Careya arborea  

Careya arborea Roxb.

Family : Lecythidaceae

Common Name : പേഴ് (Mal)

: कुम्भी (Hin)

: Wild Guava (Eng)

Wild Guava is a medium sized deciduous tree, up to 20 m tall, the leaves of which turn red in the cold season. It is the Kumbhi of Sanskrit writers, and appear to have been so named on account of the hollow on the top of the fruit giving it somewhat the appearance of a water-pot. Wild pigs are very fond of the bark, and that it is used by hunters to attract them. An astringent gum exudes from the fruit and stem, and the bark is made into coarse cordage. The Tamil name Puta-tanni-maram signifies ”water- bark-tree,” in allusion to the exudation trickling down the bark in dry weather. Bark surface flaking in thin strips, fissured, dark grey; crown spreading. Leaves arranged spirally, often clustered at the apices of twigs, simple, broadly obovate, tapering at base, margin toothed, stipules small, caducous. Flowers in an erect raceme at the end of branches. Flowers are large, white. 

Deciduous tree, bark 10-12 mm thick, brownish, rough, exfoliations small, more or less triangular; fibrous; branchlets pubescent. Leaves simple, alternate, clustered at the tips of branchlets, 15-30 x 5-15 cm, obovate, oblong-obovate, apex round or shortly acuminate, base cuneate or attenuate and decurrent on petiole, margin crenate-serrate, glabrous, membranous; petiole 10 mm long, slender, pubescent; lateral nerves 10-12 pairs, parallel, prominent, intercostae reticulate, prominent. Flowers bisexual, greenish-white, 5-10 cm across, in terminal spikes; peduncle woody; bracts 3, unequal. Calyx tube campanulate, glabrous, adnate to ovary and not produced beyond the ovary; lobes 4, ovate, imbricate. Petals 4, elliptic-oblong, revolute along margin, caducous. Stamens numerous in several rows, slightly connate at base, inserted on the top of calyx; filaments subulate, greenish-white with purple base, exserted, inner and outer rows without anthers. Ovary inferior, 4-5-celled; ovules many in each cell; style long, filiform; stigma capitate. Fruit a berry, 5-7.5 cm across, globose, green, pericarp fibrous, crowned with calyx lobes and style.

Use: Timber is hard and heavy, used in building constructions, tool handles, etc. The bark of the tree and the sepals of the flowers are well-known Indian remedies, and are valued on account of their astringent and mucilaginous properties, being administered internally in coughs and colds and applied externally as an embrocation.

Distribution : Tropical Asia

Flowering & Fruiting : February-July