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Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is a shrub or a small tree growing to 10 m (33 ft) tall, with flaky grey bark. The leaves are opposite, simple, 6–12 cm (2.4–4.7 in) long and 2–6.5 cm (0.79–2.56 in) broad, with an entire margin. The flowers are fragrant, with a five- to eight-lobed white corolla with an orange-red centre; they are produced in clusters of two to seven together, with individual flowers opening at dusk and finishing at dawn. The fruit is a flat brown heart-shaped to round capsule 2 cm (0.79 in) diameter, with two sections each containing a single seed.
Names and symbolism
The tree is sometimes called the "tree of sorrow", because the flowers lose their brightness during daytime; the scientific name arbor-tristis also means "sad tree". The flowers can be used as a source of yellow dye for clothing. The flower is the official flower of the state of West Bengal, India, and for Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand. Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (sometimes incorrectly cited as Nyctanthes arbortristis or Nyctanthes arbor tristis) is commonly known as night-flowering jasmine or coral jasmine.
Parijat (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis), appears in several Hindu religious stories and is often related to the Kalpavriksha. In one story, which appears in Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana, parijat appeared as the result of the Samudra manthan (Churning of the Milky Ocean) and Lord Krishna battled with Indra to win parijat. Further on, his wife Satyabhama demanded the tree be planted in the backyard of her palace. It so happened that in spite of having the tree in her backyard, the flowers used to fall in the adjacent backyard of the other queen Rukmini, who was favourite of Lord Krishna, because of her superior devotion and humility.
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Extracts of the seeds, flowers and leaves possesses immunostimulant, hepatoprotective, antileishmanial, antiviral and antifungal activities in vitro. The leaves have been used in Ayurvedic medicine and Homoeopathy for sciatica, arthritis, fevers, and as a laxative.
- Leaves: The leaves contain D-mannitol, β-sitosterol, flavanol glycosides, astragalin, nicotiflorin, oleanolic acid, nyctanthic acid, tannic acid, ascorbic acid, methyl salicylate, an amorphous glycoside, an amorphous resin, trace of volatile oil, carotene, friedeline, lupeol, mannitol, glucose, fructose, iridoid glycosides, and benzoic acid.
- Flowers: The flowers contain essential oils, nyctanthin, D-mannitol, tannins, glucose, carotenoids, glycosides including β-monogentiobioside ester of α-crocetin (or crocin-3), β-monogentiobioside-β-D monoglucoside ester of α-crocetin, and β-digentiobioside ester of α-crocetin (or crocin-1).
- Seeds: The seeds contain arbortristosides A and B; glycerides of linoleic, oleic, lignoceric, stearic, palmitic and myristic acids; nyctanthic acid; 3,4-secotriterpene acid; and a water-soluble polysaccharide composed of D-glucose and D-mannose.
- Bark: The bark contains glycosides and alkaloids.
- Stem: The stems contain the glycoside naringenin-4’-0-β-glucapyranosyl-α-xylopyranoside and β-sitosterol.
- Flower oil: The flower oil contains α-pinene, p-cymene, 1-hexanol, methylheptanone, phenyl acetaldehyde, 1-decenol and anisaldehyde.
- Plant: The plant contains 2,3,4,6-tetra-0-methyl-D-glucose; 2,3,6 tri-0-methyl-D-glucose; 2,3,6-tri-0-methyl-D-mannose; 2,3,-di-0-methyl-D-mannose; arbortristosides A, B, and C; and iridoid glycosides.
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
- Germplasm Resources Information Network: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
- Flora of Pakistan: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
- AgroForestry Tree Database: Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
- Puri A, Saxena R, Saxena RP, Saxena KC, Srivastava V, Tandon JS (March 1994). "Immunostimulant activity of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L". J Ethnopharmacol. 42 (1): 31–7. PMID 8046941. doi:10.1016/0378-8741(94)90020-5.
- Saxena RS, Gupta B, Lata S (August 2002). "Tranquilizing, antihistaminic and purgative activity of Nyctanthes arbor tristis leaf extract". J Ethnopharmacol. 81 (3): 321–5. PMID 12127232. doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(02)00088-0.
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