Devil's Tree

Devil's Tree

Alstonia Scholaris-

Family: Alstonia Scholaris belongs to the dogbanes family.

Common names: The tree is known as the Devil’s tree or the Blackboard tree in English and ‘Shaitan ka Jhad’, which translates to the Devil’s tree, in Hindi.

Flowering period: It flowers in the winter season, from the months of October to February.

Habitat: Even though the tree is native to the Shivaliks (or the Lower Himalayas), it is highly adaptive and grows well in the arid climate of Rajasthan.

Uses: The bark of the tree is used to make medicines for dysentery and fever. The latex of the tree is also used for treating cough, sore throat and fever. However, the pollen of the tree triggers asthma and bronchitis for some.

Key features: Alstonia Scholaris is upto 30m tall and has a greyish brown bark covered with lenticels. The most prominent feature of this tree is its unique form of branching, known as storey branching. These branches secrete a milky white latex. The leaves of the tree are arranged in the form of whorls with 6 to 7 unequal leaves forming each whorl. The greenish-white bisexual flowers of the tree have a loosely branches structure and these flowers usually bloom from the months of October to February, after which fruiting is also observed.