majestic tree indigenous to Sri Lanka and India shows to best advantage
along river banks and tanks in the low country dry and intermediate
zones. The Kumbuk is known in Tamil as the Marudu. Its scientific
name is Terminalia arjuna.
is a tall tree, growing upto 25m, with a prominently buttressed
trunk and spreading branches. The tree has a slightly droopy appearance.
The bark is smooth and greenish white with a distinct pink tinge.
It flakes off in large flat pieces. This feature is one which helps
identify the tree. The leaves of the Kumbuk are broad and rounded
at both ends. They turn red before falling off. The tree flowers
in April and May. The small greenish white flowers are heavily honey
scented and are a favourite of the bees.
fruits of this tree have been described as follows: "'Great
oaks from little acorns grow' goes the saying. Hence one should
not be surprised to find that the diminutive 5 ribbed bead shaped,
floating seed…gives rise to this noble tree." (The Handbook
for the Ceylon Traveller published by Studio Times).
so many of our indigenous trees parts of the Kumbuk too are used
as a cure for many illnesses. Decoctions of the bark are used to
wash ulcers, taken internally for bilious attacks or as an antidote
juice made of the leaves is used for earache. Powdered bark with
milk is given for fractures and contusions. In Sri Lanka, preparations
of the bark are given for heart and lung diseases and fractures
some countries the ash of the burnt Kumbuk wood is used as a substitute
for lime. The tree also provides heavy construction timber. In the
ecosystem the Kumbuk tree plays a very important role by affording
protection to the banks of rivers with their root systems. The tree
is also planted near wells to clear the water.
mentioned earlier the Kumbuk can often be seen lining river banks
throughout the country. One of our rivers, the Kumbukkan Oya has
even been named after it. Kumbuk wila in Wilpattu is ringed by Kumbuk
trees which arch over the tank with the reflections of their pinkish
barks creating a beautiful image in the water. Here in Colombo look
out for these trees along Alexander Place (C.W.W. Kannangara Mw)
in front of the Town Hall.
Compiled by: Ruk Rakaganno, The Tree Society of
Phone- 2554438; email: firstname.lastname@example.org