By MANEKA GANDHI

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Extra resources for Brahma's Hair: On the Mythology of Indian Plants

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The flowers are white and trumpet-shaped. Each grows singly in the axil of a leaf. The fruit is a two celled pod with flattish pear-shaped seeds inside. When the seeds are ripe the pods burst open suddenly, like the Open Sesame of Ali Baba, and the seeds are scattered. The seeds vary in colour from yellowish white to black. Once they are peeled they are cream coloured. Sesame seeds have a pleasant nutty flavour when roasted or fried and are used in bread, confectionery and Gajjak. Sesame oil is used as a cooking base.

The bark and heartwood yield tannin and are used for a red dye. The fibre from the inner bark makes ropes and gunny bags. From the flowers and fruit comes a yellow dye and a medicine for skin diseases and migraine. The leaves become food wrappers. 19 INDIAN CORK TREE Latin name : Millingtonia hortensis English Names : Indian Cork Tree, Tree Jasmine Indian Names : Bengali: Akash Nim, Cork Gach Hindi: Nim Chameli, Akash Nim Malayalam: Katesam Tamil: Maramalli, Karkku Telugu: Kavuku Family : Bignoniaceae Millingtonia is named after Sir Thomas Millington (1628-1704), English professor at Oxford.

A single blazing look from her eye and the flower was burnt. The king was alarmed and he threw the ashes by the side of the lake and rode away. The Rakshasi also went away satisfied that she had destroyed the girl. From the ashes of the lotus flower grew the Mango tree. A few years later the king, passing through the forest still in search of his wife, saw the ripe fruit and took it back with him to the palace as a novelty to show the courtiers. But as he passed it to his minister the fruit fell on the ground.

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