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ative Photo: Tabish
Common name: Needlewood Tree, Schima • Hindi: चिलौनी Chilauni, Kanak, Makrisal • Manipuri: ꯎꯁꯣꯢ Usoi • Mizo: Khiang • Assamese: Makria • Bengali: চিলৌনী Chilauni • Tangkhul: Mashuiwon
Botanical name: Schima wallichii    Family: Theaceae (tea family)

Schima is a medium evergreen tree up to 35 m tall. However, in most places it may be seen only 40 ft high. The stem is cylindrical, branchless for up to 25 m, diameter up to 1 m, with a steep buttresses rarely up to 1.8 m high; bark surface ruggedly cracked into small, thick, angular pieces, red-brown to dark grey; inner bark with skin-irritating fibres, bright red in colour. Leathery leaves are elliptic-oblong in shape and look somewhat like Champa (Michelia) leaves. Leaf margins are entire or slightly toothed. Flowers white, fragrant, 3-4 cm across. Sepals rounded. Five white petals are broadly ovate and rounded. There is a dense bunch of orange-yellow stamens in the center. The flowers resemble those of Sultan Champa and Nag Kesar. The genus name is derived from the Greek word skiasma (shadow), probably referring to the dense crown. Schima grows in moist and dry evergreen as well as in mixed deciduous forests. Schima has a fast growth even under infertile soil conditions. Flowering is in April-May and fruiting is in February-March. The main value of Schima is its hard and durable timber. Schima timber is used for fence posts and beams and boards for house construction. Schima wood is little used for fuel because the bark causes irritation.

Identification credit: Huirem Bhabini Photographed in Ukhrul, Manipur.

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