Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ceylon oak (কুসুম গাছ) - Schleichera oleosa

Bengali Name : Kusum gachh (কুসুম গাছ), Kushum gachh (কুসুম গাছ).
Common Name : Ceylon oak, Kusum tree, Indian lac tree, Gum lac tree.
Botanical Name : Schleichera oleosa
Family : Sapindaceae

আমাদের দেশে কুসুম নামে একটা ফুল আগে থেকেই আছে। আর আজকের এই গাছটির নামও কুসুম। নামটি যদিও হিন্দিতে বেশি ব্যবহৃত হয়, তার পর বাংলায় খুবই মানানসই। এই জন্য আমরাও এই গাছকে কুসুম গাছ বলেই ডাকি। গাছটির ফুল কিন্তু মোটেও আকর্ষনীয় কিছু না। বসন্তের সময় টকটকে লাল রঙের পাতার জন্য এই গাছের সমাদর বেশি। বসন্ত ছাড়াও সারা বছর অল্প বেশি কচি লাল পাতা দেখা যায় গাছে। কুসুমের ফল থেকে তৈরী হয় এক রকম তেল, যার নাম কুসুম তেল। মাথার চুলের সাজগোজের জন্য ভালো দরকারী এই তেল।

There are lot of plants in this world which bring beautiful flowers, and in contrast there are also lot of plants which do not bring eye catching flowers. Few of those plants are still attractive for the lovely colorful foliage. Our today's plant Ceylon oak tree is one of those.

This plant is known as Kusum tree (Hindi name), Ceylon oak, etc. It doesn't have any Bengali name, hence we also know this as Kushum (কুসুম) or Kusum (কুসুম). There is another flower in Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) that is also known as Kusum (কুসুম), that's why this plant is mostly known as Kushum gachh (কুসুম গাছ).

Kusum tree (কুসুম গাছ) is a plant that is native to this South Asian region, but found few at Southeast Asian region too. The binomial name of the plant is Schleichera oleosa. The species name oleosa means for 'oily' or 'rich in oil'. It pertains to the plant family Sapindaceae.

Lot of flies on the flower cluster!

This is a medium to tall growing tree having a height of 20-30 meter. Initially the tree is on a firm base then branched around. The leafs are having lovely colorful foliage. Initial color of the leafs are scarlet, bright red. The tree brings such leafs more or less everyday. But during the spring the amount of new leafs are profuse.

The leafs then turn into light green that is also a lovely foliage, and stay on that form for few days. Later the leafs turns into dark green. Compound leafs are having 4-8 leaflets which are having short petiole. Alternately arranged veins are visible on the leafs. It is a deciduous plant by the way!

Ceylon oak (কুসুম গাছ) brings tiny flower as soon as after the new leafs during spring. They are not that much attractive or showy. Flowers bloom as a cluster and the color is yellowish or creamy. The petals are not visible, only the stamens with yellowish filaments are visible on flower. The flower attracts lot of flies and wasps (not sure why the flies).

Lot of flies on the flower cluster!

I have found the fruits during the June, that means it takes around two months to turn the flowers into fruits. Nut like fruits are small ball shaped. Initially they are green and later they turns into brick red color.

The seed of Ceylon oak (কুসুম) provide a nice oil that is known as Kusum oil (কুসুম তেল). This oil is popular for hairdressing (I have seen an ad for this oil long time back, forgot the brand name). Apart from this, the oil is also consumable after refining. This oil can also be used as a massage oil.

The bark of the tree has few medicinal uses (i.e. it can be used against the menstrual problem). The reddish brown wood of the plant is very hard and they are very useful as a grinder. For example grinding rice to make flour, or grinding seeds to extract oil.

Inside the Dhaka city you'll find plenty of such trees around the streets. Just look for the colorful leafs or lovely green foliage. Inside and around the Romna park (রমনা পার্ক) it has plenty. Also around the Dhaka university area we have quite a few of this tree.

Ceylon oak's fruit.

Ceylon oak's fruit.

Ceylon oak's fruit.

Red looking Ceylon oak tree with new leafs.

Green Ceylon oak tree after changing color.

Initial green leafs are also looking beautiful.

I have taken the photos from Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) as mentioned below:
1) March 2015: Romna park, Dhaka (রমনা পার্ক, ঢাকা) : Flowers
2) June 2015: Romna park, Dhaka (রমনা পার্ক, ঢাকা) : Fruits

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

Friday, June 26, 2015

Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) - Cacomantis merulinus

Bengali Name : Korun papia (করুন পাপিয়া), Sorgom (সরগম), Surela kokil (সুরেলা কোকিল).
Common Name : Plaintive cuckoo.
Binomial Name : Cacomantis merulinus
Family : Cuculidae

A female Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird.

