Mangoes belong to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous species of tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is indigenous to India. Cultivated in many tropical and subtropical regions and distributed widely in the world, mango is one of the most extensively exploited fruits for food, juice, flavor, fragrance and color.
In several cultures, its fruit and leaves are ritually used as floral decorations at weddings, public celebrations and religious ceremonies.
Mango inflorescence and immature fruit
The seed of mango can be hairy or fibrous
Mango trees (Mangifera indica L.) grow 35–40 m (110–130 ft) tall, with a crown radius of 10 m (33 ft). The mango tree is long-lived; some specimens still fruit after 300 years. In deep soil the taproot descends to a depth of 6 m (20 ft) and the profuse, wide-spreading feeder roots also send down many anchor roots which penetrate several feet of soil. The leaves are evergreen, alternate, simple, 15–35 cm (5.9–14 in) long and 6–16 cm (2.4–6.3 in) broad; when the leaves are young they are orange-pink, rapidly changing to a dark glossy red, then dark green as they mature. The flowers are produced in terminal panicles 10–40 cm (3.9–16 in) long; each flower is small and white with five petals 5–10 mm (0.20–0.39 in) long, with a mild sweet odor suggestive of lily of the valley. The fruit takes three to six months to ripen.
The ripe fruit is variable in size and color. Cultivars are variously yellow, orange, red or green and carry a single flat, oblong pit that can be fibrous or hairy on the surface. Ripe, unpeeled fruit gives off a distinctive resinous, sweet smell. Inside the pit 1–2 mm (0.039–0.079 in) thick is a thin lining covering a single seed, 4–7 mm (0.16–0.28 in) long, 3–4 cm (1.2–1.6 in) and 1 cm (0.4 in). The seed contains the plant embryo.
Banana is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa and for the fruit they produce. Bananas come in a variety of sizes and colors when ripe, including yellow, purple, and red. In popular culture and commerce, "banana" usually refers to soft, sweet "dessert" bananas. Bananas from a group of cultivars with firmer, starchier fruit are called plantains.
They are native to tropical Southeast Asia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics. They are grown in at least 107 countries, primarily for their fruit, and to a lesser extent to make fiber and as ornamental plants.
'Cavendish' bananas are the main commercial cultivar
Although fruit of wild species have large, hard seeds, virtually all culinary bananas have only tiny seeds. Bananas are classified either as dessert bananas (meaning they are yellow and fully ripe when eaten) or as green cooking bananas.
Almost all export bananas are of the dessert types; however, only about 10–15% of production is for export. The United States and European Union are the dominant importers.
The flower of the banana plant (also known as banana blossom or banana heart) is used in Southeast Asian, Telugu, Tamil, and Bengali, either raw or steamed with dips or cooked in soups and curries. The flower's flavor resembles that of artichoke's. As with artichokes, both the the fleshy part of the petals and the heart are edible.
Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas are associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and in women, breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma
Individuals with a latex allergy may experience a reaction to bananas.
The juice extract prepared from the tender core treats kidney stones and high blood pressure.
Bananas contain considerable amounts of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. The latter makes them of particular interest to athletes who use them to quickly replenish their electrolytes.
The coconut (Cocos nucifera) is an important member of the family Arecaceae (palm family). It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos, and is a large palm, growing to 30 m tall, with pinnate leaves 4–6 m long, and pinnae 60–90 cm long; old leaves break away cleanly, leaving the trunk smooth. The term coconutcan refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word.
The coconut palm is grown throughout the tropics for decoration, as well as for its many culinary and non-culinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm can be utilized by humans in some manner. In cooler climates (but not less than USDA Zone 9), a similar palm, the queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), is used inlandscaping. Its fruits are very similar to the coconut, but much smaller. The queen palm was originally classified in the genus Cocos along with the coconut, but was later reclassified in Syagrus. A recently discovered palm, Beccariophoenix alfredii from Madagascar, is nearly identical to the coconut, and more so than the queen palm. It is cold-hardy, and produces a coconut lookalike in cooler areas.
The coconut has spread across much of the tropics, probably aided in many cases by seafaring people. Coconut fruit in the wild is light, buoyant and highly water resistant, and evolved to disperse significant distances via marine currents. Fruit collected from the sea as far north as Norway are viable. In theHawaiian Islands, the coconut is regarded[by whom?] as a Polynesian introduction, first brought to the islands by early Polynesian voyagers from their homelands inOceania. They are now almost ubiquitous between 26°N and 26°S except for the interiors of Africa and South America.
The flowers of the coconut palm are polygamomonoecious, with both male and female flowers in the same inflorescence. Flowering occurs continuously. Coconut palms are believed to be largely cross-pollinated, although some[which?] dwarf varieties are self-pollinating. The meat of the coconut is the edible endosperm, located on the inner surface of the shell. Inside the endosperm layer, coconuts contain an edible clear liquid that is sweet, salty, or both.
