This picture, taken at a resort near Mahabalipuram, brings back memories of the lovely morning , our breakfast time and the photo session that followed it 🙂 The place was full of greenery all around, but this one with its lovely flowers had called out to me.
Featuring the night-flowering jasmine, commonly known as paarijat / paarijata / paarijatam in various Indian languages. There are a number of other names too, depending on the region this tree is found in.
Not to be confused with the night-blooming jasmine commonly known as Raat Ki Rani.
Botanically named Nyctanthes arbor-tristis, it a species of Nyctanthes, and is native to South Asia and Southeast Asia.
The distinctive characteristic of this tree is the fragrant flower, a small white petalled one with an orange-red centre. They are produced in clusters of two to seven together, with individual flowers opening at dusk and falling off at dawn.
Notice the fruit that seems to be perfectly heart-shaped in this pic of mine ? 🙂
The tree has religious significance and is also popular due to the symbolism attached to it. It is sometimes called the “tree of sorrow”, because the flowers lose their brightness during daytime. In fact, the scientific name arbor-tristis also means “sad tree”.
In certain cultures, it is associated with the cycle of life i.e. birth and dying. And, is popularly used as a garland for the dead.
More Trivia (from the wiki page):
- Paarijat is the official flower of the state of West Bengal.
Significance in Hinduism –
- Parijat (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis), appears in several Hindu religious stories and is often related to the Kalpavriksha.
- In one story, which appears in Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana, parijat appeared as the result of the Samudra manthan (Churning of the Milky Ocean) and Lord Krishna battled with Indra to win parijat.
- Further on, his wife Satyabhama demanded the tree be planted in the backyard of her palace. It so happened that in spite of having the tree in her backyard, the flowers used to fall in the adjacent backyard of the other queen Rukmini, who was favourite of Lord Krishna, because of her superior devotion and humility.
- The flowers can be used as a source of yellow dye for clothing.
- Extracts of the seeds, flowers and leaves possess immunostimulant, hepatoprotective, antileishmanial, antiviral and antifungal activities in vitro. The leaves have been used in Ayurvedic medicine and Homoeopathy for sciatica, arthritis, fevers, and as a laxative.
This is my entry for the #ThursdayTreeLove blog hop hosted by Parul , on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month. Do join in, and/or hop over for a feast of tree pics 🙂