Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.~ Heinrich Heine
One of the most fragrant flowers to bloom in this season is
the Coral Jasmine. It is also known as the Night Jasmine and
the plant is known as The Tree of Sorrow or The Sad Tree. It's
well into the season because the flowering period is from
September to December. In Hindi it's called "Harsinghar". In
Assam it is known as "Sewali".
The flowers bloom at night and by dawn they fall to the ground.
The fragrance that wafts into the surrounding area is heavenly!
In the morning the ground below the tree forms a carpet of white
and orange. As you can see from the photo, the blooms are small
and white with a bright orange tube. These are usually picked up
and used for worship or kept in bowls and platters for the frag-
The botanical name of this tree is Nyctanthes arbor-tristis
which means a night flowering sad tree. Bereft of its blooms
in the morning the tree appears sad!
This is a small tree which can grow upto 4 mtrs. It needs a well
-drained soil and full to partial sun. It needs good sunlight
for profuse flowering. It also bears green fruit capsules
with one or two seeds.The leaves, grey bark and flowers all
have medicinal properties. In Ayurvedic medicine, the leaves
are used in the treatment of sciatica, arthritis, fevers,
various painful conditions, liver disorders and as a laxative.
The flowers are believed to keep diabetes under control. The tree's
medicinal properties range from treatment of stomach diseases,
piles, common cough and cold. Apart from these, the leaves are
used for polishing wood (it's abrasive) and cleaning utensils.
For a flower as beautiful and aromatic as this will surely be asso-
ciated with our mythology. It is said that Lord Krisna brought it
from the heavens!
Apart from India, this tree also grows in Indonesia, Thailand,
Nepal and Pakistan. Found in many gardens all over India, it is
also grown in the courtyards of temples. Blooms offered to the
gods are generally not picked up from the ground but with the
coral jasmine, there's an exception. Buddhists also venerate
this "night flowering sad tree".
It's always good to add something bitter to your diet! I made a
simple fish curry with these pretty blooms...
The Castle of Gruyères
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