Tree of Morni: Kamala

Kamala/Raini/ Rohan/ Rohini/ Sinduri/ Monkey Face Tree (Mallotus philippensis) – a slow-growing, small (25-50 feet high), narrow-stemmed tropical tree that yields a golden-red dye used for colouring silk and wool. Found in the Western Himalayas upto a height of 5000 feet, it is used in Ayurveda for treating skin ailments, eye-diseases, jaundice, worm/parasitic infections, rheumatism, cancer, malaria, cancer, diabetes etc.  The tree tolerates shade, frost and drought but fares poorly in forest fires. The flowers are yellow-brown, with male and female flowers growing on seperate trees. Reddish-brown fruit is borne on erect spikes by female plants. Fruit is globose, 3-lobed about a centimetre in diameter and ripen in February-March. Seeds are black in colour. The extra-floral nectaries attract ants. Leaves are used as animal fodder.

Kamala tree (female), Rasoon, Morni hills
Fruit of Kamala tree (female), Rasoon, Morni hills