Today I am going to write about a singer bird that belongs to the cuckoo family Cuculidae. It is known as Korun papia (করুন পাপিয়া), Sorgom (সরগম), Surela kokil (সুরেলা কোকিল), etc in Bengali. In English it is known as Plaintive cuckoo. Binomial name of the bird is Cacomantis merulinus. This bird is mainly native to Eastern Asia but it covers a wide range. That's why we have this bird in our country Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) too.

A female Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird. Notice the orange near the base of the beak.

This is probably the smallest cuckoo bird from the family. The male and the female are same in outlook, except the female can be found in 'hepatic' morph (in which they look different). The male Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird is having grey or greyish brown upper part and wings. The head is grey (or bluish grey) in color. The front side (breast) is light orange in color.

A male Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird.

The hepatic morphed female Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) looks different. They are having rufous upper part (including the head) with small black stripes. The front side is having paler with same small stripes too. Both male and female are having stripes of white (or orange?) and black at the under side of the tail.

A male Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird.

The color of the beak is shiny black and in hepatic morph the beak is having a touch of orange near the base. The eye is round, dark orange (or brown) with small black pupil. Legs and feet are light yellow in color. The male can produce a sweet sounding lyrical call (my favorite). They can produce several calls, but I like the one which is Pi Pi pi-pi-pi-pi-pi. The call is not that much loud or noisy, but pretty much clear.

A female Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird.

Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) lives mostly alone, that's why it is a bit difficult to find this bird often. They live mostly around the forest edge, woodland, secondary forest, etc area. They are brood parasite and choose the tailorbird, prinia, etc as a host. They mostly feed on the invertebrates (insect, caterpillar, beetles, etc).

A female Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird.

A female Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird.

A female Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird inside the trees.

A male Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird.

A male Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) perching on a wire.

A male Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird.

A female Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird. Notice the under tail stripes.

A female Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird.

A female Plaintive cuckoo (করুন পাপিয়া) bird.

Photos of this article were taken from Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) as mentioned below:
1) 20 December 2014: Sonarchor, patuakhali (সোনারচর, পটুয়াখালী).
2) 14 February 2015: Botanical garden, Dhaka (বোটানিক্যাল গার্ডেন, ঢাকা).

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog

শেষ বিকেলের পাখী, আমি যাযাবর...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mountain apple - Syzygium malaccense

Bengali Name : Golapi jamrul (গোলাপী জামরুল)??
Common Name : Mountain apple, Malay apple, Rose apple, Pomerac.
Botanical Name : Syzygium malaccense
Synonym : Caryophyllus malaccensis, Eugenia malaccensis
Family : Myrtaceae

It is a fruit tree but brings numerous bright colored flowers during the blooming season. Common names are Malay apple, Mountain apple, Rose apple, and many more! It is indeed native to the Eastern Asia (i.e. Malaysia, Indonesia, etc). But later this plant has introduced into the other regions like Caribbean, South America, etc.

I don't know what we call this in Bengali. But in market I have seen some pinkish fruits similar to this one in Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ). Botanical name of this plant is Syzygium malaccense with synonyms Eugenia malaccensis, Jambosa malaccensis, etc. This plant belongs to the plant family Myrtaceae.

Mountain apple is a tropical evergreen plant that can not tolerate frost. It is a medium sized plant can reach up to 60 ft in height. Dark green oppositely arranged leafs are having short petiole, lanceolate shape, and having deeply veined. Leafs are leathery and upper side is shiny than the lower side.

Flowers of Mountain apple are one of the most beautiful things on earth that a tree can bring! They are exquisite, gorgeous, and colorful. Pinkish flowers bloom as a cluster directly from the stem or wood. A single style at the center and surrounded by lot of frilly stamens.

Summer is the typical blooming season of the plant and which is April-May here in Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ). The ground under the tree uses to cover with numerous fallen stamens from the flowers (that makes as if a pink carpet under the tree). The flowers are attractive to the bees, butterflies, wasps, and small birds.

This plant is not common in Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ), and also I believe I have never tasted this fruit till now. But they are tasty and having a sweet fragrance. The shape of the fruit is like a pear fruit. They can be eaten without any further processing. It takes around three months to ripening the fruit after the flowering.

Although it is a beautiful flowering tree with juicy fruit, but it still has some medicinal uses too. The roots are effective against itching, diuretic and dysentery.

There are very few of this plant around the Dhaka city. I have found this one at Boro Mogbazar, Dhaka (বড় মগবাজার, ঢাকা). There is a house at 98/7 on the road side, and inside the boundary you'll find the tree. You can take photos from standing on the road (means do not need to enter inside the premise). The GPS coordinate is (23°44'46.26"N, 90°24'22.99"E).

Such a lovely scene under the tree. Mind blowing I should say!

A green fruit is visible at the bottom right corner of the photo.

Photos of this article were taken from Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) as mentioned below:
1) 30 May 2015: Boro Mogbazar, Dhaka (বড় মগবাজার, ঢাকা).
    GPS coordinate: (23°44'46.26"N, 90°24'22.99"E).

This article has written by Lonely Traveler,
for the blog