(Last Updated on : 06-07-2013)
The 'Cork Tree' is a very famous tree in India and has been cultivated in most parts of India in the gardens and avenues. The scientific name of this tree is 'Millingtonia Hortensis'. The name 'Millingtonia' honours the English botanist of the 18th Century, Thomas Millington and 'Hortensis' means "grown in gardens". It came from the 'Bignoniaceae' family. The tree is named as 'Akas Nim' or 'Nim Chameli' or 'Betati Nim' in Hindi
. The Bengali
people know it as 'Akas Nim' or 'Mini-chameli'. In Tamil, it is 'Karkku' and 'Kat Malli' and in Telugu, it is 'Kavuki'. The English people call it as the 'Cork Tree' or the 'Tree Jasmine'.
The 'Cork Tree' is tall and straight one with a few branches comparing the others. For having a great ornamental value rather than any shade-giving properties, the tree claims to be one of the most popular trees in India. It is a nice and fast growing tree, but because of having fragile wood, the tree liable to be damaged easily by storms. In suitable conditions, it can grow up to 24 m. in height. The tree grows wild in most parts of India and also being extensively cultivated in suitable climates. The ash coloured bark is cracked and wrinkled and the numerous fractures make removal of the cork an easy matter. This can be used as a mediocre substitute for true cork.
From the month of April till the rainy season and again in the months of November and December, the tree produces a large amount of silvery white and amusingly fragrant flowers. The open clusters are upright and with arching blooms, they terminate every branchlet. The tiny flowers are some bell-shaped calyx and long slim tube of very pale green in colour. They are divided into four bendable, white petals and also contain several prominent yellow anthered stamens. One petal of the flowers is longer and cracked. There are many flowers that are skillfully tinted with pink. The flower sprays consist largely of long whitish buds. As they fall down immediately after opening, they spangle the ground below with countless little stars.
In between the months of January and March, the leaves of the tree discard and in April and May, they get renewed. There is two or three broadly spaced pinna in the long leaves. Each pinna contains five or seven smooth oval-shaped leaflets that are pointed and slightly round-toothed. Each of the leaflets is 2.5 to 7.5 am in length. In some occasions, the lower pinna divides again and bears one pair of three-leaved pinna and one or two pairs of leaflets and one leaflet at the end. The fruit of the 'Cork Tree' is very long and narrow. It is sharp at both ends and is full of thin flat seeds. These trees do not seed very effortlessly in India.