Dillenia speciosa Thumb.
An evergreen tree, 6-l5 m tall, with red, smooth, thick bark, and tomentose spreading branches. Leaves usually near the end of branches., fascicled; blade l5-30 cm long, 5-l0 cm broad, glabrous above, pubescent on the nerves below, broadly elliptic—oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, regularly serrate, secondary veins 30-40 paired ending in the serratures, not forking at the margins; petiole channelled, sheathing and densely tomentose at the base, 2-4 cm. Flowers solitary, terminal, bisexual, drooping, l5-20 cm. across, appearing with leaves; pedicel 7-8 cm., clavate, smooth. Sepals c. 4 cm long, c. 2 cm broad, orbicular, concave, accre¬scent, fleshy, thick but with membranous margins, yellowish green. Petals 8-l0 cm long, 5-8 cm broad, spreading, obovate or oblong, white. Stamens numerous, inner long, (c. 20 cm) bending over the outer erect and short ones (c. l 5cm) forming a large yellow globe in the centre crowned by the white spreading rays of stigma; anthers versatile, 0.5-l cm long. Carpels l6-20; ovary fleshy, pale green, sub-reniform; stigmas linear, lanceolate, recurved. Fruit indehiscent, permanently covered by greenish, yellow or orange calyx, mucilaginous, 5-l2 cm. across. Seeds numerous, small, thickened, hairy along the edges, reniform.
Fl. Per. June-Sept.
Type: S. W. India, Malabar.
Distribution: Himalayas from Nepal to Assam. Southern, Eastern and Western peninsulas extending to Ceylon, Burma and the Malay Archipelago. In West Pakistan it is occasionally planted.
It is highly prized for its large, handsome and fragrant flowers. The fleshy sepals covering the fruit have an agreeable acid taste and are eaten either raw or cooked, usually in curries (particularly prawn-curries; also used in preparing acid jelly). The fruits have a similar taste and flavour to unripe apple.