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Botanical Name: Butea monosperma
Synonyms: Butea monosperma (Lam.) Taub. syn. Butea frondosa Koenig ex Roxb., Butea frondosa , Erythrina monosperma , Plaso monosperma
Common Name: Bastard Teak, Bengal Kino Tree, Flame of the Forest
Seeds collection period: May- July
Seeds longevity: 6-12 month
Butea monosperma is a small to medium-sized deciduous tree, 5-15 (max. 20) m tall, up to 43 cm dbh; trunk usually crooked and tortuous, with rough greyish-brown, fibrous bark showing a reddish exudate; branchlets densely pubescent. Leaves trifoliate; petiole 7.5-20 cm long with small stipules; leaflets more or less leathery, lateral ones obliquely ovate, terminal one rhomboidobovate, 12-27 x 10-26 cm, obtuse, rounded or emarginate at apex, rounded to cuneate at base, with 7-8 pairs of lateral veins, stipellate. Flowers in racemes, 5-40 cm long, near the top on usually leafless branchlets; calyx with campanulate tube and 4 short lobes; corolla 5-7 cm long, standard, wings and keel recurved, all about the same length, bright orange-red, more rarely yellow, very densely pubescent. Fruit an indehiscent pod, (min. 9) 17-24 x (min. 3) 4-6 cm, stalked, covered with short brown hairs, pale yellowish-brown or grey when ripe, in the lower part flat, with a single seed near the apex. Seed ellipsoid, flattened, about 3 cm long.
Fodder: In India, young leaves are good fodder, eaten mainly by buffaloes. Though the leaves are fairly rich in nutrients, digestibility values are low, comparable only to those of straws.
Fuel: Wood makes a fuel of moderate quality. Leaves are sometimes used as a fuel. The wood is burnt for charcoal.
Fibre: A coarse fibrous material obtained from the inner bark is used for cordage, caulking the seams of boats and making paper. Timber: The soft and not durable wood is light, about 570 kg air dry, white or yellowish-brown when fresh, but often turning greyish because of susceptibility to sap stain. It is not of great value but is sometimes used for utensils.
Gum or resin: A red exudate is obtained from the bark, hardening into a gum known as butea gumâ or Bengal kinoâ. It can be used as a dye and as tannin.
Tannin or dyestuff: A bright yellow to deep orange-red dye, known as butein, prepared from the flowers is used especially for dyeing silk and sometimes for cotton. This dye is used by Hindus to mark the forehead. The bark is used for tanning.
Lipids: The seeds yield a clear oil. Poison: Seeds show bactericidal and fungicidal activities.
Medicine: The flowers are useful in the treatment of liver disorders and seeds act as an anthelmintic. An astringent gum oozing from the cut stem has medicinal properties as a powerful astringent and is applied in cases of diarrhoea.
Other products: In India, the tree is an important host for the lac insect (Laccifer lacca), which produces shellac. Of all the lac trees, it yields the most lac stick per hectare.