Helicopter Tree
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Helicopter Tree
ative Photo: J. M. Garg
Common name: Helicopter Tree, Whirly Whirly Tree Burl, Stinkwood, Shitwood • Hindi: ज़ैतून Zaitun • Kannada: ತಣುಕು Tanuku, ಕಾಡುಬೆಂಡೆ Kadubende, Pollika, Kaadu bende • Tamil: Chaivavatala, Tanakku, Kadavai • Telugu: Tanuku, Nallaponaku, Kumaara ponaku
Botanical name: Gyrocarpus americanus    Family: Hernandiaceae (Hernandia family)

Helicopter Tree is a slender, deciduous tree, with smooth, grey bark, often bleaching to a silvery-white on the sunny side. Leaves are spirally arranged, crowded near the ends of branches, up to 15 × 12 cm. Leaves are ovate, often more or less deeply 3-lobed, dark green above, paler greyish below, finely velvety on both surfaces, markedly 3-veined from the base. Veins are yellowish; stalk up to 9 cm long. Flowers arise in compact heads, yellowish-green, with an unpleasant smell. Fruit a woody nut with 2 long thin wings, aiding wind dispersal. It is this winged, flying nut that gave the tree its various common names.

Identification credit: Barry Stock Photographed at Bhongir Fort & Mamandur, Andhra Pradesh.

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