By Charles McCann
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Extra info for 100 beautiful trees of India: A descriptive and pictorial handbook
Obovatum in allusion to the ovate shape of the leaves. Description: A large deciduous tree reaching 50 ft. Leaves 4-6 in. , elliptic or obovate, abruptly acuminate, glabrous above more or less pubescent beneath, 6-8 pairs of main nerves, long petioled. Flowers small, inconspicuous, creamy sessile, densely crowded along the rachis, inflorescence panicle. Stamens 5, ovary 2-celled; stigma fusiform. 5 in. long, ellipsoid, ovate, short erect pedicels. Distribution: India, Western Peninsula, a fairly common tree in the Western Ghats.
The fruits are marketed from July to September. Bats attack the fruits. Uses: The bark affords an inferior fibre. The seeds yield oil and tree resins, the latter appear to be acrid principles and are useful insecticides. The fruit, bark, leaves and roots are used in medicine, the roots being considered a drastic purge. In the West Indies a kind of cider is made from them. Note: The Custard Apple is variously known as the Sugar-Sop or Sugar-apple, or Sweet-Sop. Some people believe that the Custard Apple causes fever, this belief is not wholly true but certain individuals may display a singular idiosyncrasy in this regard just as others do with certain forms of food.
Gardening: Propagated by seed. Uses: The bark of the younger parts of the tree yields a white flaxen fibre. A rough cloth was made from the fibre. The seeds are either eaten raw or after roasting. Note: Monkeys (Macaques) are very fond of the seeds and may be seen tearing open the follicles before they are ripe. There are a number of irritant hairs at the base of the seed which the novice needs to be careful of. The flowers are visited by carrion and fruit flies on account of the evil scent. The insects probably act as the pollinating agents.