Trees of Morni: Tiger’s Milk Spruce

Tiger’s Milk Spruce/ Khirun/ Khinna/ Chhiran/ Ainkhar (Sapium insigne) a medium-sized, fast growing deciduous tree of the Shiwaliks with horizontal branches that exude a toxic milky sap. During flowering the tree is leafless with long upright, crimson coloured spikes at the end of the branches. Flowers are yellowish-green arranged on these terminal spikes. Leaves are pointed, with a wedge-shaped base and are crowded at the end of branchlets.  Leaves are not useful as fodder as they are poisonous for cattle.The bark is rough, divided into deep fissures with corky ridges. The wood is not useful as fuel-wood as its smoke irritates the eye.

The sap was used by Red Indians to poison their arrows! Indian tribals reportedly use the latex to kill fish. The poisonous latex has, however, saved the tree from felling as locals are afraid that the latex may fly to the eye during cutting and may cause serious damage.

The tree sheds its leaves in winter and together with the larger jhingan gives Morni ‘s winter skyline an artistic touch.

Tiger's Milk Spruce, Rasoon, April 2012
Tiger's Milk Spruce- Seed Spikes
Tiger's Milk Spruce- The Crimson Spikes
Tiger's Milk Spruce leaves
Tiger's Milk Spruce- new leaves, May 2012

 

Tiger's Milk Spruce bark
Tiger's Milk Spruce in autumn

References:

  1. Ethnobotanical Information on sapium Insigne (Royale) Benth.: A Conserved Plant of Shivalik Hills, India; D.S. Rawat & A.D. Kharwal (2009) 

1 thought on “Trees of Morni: Tiger’s Milk Spruce”

  1. Nice informative site! The photo “Tiger’s Milk Spruce- The Crimson Spikes” seem to be showing the seed spikes?

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