Oroxylum indicum

Today’s entry is written by Claire. The plate is from the book Flora de Filipinas, Gran edicion, Atlas I. by Francisco Blanco, a Spanish friar and botanist.

Oroxylum indicum of the Bignoniaceae, or trumpet creeper family, is our pick for today’s Hallowe’en entry as it has some intriguing, spooky characteristics. Three of its many common names are midnight horror, broken bones tree, and tree of Damocles. The names are due to its lengthy seed pods which range from 40 to 120cm long (1.3 – 4ft). Hanging off the tree in clusters, when dry they rattle in the wind (perhaps like a clattering skeleton?). Fallen seeds piled at the base are also said to resemble a pile of broken bones. Lastly, for those readers who associate bats with Hallowe’en, Oroxylum indicum has a chiropterophilous pollination mechanism (e.g., large flowers that open at night with a wide mouth). One known pollinating species is Eonycteris spelaea, the cave nectar bat. Quite the spine-chilling tree!

Oroxylum indicum is native to deciduous, moist forests of tropical and subtropical south and southeast Asia, including India and China. It is a well-known medicinal plant, with all parts of the plant being used in some way. Oroxylum indicum continues to be commonly utilized and harvested for traditional medicine, as well as being investigated for pharmacological use in the production of treatments for virus-inhibition and anti-inflammatories.

Oroxylum indicum

7 responses to “Oroxylum indicum”

  1. elizabeth a airhart

    And travellers, now. within that valley,
    Through the red-litten windows see
    Vast forms, that move fantastically
    To a discordant melody,
    While,like a ghastly rapid river
    Through the pale door
    A hideous trong rush out forever
    And laugh– but smile no more
    edgar allen poe
    halloween usa 2010 great print and writeup

  2. Deb Lievens

    What fun to find such a perfect plant for Halloween. And Elizabeth thanks for the seasonal poem.

  3. Brian

    Beautiful piece of art. I love botanical illustration – do show us some more in future!

  4. phillip

    …so THIS is where they got the idea of a thermometer..!

  5. Cyndy Henderson

    Oh, I just love botanical prints. Perhaps you could do a series of them in the future? Thank you!

  6. Alexander Jablanczy

    shouldnt trong be throng?
    and litten?
    I am bitten.

  7. Pradeep Damle

    I have the original photograph of Oroxylum indicum. This grows in my region of Western Ghats of South India. If some one is interested, i am ready to share the photograph.

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