Neem (Azadirachta indica) is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. It is one of two species in the genus Azadirachta, and is native to India,Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Pakistan, growing in tropical and semi-tropical regions. Other vernacular names include Neem (Hindi, Urdu and Bengali), Nimm (Punjabi), Arya Veppu (Malayalam), Azad Dirakht (Persian), Nimba (Sanskrit and Marathi), DogonYaro (in some Nigerianlanguages), Margosa, Neeb (Arabic), Nimtree, Vepu, Vempu, Vepa (Telugu), Bevu (Kannada), Kohomba (Sinhala), Vempu (Tamil), Tamar (Burmese), xoan Ấn Độ (Vietnamese), and Indian Lilac (English). In East Africa it is also known as Muarubaini (Swahili), which means the tree of the 40, as it is said to treat 40 different diseases.
Neem is a fast-growing tree that can reach a height of 15-20 m (about 50-65 feet), rarely to 35-40 m (115-131 feet). It is evergreen, but in severe drought it may shed most or nearly all of its leaves. The branches are wide spread. The fairly dense crown is roundish or oval and may reach the diameter of 15-20 m in old, free-standing specimens.
The trunk is relatively short, straight and may reach a diameter of 1.2 m (about 4 feet).
The alternate, pinnate leaves are 20-40 cm (8 to 16 in.) long, with 20 to 31 medium to dark green leaflets about 3-8 cm (1 to 3 in.) long. The terminal leaflet is often missing. The petioles are short. Very young leaves are reddish to purplish in colour. The shape of mature leaflets is more or less asymmetric and their margins are dentate with the exception of the base of their basiscopal half, which is normally very strongly reduced and cuneate or wedge-shaped.
The (white and fragrant) flowers are arranged axillary, normally in more-or-less drooping panicles which are up to 25 cm (10 in.) long. The inflorescences, which branch up to the third degree, bear from 150 to 250 flowers. An individual flower is 5-6 mm long and 8-11 mm wide. Protandrous, bisexual flowers and male flowers exist on the same individual. Flowers are used to make a curry called ugadi pachadi.
The apple is the pomaceous fruit of the apple tree, species Malus domestica in the rose family Rosaceae. It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits.
The tree originated from Central Asia, where its wild ancestor is still found today. There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples resulting in a range of desired characteristics. Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.
At least 55 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2005, with a value of about $10 billion. China produced about 35% of this total. The United States is the second leading producer, with more than 7.5% of world production. Iran is third followed by Turkey, Russia, Italy and India.
The apple forms a tree that is small and deciduous, reaching 3 to 12 metres (9.8 to 39 ft) tall, with a broad, often densely twiggy crown. The leaves arealternately arranged simple ovals 5 to 12 cm long and 3–6 centimetres (1.2–2.4 in) broad on a 2 to 5 centimetres (0.79 to 2.0 in) petiole with an acute tip, serrated margin and a slightly downy underside.Blossoms are produced in spring simultaneously with the budding of the leaves. The flowers are white with a pink tinge that gradually fades, five petaled, and 2.5 to 3.5 centimetres (0.98 to 1.4 in) in diameter. The fruit matures in autumn, and is typically 5 to 9 centimetres (2.0 to 3.5 in) diameter. The center of the fruit contains five carpels arranged in a five-point star, each carpel containing one to three seeds.
The wild ancestors of Malus domestica are Malus sieversii, which is found growing wild in the mountains of Central Asia in southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan, and Xinjiang, China, and possibly also Malus sylvestris.
A banyan is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree (or on structures like buildings and bridges). "Banyan" often refers specifically to the species Ficus benghalensis, though the term has been generalized to include all figs that share a unique life cycle, and systematically to refer to the subgenus Urostigma. The seeds of banyans are dispersed by fruit-eating birds. The seeds germinate and send down roots towards the ground, and may envelop part of the host tree or building structure with their roots, giving them the casual name of "strangler fig." The "strangling" growth habit is found in a number of tropical forest species, particularly of the genus Ficus, that compete for light. Any Ficusspecies showing this habit may be termed a strangler fig.
Older banyan trees are characterized by their aerial prop roots which grow into thick woody trunks which, with age, can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. Old trees can spread out laterally using these prop roots to cover a wide area. The largest such tree is now found in Kolkata in India. One of the most famous of banyan trees was planted on the island of Kabirvad in Gujarat. Records show that the Kabirvad tree is more than 300 years old. Another famous banyan tree was planted in 1873 in Lahaina's Courthouse Square in Hawai'i, and has now grown to cover two-thirds of an acre.
Like other Fig species (which includes the common edible fig Ficus carica), banyans have unique fruit structures and are dependent on fig wasps for reproduction. A variety of the Banyan known as Indian Banyan or Ficus bengalensis is the National tree of India.
The papaya (from Carib via Spanish) is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, in the genus Carica. It is native to the tropics of the Americas, and was cultivated inMexico several centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classic cultures. It is often called a "paw paw" or a "big melon" but the North American pawpawis a different species, in the genus Asimina.
