Botanical name: Careya arborea Family: Lecythidaceae (Brazilnut Family)
Wild Guava is a medium sized deciduous tree, up to 20 m tall, the leaves of which turn red in the cold season. It is the Kumbhi of Sanskrit writers, and appear to have been so named on account of the hollow on the top of the fruit giving it somewhat the appearance of a water-pot. Wild pigs are very fond of the bark, and that it is used by hunters to attract them. An astringent gum exudes from the fruit and stem, and the bark is made into coarse cordage. The Tamil name Puta-tanni-maram signifies ”water- bark-tree,” in allusion to the exudation trickling down the bark in dry weather. Bark surface flaking in thin strips, fissured, dark grey; crown spreading. Leaves arranged spirally, often clustered at the apices of twigs, simple, broadly obovate, tapering at base, margin toothed, stipules small, caducous. Flowers in an erect raceme at the end of branches. Flowers are large, white. Sepals are 4, petals 4, free. Stamens are many, connate at base; disk annular; ovary inferior, 4-5-locular with many ovules in 2 rows per cell, style 1. Fruit a large, many-seeded drupe, globose to depressed globose, crowned by the persistent sepals. Seedling with hypogeal germination; cotyledons absent (seed containing a swollen hypocotyl); shoot with scales at the first few nodes.
Medicinal uses: The bark of the tree and the sepals of the flowers are well-known Indian remedies, and are valued on account of their astringent and mucilaginous properties, being administered internally in coughs and colds and applied externally as an embrocation.
Identification credit: Nandan Kalbag
The flower labeled Wild Guava is ...