Garlic Pear Tree
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Garlic Pear Tree
ative Photo: Tabish
Common name: Garlic pear tree, Caper tree, Three-leaf caper, Obtuse Leaf Crateva • Hindi: Barna, Barni बर्नी, बर्ना • Manipuri: ꯂꯣꯢꯌꯨꯃꯕꯥ ꯂꯩ লোইয়ুম্বা লৈ Loiyumba lei • Tamil: Marvilinga • Bengali: Barun • Sanskrit: वरुण Varuna • Malayalam: Nir mathalam • Kannada: Nirvala • Telugu: Voolemara
Botanical name: Crateva adansonii subsp. odora    Family: Capparaceae (Caper family)

A moderate sized deciduous tree found throughout India, especially along the river banks. Bark grey, smooth horizontally wrinkled. Leaves trifoliate. Flowers white, or cream in many flowered terminal corymbs. The bark is grey, and the wood is yellowish-white, turning light-brown when old. The leaves are clustered at the ends of branchlets, with a common petiole 5 to 10 centimeters long, at the summit of which are tree leaflets. The leaflets are ovate-lanceolate or ovate, 7.5 to 12 centimeters long, 4 to 6 centimeters wide, and pointed at the base, with a rather slender point at the tip. The flowers occur in terminal corymbs, are about 5 centimeters in diameter, greenish-yellow, and the stamens are purplish. The petals are ovate or oblong, with the claw half as long as limb. The fruit is ovoid or rounded, and 3 to 5 centimeters in diameters, with hard and rough rind. The seeds are about 10 centimeters in length, numerous, kidney-shaped, and embedded in a yellow pulp.
Medicinal uses: It is used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. It has anti-inflammatory, diuretic, lithontriptic, demulcent and tonic properties. Bark yields ceryl alcohol, friedelin, lupeol, betulinic acid and diosgenin. It is useful in disorders of urinary organs, urinary tract infections, pain and burning micturition, renal and vesical calculi. A postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal Department to commemorate this tree.

Identification credit: Rita Singh Photographed in Delhi.

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