Piliya

Botanical Name : Tecoma stans (L.) Juss. ex Kunth

Family : Bignoniaceae (Jacaranda family)

Introduction :

Tecoma stans is a species of flowering perennial shrub in the trumpet vine family, Bignoniaceae, that is native to the Americas. Common names include yellow trumpetbush, yellow bells, yellow elder, ginger-thomas. Tecoma stans is the official flower of the United States Virgin Islands and the floral emblem of The Bahamas.

Names in different Indian languages :

English : Yellow bells, Yellow trumpet, Yellow-Elder

Hindi : Piliya

Kannada : Koranechellar

Tamil : Sonnapatti

Telugu : Pachagotla

Bengali : Chandaprabha

Marathi : Ghanti ful

Nepali : Ghata Pushpa, Saawari

Synonyms :

Bignonia stans L

Stenolobium stans (L.) Seem.

Tecoma stans (L.) Kunth var. Stans

Tecoma stans (L.) Kunth var. velutinaDC.

Morphology :

A large shrub or small, much-branched, tree usually growing 1.5 to 5 m tall, but occasionally reaching 10 m in height. The younger stems are smooth, hairless (glabrous) and greenish in colour. They are slightly four-angled in cross-section (quadrangular) and turn pale brown or reddish-brown in colour as they age. The bark on the main stem is light brown to pale grey in colour, furrowed, and relatively rough in texture. The leaves (10-25 cm long) are arranged in pairs (oppositely arranged) and are borne on slender stalks (petioles) 1-9 cm long. They are compound (pinnate) with 3-13 leaflets, but usually have 3-7 leaflets. The leaflets are narrowly egg-shaped in outline with broad end at base (ovate-lanceolate) or elongated in shape (25-100 mm long and 8-30 mm wide) and have a pointed tip (acuminate apex). Their margins are irregularly and sharply toothed (serrated) and they are mostly hairless (glabrous), though a few hairs may be present on their undersides near the midrib.

The showy flowers are borne in several-flowered clusters (5-15 cm long) that are first produced at the ends of the branches (in terminal clusters), and then later in the leaf forks (axils) near the tips of the branches (in axillary clusters). These flowers are bright yellow in colour, tubular in shape, and borne on short stalks (pedicels) that are somewhat curved or twisted. The flower tube (corolla tube) is 30-50 mm long and has five rounded lobes that are 8-30 mm long. There are several faint reddish lines in the throat of the flower, which is slightly ridged and hairy. Flowering may occur throughout the year. The fruit are large, elongated (linear), and somewhat flattened (compressed) capsules (10-30 cm long and 5-20 mm wide). These fruit turn from green to brown in colour as they mature and finally split open to release numerous papery seeds.

The seeds are very flat, oblong in shape (7-8 mm long and about 4 mm wide), and have a transparent wing at each end (the size of entire seed including the wings is about 20 x 6 mm).

Distribution & Habitat :

A plant of drier areas in the tropics and subtropics, it can be found at elevations from sea level to around 2,000 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 – 25°c, but can tolerate 10 – 35°c. The plant is intolerant of frost. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 500 – 700mm, but tolerates 400 – 800mm. Trees can perform well in areas of less than the recommended rainfall but need to be irrigated; they can also grow at higher altitudes than recommended, but is then said to be slow in flowering. Requires a sunny position. Prefers clay loams, but tolerates most types of fertile, well-drained soils and is particularly tolerant of alkaline conditions. Prefers a pH in the range 6 – 8.5, tolerating 5.5 – 9. Established plants are drought tolerant. The plant has escaped from cultivation and become naturalised in some areas. It is capable of forming dense thickets and crowding out native species. Plants can flower all year round. The flower buds pop when squeezed.

Medicinal uses :

A leaf infusion can be taken orally for treating diabetes and stomach pains.

A strong leaf and root decoction is taken orally as a diuretic, to treat syphilis or for intestinal worms. The flowers are diuretic

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