Suicide Tree
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Suicide Tree
ative Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Suicide Tree, grey milkwood, jungle mango, pong pong, sea mango, yellow-eyed cerbera • Bengali: ডাবুর dabur • Kannada: ಚಂಡೆ Chande, ಹೊಂಡೆ Honde, ಮೊಂಡೆ ಮರ Monde mara • Konkani: ಹೊಂಡ್ಯಾ ರೂಕು hondya ruku, खारो उरो kharo uro, सुकाणु sukanu • Malayalam: ഉതളം othallam • Marathi: सुकाणु sukanu • Odia: ପାଣି ଆମ୍ବ pani amba • Sanskrit: औद्दालक auddalaka, श्वानमार svanamara • Tamil: காட்டலரி kattalari, உதளை utalai • Telugu: అడవి అరళి adavi arali • Tulu: ಚೆಂಡೆ ಮರ chende mara, ತೆಂಡೆ ಮರ tende mara Source: Names of Plants in India
Botanical name: Cerbera odollam    Family: Apocynaceae (Oleander family)
Synonyms: Cerbera dilatata, Odollamia malabarica, Tanghinia odollam

Suicide tree is a tree native to India and other parts of S. Asia. It grows preferentially in coastal salt swamps and in marshy areas. It grows wild along the coast in many parts of Western Ghats and has been grown as a hedge between home compounds. It yields a potent poison, often used for suicide or murder. Flower are white, showy, star-shaped, 5-7 cm, with a small yellow center. Leaves are 12-30 cm long, oval, dark green and glossy, held in dense spirals at the tips of the twigs. The fruit, when still green, looks like a small mango, with a green fibrous shell enclosing an ovoid kernel measuring approximately 2 cm × 1.5 cm and consisting of two cross-matching white fleshy halves. On exposure to air, the white kernel turns violet, then dark grey, and ultimately brown, or black. The plant as a whole yields a milky, white latex. Cerbera odollam bears a close resemblance to the Oleander bush, another highly toxic plant from the same family.

Identification credit: Hemsan (HS) Photographed at Kochare, Sindhudurg, Maharashtra.

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