For having good health and sound mind
A dash of yellow and green
|Thespesia populnea or Poovarasam poo is an indigenous species|
UMBRELLA TREE Thespesia populnea forms a dense canopy
The indigenous tree Poovarasam, known to botanists as Thespesia populnea belongs to the family of Hibiscus-Malvaceae. Thespesia is from the Greek word Thespesios meaning `divine', since it was first noticed by Captain Cook in the temples of Tahiti, in the South Pacific Ocean and populnea means `having leaves like a poplar'.
Thespesia populnea is a compact quick growing, evergreen tree having heart-shaped, pointed leaves and cup-shaped yellow flowers with a dash of purple at the inner base, produced intermittently throughout the year. It is also called as Umbrella tree because it has closely set branches and a dense crown.
The tree yields tannin, dye, oil and gum. The wood is skilfully crafted into bowls and plates and also fashioned into paddles and other carved objects. The timber is suitable for carts and carriages, wheel spokes, boat building, rafter and reefers, agricultural implements, staffs, cabinets, beams, furniture, paddles and musical instruments. The insect resistant wood is used for making cabinetry and other domestic appliances. The viscid, yellow extract from the young fruits is used to treat insect bites, ringworm and is also applied for psoriasis, scabies, sprains and wart removal. The alcoholic extract of fruits has shown activity against Ranikhet disease virus. The bark also yields a fine fibre, used for preparing rough and strong cordage, fishing lines, coffee bags and for caulking boats.
Incidentally, the flower Poovarasam poo shot to fame after Ilayaraja's hit number `Poovarasam poo poothachi' from the movie `Kizhakkey Pogum Rail.'
PAULINE DEBORAH & RIDLING MARGARET WALLER