Chinar is a very large, widespreading, and long-lived deciduous tree. The
native range of Chinar includes at least Eurasia from the Balkans to the
Himalaya in the east. Its leaves are borne alternately on the stem, deeply
lobed, and palmate or maple-like. It usually has flaking bark, occasionally
not flaking and becoming thick and rugged. Flowers and fruit are round and
similar to those of Kadam
, borne in clusters of
between 2 and 6 on a stem. The leaves and bark have been used medicinally.
A fabric dye has been made from the twigs and roots. The timber, often
called lacewood, is figured and valuable for indoor furniture.
From earliest days, Chinar has been an important tree in Persian gardens,
which are built around water and shade. An tiny island in the Dal lake in Sringa
r, is called Char-Chinar because of the four Chinar trees there. Chinar tree is
an integral part of Kashmiri culture. Almost every village
in the valley has a Chinar tree.