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Malabar Tree of Heaven
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Malabar Tree of Heaven
E Native Photo: Jatin Vaity
Common name: Malabar Tree of Heaven • Hindi: गुग्गुल धूप guggula-dhup • Kannada: Baga dhoopa, Baggada dhoopa • Malayalam: Dhup, Matti, Mattipal, Mattipala, Perumarom • Marathi: गुग्गुल धूप Guggul dhup • Sanskrit: Aralu, Atisarahita, Gugguladhupa • Tamil: peru, perumaram • Telugu: Mattipal, Peddamanu
Botanical name: Ailanthus triphysa    Family: Simaroubaceae (Quassia family)
Synonyms: Ailanthus malabarica, Pongelion malabaricum

Malabar Tree of Heaven is a medium to tall evergreen tree up to 30 m tall and diameter of 1.2 m. The trunk is not buttressed, but rather straight and cylindrical. The bark is grey, somewhat rough and resembling sandpaper to the touch. Leaves are pinnate, leaflets 5-12 x 0.9-2 cm, curved and sickle shaped drawn out to a point, particularly oblique at the base. Flowers are creamy green in color, borne in panicles in leaf-axils, about 10-20 cm long. Sepals are about 0.5-0.8 mm long. Petals are about 3.5-4.5 x 2 mm. Stamen are about 3-4 mm long. Fruits are green to greenish brown, papery in texture. Samaras about 5-6 x 1-2 cm, often forming in threes. The wood is very light and soft and used for packing-cases, fishing floats, boats, toys, matchwood etc. A highly viscous aromatic resin, also called halmaddi is obtained when incisions are made in the bark. It is collected for local use as incense. Malabar Tree of Heaven is found in India, SE Asia to Australia. Flowering: December-May.

Identification credit: Jatin Vaity Photographed in Maharashtra.

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