(Last Updated on : 07-12-2013)
Musket Tree is a medium-sized or small tree in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of India. The Botanical name of this plant is Guazuma ulmifolia Lam. There are various other names by which Musket Tree is known in different languages in India and some of them include nipaltunth in Bengali language
, bucha, bhadrakshi mara and rudrakshi in Kannada language
, tenbachai, rudrasam, thenmaram and tubakki in Tamil, rudraksham and uttha-rasham in Malayalam language
and thenechettu, udrikpatta and rudraksha in Telugu language.
Musket Tree is a small or medium-sized tree which grows up to a height of 25 meters with brown, rough bark and spreading branches. The leaves of this tree are ovate to oblong or lanceolate, the base is unequally cordate, apex is acuminate, and margins are serrate, scabrid above, pubescent beneath and base is 5 to 7 nerved. Petioles are 0.5 to 2 centimeters long. The flowers of this Indian plant are small and yellow or purple in colour and are borne in axillary thyrsilorni cymes about 2 to 4 centimeters long. The sepals are five in number, at first spathaceous and the petals are also five in number. The Fruits (capsule) of Musket Tree are globose or ellipsoid, woody, tubercled, 5-celled, indehiscent, purplish-black and are about 1.2 to 4 centimeters long and 1.2 to 2.5 centimeters wide, containing numerous, ovoid, grey seeds 2.5 to 4 millimeters long and 1.8 to 2 millimeters wide.
Musket Tree is native to tropical America. This is one of the Indian medicinal plants which is cultivated in gardens and as a roadside shade tree in tropical and subtropical India, mainly in the southern parts of India. This tree is at times naturalized in the vicinity of towns and villages. Though not widely used in India, the roasted seeds of Musket Tree are regarded as an astringent. The bark of this medicinal plant is a tonic and demulcent, and an extract of the leaves of Musket Tree is reported to reduce corpulence. In Java, the fruit of this Indian medicinal plant is used in the treatment of stomach disorder and an infusion of the old bark of Musket Tree is regarded as sudorific and is very much useful in the treatment of skin diseases.