A little beauty with lots of medicinal value

The Lunu warana, a small tree growing upto 25 feet is much branched with a greyish trunk. The leaves are compound made up of three leaflets each with a pointed tip, almost heart shaped. The tree is deciduous and sheds its leaves during December. The new leaves are pale green and bronze while the old leaves are yellow.

The flowers of the Lunu warana are white or creamy yellow with purple stamens. The flowers are clustered at the ends of the branches. The flowering season is between February and April though some writers describe a flowering season in December. The flowers appear with the new leaves. The fruits are globose berries which appear on long, woody stalks.

The whole tree has medicinal value. The bark and leaves are used to treat urinary diseases and stomach ailments and the bark to treat fevers, mild skin diseases and to relieve vomiting. In Sri Lanka a decoction of the powdered bark is used to cure stones in the kidney or bladder. The fresh leaves make a good substitute for a mustard poultice. In India the Lunu warana is used to prepare a snake- bite remedy. The wood of this tree is used to make toys and also sandals.

The Lunu warana is indigenous to Sri Lanka, India, Burma and Africa. Found in the dry and arid zones in scrub and monsoon forests, it is common in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Dambulla and Hambantota. If you are travelling in the dry zone, for instance Yala, look out for these beautiful trees in bloom.

The Lunu warana is known as the Navala or Adicharanam in Tamil. The scientific name is Crataeva adansonii. It is also known as Crataeva religiosa since the tree is revered and worshipped in India.

Compiled by: Ruk Rakaganno (The Tree Society of Sri Lanka).
Tel: 2554438;
email: rukraks@sltnet.lk

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