It is a large tree-like plant, with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 metres (16 to 33 ft) tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk. The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred where leaves and fruit were borne. The leaves are large, 50–70 centimetres (20–28 in) diameter, deeply palmately lobed with 7 lobes. The tree is usually unbranched if unlopped. The flowers are similar in shape to the flowers of the Plumeria but are much smaller and wax-like. They appear on theaxils of the leaves, maturing into the large 15–45 centimetres (5.9–18 in) long, 10–30 centimetres (3.9–12 in) diameter fruit. The fruit is ripe when it feels soft (like a ripe avocado or a bit softer) and its skin has attained an amber to orange hue.
It is the first fruit tree to have its genome deciphered.
Foliage and acorns of Quercus robur
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus (pronounced /ˈkwɜrkəs/; Latin "oak tree"), of which about 400 species exist on earth. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus. The genus is native to the northern hemisphere, and includes deciduous andevergreen species extending from cold latitudes to tropical Asia and the Americas.
Oaks have spirally arranged leaves, with a lobed margin in many species; some have serrated leaves or entire leaves with a smooth margin. The flowers arecatkins, produced in spring. The fruit is a nut called an acorn, borne in a cup-like structure known as a cupule; each acorn contains one seed (rarely two or three) and takes 6–18 months to mature, depending on species. The live oaks are distinguished for being evergreen, but are not actually a distinct group and instead are dispersed across the genus.
Oak trees are flowering plants. The genus is divided into two subgenera and a number of sections:
Orange blossoms and oranges on tree
An orange—specifically, the sweet orange—is the citrus Citrus ×sinensis (syn. Citrus aurantium L. var. dulcis L., or Citrus aurantium Risso) and itsfruit. The orange is a hybrid of ancient cultivated origin, possibly between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and tangerine (Citrus reticulata). It is a small flowering tree growing to about 10 m tall with evergreen leaves, which are arranged alternately, of ovate shape with crenulate margins and 4–10 cm long. The orange fruit is a hesperidium, a type of berry.
Oranges originated in Southeast Asia. The fruit of Citrus sinensis is called sweet orange to distinguish it from Citrus aurantium, the bitter orange. The name is thought to ultimately derive from the Sanskrit for the orange tree, with its final form developing after passing through numerous intermediate languages.
In a number of languages, it is known as a "Chinese apple" (e.g. Dutch Sinaasappel, "China's apple").
All citrus trees are of the single genus, Citrus, and remain largely interbreedable; that is, there is only one "superspecies" which includes grapefruits, lemons, limes, and oranges. Nevertheless, names have been given to the various members of the genus, oranges often being referred to as Citrus sinensis and Citrus aurantium. Fruits of all members of the genus Citrus are considered berries because they have many seeds, are fleshy and soft, and derive from a single ovary. An orange seed is called a pip. The white thread-like material attached to the inside of the peel is called pith.
Tulasi Devi: The Sacred Tree
Compiled by Stephen Knapp
The Tulasi tree is a most important plant, and is often seen at numerous Hindu temples, especially those dedicated to Vishnu and Krishna. At such temples you are likely to find one or more in the courtyard wherein pilgrims circumambulate it, water it, or even offer prayers to it. Some temples will even have Tulasi groves, wherein you will see numerous Tulasi plants growing in a garden. Some temples will even have a special greenhouse just for taking care of Tulasi plants. At such temples, they may even prepare large garlands of Tulasi leaves and manjaris (the ends of the branches) for the deity of Lord Krishna to wear. It is said that Tulasi will not grow well where there is no devotion to the Lord. In fact, how well Tulasi grows is said to be like a barometer that indicates how high the devotional attitude is of the devotee community around the temple.
Vaishnava devotees also use the wood to make neck beads and wear two or three strands of them around their necks signifying their devotion to the Lord. They also make their japa mala or chanting beads from wood of the Tulasi tree as well. Tulasi is considered to be a pure devotee of the Lord who has taken the form of a tree. Therefore she is given the utmost respect. This is also why many devotees and Hindus in general also grow Tulasi in their homes. In this way, the Tulasi plant plays an important part in the spiritual life of many devotees. So what is the significance, history and legends behind this little tree?
To begin with, the Basil plant (Ocimum sanctum) is commonly called Tulasi (pronounced tulsi). In some accounts of the Puranic story of the Churning of the Ocean (samudramathana), the Tulasi is added to the list of articles which emerged from it, and is sacred to Krishna (according to Wilson’s VishnuPurana p, 67. n.8). It is also sacred to his Lord Vishnu’s consort Laksmi, and hence it is itself an object of worship.
The Tulasi plant also possesses curative properties and is said to be an antidote to snake-venom. It destroys mosquitoes and other pests and purifies the air. It even is said to ward off the messengers of Yama, the ruler of the dead, who will not enter a house containing a sprig of Tulasi. This is also one of the reasons why devotees wear the Tulasi as neck beads. When death occurs, the funeral pyre should be constructed of Tulasi, palasha, and sandal-wood.