Millingtonia hortensis: Tree jasmine

Family: Bignoniaceae
Common name: Tree jasmine, Indian cork tree

Mostly grown in South and South-east Asia, Indian cork tree is primarily an ornamental tree. The tree can grow to a height of 25 meters. Beautiful, delicately-scented flowers adorn the tree during summer and also in winter. Flowers have a long slender tube of corolla ending in five delicate white petals.

Tree jasmine flowers are short-lived; blooming at night and shedding in the morning, so that the ground will be carpeted with white stars during flowering season. The pinnate leaves are very pretty, making the tree ornamental even without flowers.

The wood is quite brittle, and the outer bark looks cracked. Hence it is not used to make furniture, but is used as a cheap alternative to cork. The Indian cork tree has some medicinal uses; the leaves being used to treat fever and sinusitis. Dry flowers and roots are used for treating lung ailments. Indian cork tree is a fast growing tree, that thrives in well-drained soil and full sunlight.

Propagation is from seeds and suckers that grown around the parent tree.

Photo Courtesy: love4gardening.com

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