Chhal Mogra
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Chhal Mogra
ative Photo: Tabish
Common name: Chhal Mogra, Chaulmogra • Hindi: छालमोगरा Chhalmogra • Kannada: surantaeil • Assamese: Bonsha, Bandarpele, Chaulmugra • Khasi: Dieng-sohliang, Dieng sohphailing • Mizo: Sai-thei • Sanskrit: Alasakapaha, Kushthapa, Sagarodbhuta, Tuvaraka • Nepali: गन्दारे Gandare, Koitur
Botanical name: Gynocardia odorata    Family: Achariaceae (Acharia family)
Synonyms: Chaulmoogra odorata, Chilmoria dodecandra

Chhal Mogra is a beautiful, crooked, evergreen tree, native to the moist forests of NE India. It grows up to 30 m tall, and has an untidy branching habit. Alternately arranged leaves are oblong- elliptic, rarely ovate-oblong or obovate-oblong, 13-20 cm long, 5-10 cm wide, leathery. Pale yellow flowers are sweet scented, and arise directly from the bark, hence the name chhaal mogra (chhaal means bark and mogra is a generic name for jasmine). Flowers have five rounded petals, and a mass of long stamens at the center. The fruits are round, ash-colored, and when mature, and also arise straight from the corky stems. A crude oil is extracted from the fruit which is used in cooking and lighting purposes. The fruit itself is poisonous.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Delhi University, Delhi & Behali Wildlife Sanctuary, Sonitpur, Assam.

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