ้า) in Loei, are eaten especially in Isan (Thailand) and in Laos. They are first grilled over charcoal fire and then the somewhat bitter inner pulp is usually scraped and eaten along with lap.[12]

In traditional medicines[edit]

The Oroxylum indicum seed is used in the traditional Indian ayurvedic medicine.

Shyonaka root bark is one of the ingredients of dashamoola (a group of 10 roots). It is used for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic action in a number of compound formulations in Ayurveda.[13]

The bark of O. indicum is a traditional Chinese medicine ingredient, as well as is one of main ingredients in Sri Lankan indigenous medicine in decoctions as a remedy for pains in joints or rheumatism (Singhala / Sri Lanka: Totila, Totilla).[14]


The leaf contains chrysin and baicalein.[15] Tetuin, the 6-glucoside of baicalein, is reported in the seeds.[16] Other flavonoids, known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy effects,[citation needed] are also present, though it may need to be used in high doses to get a response. Oroxindin has also been isolated from Oroxylum indicum[17] whereas oroxylin A is reported in the root bark.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The International Plant Names Index". 
  2. ^ "Oroxylum indicum (L.) Kurz". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 31 Mar 2016 – via The Plant List. 
  3. ^ a b "USDA GRIN Taxonomy". 
  4. ^ "Ecoport". 
  5. ^ Phillipps, Anthea (22 April 2012). "The Midnight Horror Tree". Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Oroxylum indicum in Dinghushan Plant Checklist1 @ efloras.org". 
  7. ^ Theobald, W.L. (1981). Bignoniace. In: Dassanayake, M.D. and Fosberg, F.R. (Eds.). A Revised Handbook to the Flora of Ceylon. Amerind Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.
  8. ^ Gu, Qiang; Luo, Hongli; Zheng, Wen; Liu, Zhiheng; Huang, Ying (1 September 2006). "Pseudonocardia oroxyli sp. nov., a novel actinomycete isolated from surface-sterilized Oroxylum indicum root". Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 56 (Pt 9): 2193–2197. PMID 16957120. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.64385-0. 
  9. ^ O'Neill, Alexander; et al. (2017-03-29). "Integrating ethnobiological knowledge into biodiversity conservation in the Eastern Himalayas". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 13 (21). doi:10.1186/s13002-017-0148-9. Retrieved 2017-05-11. 
  10. ^ Trees and Shrubs of Nepal and the Himalayas. A Storrs and J Storrs, 1990, page 200
  11. ^ "ePIC - Detailed results from SEPASAL for oroxylum indicum". 
  12. ^ Thai Dishes, Central Part And South Archived March 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Doshi, K; Ilanchezhian, R; Acharya, R; Patel, B. R.; Ravishankar, B (2012). "Anti-inflammatory activity of root bark and stem bark of Shyonaka". Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine. 3 (4): 194–197. PMC 3545239Freely accessible. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.104434. 
  14. ^ Jayaweera, D.M.A. (1981). Medicinal Plants (Indigenous and Exotic) Used in Ceylon. Part I (Acanthaceae – Burseraceae). National Science Council of Sri Lanka, Colombo.
  15. ^ Roy, M. Kumar; Nakahara, K.; Na, Thalang V.; Trakoontivakorn, G.; Takenaka, M.; Isobe, S.; Tsushida, T. (1 February 2007). "Baicalein, a flavonoid extracted from a methanolic extract of Oroxylum indicum inhibits proliferation of a cancer cell line in vitro via induction of apoptosis". Pharmazie. 62 (2): 149–153. PMID 17341037. 
  16. ^ Mehta C. R. and Mehta T. P., 1959. Journal of the Indian Chemical Society 36:468
  17. ^ Nair, A. G. Ramachandran; Joshi, B. S. "Oroxindin—A new flavone glucuronide from Oroxylum indicum Vent". Proc. Indian Acad. Sci. (Chem. Sci.). 88 (5): 323–327. doi:10.1007/BF02844710. 
  18. ^ Shah, R. C.; Mehta, C. R.; Wheeler, T. S. (1 January 1936). "131. The constitution of oroxylin-A, a yellow colouring matter from the root-bark of Oroxylum indicum, vent". J. Chem. Soc.: 591. doi:10.1039/JR9360000591. 

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