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National Flower of Myanmar - Padauk



Pterocarpus indicus (Pashu Padauk, Malay Paduak, New Guinea Rosewood, or, ambiguously, "Narra" which can refer to several Pterocarpus species) is a species of Pterocarpus native to southeastern Asia, northern Australasia, and the western Pacific Ocean islands, in Cambodia, southernmost China, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Ryukyu Islands, the Solomon Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. Other names include Narra (Philippines), Sonokembang (Indonesia), Angsana or Sena (Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore), Tnug (Cambodia).

Description
It is a large deciduous tree growing to 30–40 m tall, with a trunk up to 2 m diameter. The leaves are 12–22 cm long, pinnate, with 5–11 leaflets, the girth is 12-34 m wide. The flowers are produced in panicles 6–13 cm long containing a few to numerous flowers; flowering is from February to May in the Philippines, Borneo and the Malay peninsula. They are slightly fragrant and have yellow or orange-yellow petals. The fruit is a semiorbicular pod 2–3 cm diameter, surrounded by a flat 4–6 cm diameter membranaceous wing which aids dispersal by the water. It contains one or two seeds, and does not split open at maturity; it ripens within 4–6 years, and becomes purple when dry. The central part of the pod can be smooth (f. indica), bristly (f. echinatus (Pers.) Rojo) or intermediate. Most Pterocarpus species prefer seasonal weather but P. indicus prefer rainforests.

Note: Pterocarpus macrocarpus, a similar species native to Burma, is referred to as "Rosewood" throughout South East Asia. P. macrocarpus, is usually harder than P. indicus. When in burl form both are referred to as Amboyna Burl.

The hardwood, which is purplish, is termite resistant and rose-scented. The wood known in Indonesia as amboyna is the burl of the tree, named after Ambon, where much of this material was originally found. Often amboyna is finely sliced to produce an extremely decorative veneer, used for decoration and in making of furniture and keys on a marimba. The flower is used as a honey source while leaf infusions are used as shampoos. Both flowers and leaves were said to be eaten. The leaves are supposedly good for waxing and polishing brass and copper. The tree is recommended as an ornamental tree for avenues and is sometimes planted in Puerto Rico as a shade and ornament.

 It is also a source of kino or resin. In folk medicine, it is used to combat tumors. This property might be due to an acidic polypeptide found in its leaves that inhibited growth of Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cells by disruption of cell and nuclear membranes. It is also known as a diuretic in Europe during the 16th and 18th centuries. Its reputation may be due to its wood infusions, which are fluorescent. It is widely planted as a roadside, park, and car-park tree. The tall, dome-shaped crown, with long, drooping branches is very attractive and the flowers are spectacular in areas with a dry season. It is very easily propagated from seed or large stem cuttings, but suffers from disease problems.

Symbolism
It is the national tree of the Philippines, as well as the provincial tree of Chonburi and Phuket in Thailand.

Pterocarpus macrocarpus (Burma Padauk, Thai: ประดู่) is a species of Pterocarpus native to southeastern Asia in northeastern India, Burma, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

It is a medium-sized tree growing to 10–30 m (rarely to 39 m) tall, with a trunk up to 1.7 m diameter; it is dry season-deciduous. The bark is flaky, grey-brown; if cut, it secretes a red gum. The leaves are 20–35 cm long, pinnate, with 9–11 leaflets. The flowers are yellow, produced in racemes 5–9 cm long. The fruit is a pod surrounded by a round wing 4.5–7 cm diameter, containing two or three seeds.

The wood is durable and resistant to termites; it is important, used for furniture, construction timber, cart wheels, tool handles, and posts; though not a true rosewood it is sometimes traded as such. Constituents of Pterocarpus marsupium have been reported to have beneficial properties for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.


Sources, Images: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pashu_Padauk, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burmese_Padauk

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