Symplocos racemosa Roxb.

Symplocos racemosa Roxb.  (SYMPLOCACEAE)
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Common names
Kannada: Bala loddugina mara.
Tulu & Malayalam: Pachotti.
Sanskrit: Batabhadra, Balipriya.
Tamil: Velli-lethi.
Telugu:  Lodduga, Sapara.
English: Sapphire berry, Sweet leaf.

Description:  Evergreen trees, 10-15 m tall; bark often marked with white patches. Leaves crowded at the ends of the branches, elliptic-oblong or elliptic-lanceolate, 8-16 x 3-6.5 cm, narrowed at base, acute or acuminate at apex, glandular-serrate, crenate or subentire, glabrous on both sides, polished and shining above; nerves 6-10 pairs; petioles 0.6 – 1 cm long. Flowers in 8-18 cm long axillary racemes, white, fragrant. Calyx glabrous, lobes 5. Corolla lobes 5. Stamens numerous, in 5 phalanges; filaments united in bundles, filiform. Ovary 2-locular; style thick, with a ring of hairs and orange-colored glands at the base; stigma capitate. Fruit a drupe, ellipsoid to ovoid or oblong, 1-1.5 x 0.6 cm. Seeds 1-3, oblong, hard.

Flowering & Fruiting: October – May.

Distribution: India: Western Peninsula. Common in evergreen and semi-evergreen forests of Western Ghats, up to 1300 m.  South E. Asia.

Uses: A yellow dye extracted from the leaves and bark, but mainly the bark, is used as a  mordant with other dyes. It is one of the ingredients of a red powder used during the festival of Holi. In calico-printing and leather dyeing it is used as auxillary. Bark astringent, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue, tonic, used in diarrhoea, dysentery, leprosy, liver complaints, dropsy,  diseases of blood, miscarriage, vaginal ulcers and discharges, ophthalmia and conjunctivitis, decoction employed to stop bleeding of gums; along with sugar bark is used in menorrhagia and other uterine disorders; root bark; leaf, fruit and seed are used in haemorrhage, burning sensation, polyuria, diabetes and for alleviating vata.