A portion of devadaru tree
Synonyms: Erythroxylum indicum, Erythroxylum sideroxyloides, Sethia indica
Other names: Bastard sandal, chemanatti, red cedar.
Devadaru is a tropical tree native to peninsular India and Sri Lanka. Though devadaru tree bears edible fruits which are eaten by people, yet it is known more for its medicinal and other uses.
A small evergreen, bushy tree, upto 7m, bark dark-brown, very rough, lenticellate; branchlets compressed.
Leaves simple, alternate, rarely distichous; stipules intrapetiolar, on the arrested shoots imbricating; petioles 3-8 mm, slender, grooved above, glabrous, chartaceous; lamina 2-6.5 x 1-3 cm, obovate or oblanceolate, base attenuate or cuneate, apex obtuse, margin entire, lateral nerves 6-14 pairs, pinnate, slender, faint, intercostae reticulate, faint.
Flowers of devadaru
Flowers bisexual, white, axillary, solitary or 1-4 in axillary fascicles; sepals 5-6, ovate, acute, glabrous; petals 5-6, white, oblong, with an erect double ligule on inner side, imbricate, stamens 10-12, monadelphous; ovary 3-4-celled, styles 3-4, united into a style with capitate stigmas; ovary superior, 3-4-celled, ovules 1-2 in each cell.
Fruit a drupe, some what 3-angled, ellipsoid, apiculate, glabrous, reddish.
Ripe fruits of devadaru are edible and are eaten by local people. These are, however, not sold in market.
Devadaru leaves are dried and stored for eating during the times of scarcity. These are also used as fodder for cattle.
A crude oil is obtained by destructive distillation of the wood. This oil is used as a timber preservative.
The wood devadaru tree is used as a substitute for Sandal. The Brahmins of Manthani on the Godavari, make use of it in their religious ceremonies. Wood is very hard, takes beautiful polish.
The plant is known to have high medicinal value. It is taken to cure many diseases such as Stomachic, Dyspepsia, Fever, and Dropsy in ayurvedic medicine.
Devadaru is a idrought resistant plant. It grows well even in dry hill forests and laterite soils.
New plants of devadaru can easily be raised from seed.