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Sushmita Jha

Oct 27, 2008, 11:10:38 AM10/27/08
to indiantreepix
Hello all,
in my childhood in Santiniketan, there used to be a tree which dropped small disc-like hard red seeds. If I recall correctly, the tree resembled a rain tree. Could anyone please help me with the name?
There is another small longish red seed with a black eye - which often used to be used as a weight by goldsmiths. Would appreciate knowing the name of this too.
Since I have no idea of the names, I dont know how to search for them.
Many thanks - and Happy Diwali to all.
Sushmita Jha

Anand Kumar Bhatt

Oct 27, 2008, 12:40:54 PM10/27/08
to Sushmita Jha, indiantreepix
this is so nostalgic. I remember Ratti. In my childhood days (I should not be more that 3-4 years old) I went to my Nana's village. He had the hedge of Mehndi, and on the mehndi, there was the ratti creeper. I had collected a lot and brought them to my nana's town house (which was again a bigger village, with a railway staaation!). I remember one of the rattis was white and black, instead of rrred and balck! Anyway sorry I do not know its botanical name.
About the other could it be jungle jalebi (Pithocellobium dulce)?

Sushmita Jha

Oct 27, 2008, 1:22:29 PM10/27/08
to Anand Kumar Bhatt, indiantreepix
Thanks all for your quick response. On googling the botanical name, below is what I found, along with a photo which confirmed it. I failed to find a picture of Crab eye (Abrus pricatorius) but Anand's reference to it as Ratti, confirms. In Bengali, ratti is a measure of gold much less than a gram. In Santiniketan this was referred to as 'kunch' seed and it was meant to be poisonous, as confirmed by a jilted lover who nearly died eating these seeds! 
Thanks again.
Botanical Name : Adenanthera pavonia
English Name : Bead tree,Saga tree
Hindi Name : Ratangunj, Badi gumchi
Sanskrit Name : Ratnagunj

This tree is common in many parts of India. It is also found in many East Asian countries.

This tree in many parts is known as Red Sandalwood, but in Ayurveda Pterocrpus santalinus is true Red sandalwood. In sanskrit Bead tree is Ratnagunj (Gem seed) and Pterocrpus santalinus is Rakta chandan (Blood Sandalwood).

This tree is a member of Fabaceae plant family.

This is a a small tree growing to a height of about 3 to 4 meters. The leaves are bipinnate,3-6 pairs and opposite. The leaflets are alternate in 4-8 pairs, papery, elliptic oblong and dark green above, bluish green below and oblique. The flowers are in short-peduncled racemes. Calyx is minute, lobes short and triangular. Corolla is pale yellow, segments united at the base only. The pods are flat curved and pointed. The seeds are bright, red and with hard shells. The flowering season is March to May.

Anand Kumar Bhatt

Oct 27, 2008, 1:35:01 PM10/27/08
to Sushmita Jha,, indiantreepix
There is a link to Abrus precatorius which is interesting:
It confirms that it is a deadly poison.
Anand Kumar Bhatt
A-59, B.S.F.Colony, Airport Road
Gwalior. 474 005.
Tele: 0751-247 2233. Mobile 0 94253 09780.

Sushmita Jha

Oct 27, 2008, 1:45:34 PM10/27/08
to Anand Kumar Bhatt,, indiantreepix
Very interesting indeed. Thank you very much, Mr Bhatt.

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