tree: Much more than yummy fruits
Spotting a Mango tree in Colombo is not too difficult and these
days it is made even easier by the prominent flowers which virtually
cover the crown of the tree and grab the attention of a passerby.
tree grows in both the wet and dry zones upto an altitude of 4000
feet. It has a dense, wide canopy and grows to about 80 feet. The
bark of the tree is rough and brown.
leaves are crowded at the ends of the branches and are long and
pointed and shiny green. There is a red brown flush in the new leaves
while the old leaves turn yellow. The flowering season differs and
can be between February and March or in October. The flowers are
showy and appear in clusters at the ends of the branches. They are
yellow green and some have a pungent odour.
Mango tree is valued not only for its tasty fruits but also for
its timber and its medicinal properties. The timber is soft and
used for boxes, dugout canoes and plywood. The whole tree has medicinal
properties. The juice of the leaves is used for bleeding dysentery.
An infusion of the young leaves is used to cure chronic diseases
of the lungs.
infusion of Mango, Madan (Syzgium cumini) and the Kumbuk (Terminalia
arjuna) mixed with bees’ honey is used to treat bleeding from
A decoction of the dry flowers can be given for diarrhoea and dysentery.
The Mango tree that we commonly see in the city and throughout the
island has been introduced from India. It is found all over tropical
is referred to as Amba in Sinhalese and Mangai in Tamil. The scientific
name is Mangifera indica. Sri Lanka has also been blessed with an
endemic species of Mango, known as the Et-amba in Sinhalese. Mangifera
zeylanica is a much taller tree growing to about 130 feet.
the flowers are similar to the Indian Mango, the bark is whitish
and the leaves are small and stiff. In India the Mango is considered
a holy tree, sacred to both Buddhists and Hindus. Lord Buddha was
presented with a grove of Mango trees under which he could find
repose. To the Hindus the tree is a transformation of the god Prajapati.
on holy days the twigs are used as tooth brushes and the leaves
as spoons. In marriage ceremonies the hall is decorated with Mango
leaves and the wood is used in funeral pyres. Compiled by Ruk Rakaganno
- 2554438; email: firstname.lastname@example.org