Blooming Saptaparni

Inhaling the jasmine-like scent last evening as I reached home it dawned on me how unfair were our ancestors. Because Saptaparni blooms in the night it’s known as Indian Devil Tree and its flowers never decorated in a vase or used in ceremonies. Just like Plumeria. saptaBoth are great favourites of moths and other nocturnal insects.
The tallest Saptaparni I have come across is in Mumbai’s Byculla Zoo and is identified as Alstonia scholaris .
If you want to catch the fragrance of Saptaparni (its seven- leafed), now is the time for it. In generally blooms in the third half of September and continues till mid October. The fragrance of its yellowish white flowers reminds you of Cestrum nocturnum or Raatraani (Marathi).
In Bengal it’s known as Chatim. Interestingly, there are scores of Bengalis out there who have adopted its Sanskrit name as its own. You will come across Saptaparni Dey, Saptaparni Ghosh etc.


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