OROXYLUM INDICUM/ SYONAKAM is a species of flowering plant. The large leaf stalks wither and fall off the tree and collect near the base of the trunk, appearing to look like a pile of broken limb bones. The pinnate leaves are approximately 1 metre (3.3 ft) in length and comparably wide, borne on petioles or stalks up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) in length, making this the largest of all dicot tree leaves, which are quadripinnate (leaflets display four orders of branching).
The tree is a night-bloomer and flowers are adapted to natural pollination by bats. They form enormous seed pods – the fruits – are up to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) long that hang down from bare branches, resembling swords. The long fruits curve downward and resemble the wings of a large bird or dangling sickles or swords in the night, giving the name “tree of Damocles”. The seeds are round with papery wings.


Root bark of Oroxylum indicum  is an astringent, tonic, anti-diarrhoeal, diuretic, anodyne, and is used to cure dropsy. It is an ingredient of ‘dashamoolarishta’ of Ayurvedic medicine. Stem bark is anti-rheumatic. An infusion of bark powder is diaphoretic.

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