Urostigma religiosum (L.)Gasp.
A large or medium sized, evergreen or deciduous tree, 6-15 (-20) m tall. Trunk c. 2-3 m in circumference, with spreading branches and usually without aerial roots, bark grey, fissured; young twig pubescent with pink new leaves. Leaves with a pale-green, slender, (4-) 5-10 (-11) cm long, terete petiole; lamina trullate-ovate or suborbicular, (4.5-) 6-15 (-18) cm long, 4-11 (-14) cm broad, margins entire or ± repand, 3-5-costate at the truncate or ± cordate base, apex .abruptly long-acuminate, acumen nearly half as long as lamina, lateral nerves 6-9 pairs with several zigzag intercostals; stipules yellowish-brown, deltoid-acuminate, 8-12 mm long; cystoliths present only on the lower side. Hypanthodia sessile, in axillary pairs, c. 5-6 mm in diameter, yellowish-green, subtended by 3 silky-puberulent to glabrescent, broadly ovate-elliptic, obtuse, 3-5 mm long basal bracts, internal bristles absent, apical orifice closed by 3 apical bracts. Male flowers: sessile in a single ostiolar whorl or sometimes absent; sepals 2-3, free, ovate-lanceolate. Female and gall flowers: sessile or pedicellate; sepals 3-4 (-5), lanceolate. Figs depressed globose, c. 10-12.5 mm in diameter, dark-purple on maturity.
Fl. & Fr. Per.: March-October.
Syntype: “Habitat in India”, Herb. Linn. 1240/4-5 (LINN).
Distribution: Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Ceylon, China, Burma and Thailand; introduced and cultivated in S.E. Asia, Middle East, North Africa (Egypt, Libya), U.S.A. and elsewhere.
It is planted as an avenue or roadside tree and is held sacred and commonly planted by Hindus in India near temples. The fruits are commonly eaten by birds as food and in times of famine by human beings. The leaves and twigs are lopped for cattle and goats. The wood is used for packing cases and in sacrificial fires by Hindus. Leaves and tender shoots are used as purgative and in skin diseases. The fruit is laxative, alterative and cooling.