PANDANUS Project  
Bombax ceiba L. in Pandanus database of Indian plant names
 •  Pandanus Homepage  •  Database of Plants  •  Publications  •  Sanskrit E-texts  •  Seminar of Indian Studies  •

  Bombax ceiba L. details in Pandanus database of Indian plant names

Back to the list of plant names 

 Latin nameBombax ceiba L.
 FamilyMalvaceae Subfamily: Bombacoideae
 Identified with (Lat)Bombax malabaricum DC.
 Identified with (Skt)śālmalī
 Identified with (Pkt)saṃbali, sāmali
 Identified with (Hin)śemal, semul
 Identified with (Ben)śimul, lāl śimul
 Identified with (Tam)ilavu, pūlā, muḷḷilavu
 Identified with (Mal)ilavu, muḷḷilavu, elavu, pūḷamaram
 Identified with (Eng)Red silk cotton tree
 Botanical infoA deciduous tree up to 30m high, prominent red flowers, the tree is bare of leaves when flowering, seeds protected by wool, grows all over India up to 1500m elevation, also cultivated for cotton.
 Search occurrenceśālmalī, in the Pandanus database of Sanskrit e-texts
 See plant's imageBombax ceiba L. in Google image search
 Encyclopedias &

Monier-Williams: A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (p. 1068)
mf. (or -lī, f.; cf. śalmali) the Seemul or silk-cotton tree, Bombax heptaphyllum or Salmalia malabarica (a lofty and thorny tree with red flowers; its thorns are supposed to be used for torture in one of the hells cf. kūta-ś-, or it may stand for the N. of that hell) Mn. MBh. &c.; one of the 7 Dvīpas or great divisions of the known continent (so called from the above tree said to grow there; it is surrounded by the sea of ghee or clarified butter) MBh. Pur.; patr. of a man (f. -lyā) g. krauḍyādi; N. of a son of Avikshit MBh.; of another man descended from Agasti Hcat.; (ī) f. see below.

Monier-Williams: A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (p. 1068)
f. = śālmali (above); N. of a river in the infernal regions Mn. iv, 90; of another river R.; of one of the śaktis of Vishṇu MW.

Tamil Lexicon, University of Madras (p. 343)
ilavu: 01 red-flowered silk-cotton tree, l. tr., Bombax malabaricum
02 clearing-nut tree

Tamil Lexicon, University of Madras (p. 3288)
muḷḷilavu: Red flowered silk-cotton tree, l. tr., Bombax malabaricum

Tamil Lexicon, University of Madras (p. 2850)
pūlā: 1. Black-berried feather foil, l. sh., Phyllanthus reticulatus; 2. Red silk-cotton tree, l. tr. Bombax malabaricum

Dymock, Warden, Hooper: Pharmacographia Indica (vol. I, pp. 215-216)
Bombax malabaricum, Malvaceae
Fig. - Red silk-cotton tree
B. malabaricum, in Sanskrit Sālmali, and Mocha, is a large tree, covered with stout, hard conical prickles, on which account it bears the Sanskrit synonym of Kantakadruma. In the Mahābhārata it is related that Pitāmāha after having created the world, reposed under the tree Sālmali, and in the code of Yajnavalkya it is mentioned as one of the trees of the infernal regions (yamadruma), because it makes a great show of flowers, but produces no fruit fit to eat. At the end of the cold season this tree is a very remarkable object, being entirely destitute of leaves, and loaded with large, red, cup-shaped flowers, which are followed by egg-shaped, green capsules, containing numerous brown seeds having an average weight of 4-5th of a grain, and a quantity of fine silky cotton. Hindu and Mahometan writers state that the root of the young tree (mūsla-semul), when about as large as a carrot, has restorative, astringent and alterative properties; powdered and mixed with sugar, ghi and the juice of the fresh root, it is made into a pāk or confection which has a reputation as an aphrodisiac, and as a restorative in phthisis and other wasting diseases. In some parts of India the root of the white silk-cotton tree (Eriodendron anfractuosum) is preferred for this purpose. This tree is the Lanifera arbor of Clusius, the pods of which were first brought to Holland about the end of the 16th century; its cotton is the Capock fibre of the Dutch, and the tree, like the Bombax, yields a dark-coloured opaque gum, insoluble in water, which is used as an astringent in bowel complaints. The natives regard E. anfractuosum as a variety of the Bombax, and call it śveta-sālmali or "white śālmali" in Sanskrit. In Hindi it is Safed-semul, in Marathi Pāndhra-saur, in Guzerati Dolo-shemalo, &c., all names which have a similar meaning. In Madras the young fruits are dried and used as a demulcent and astringent. The gum of the Bombax is very astringent, and is used by both Hindus and Mahometans in diarrhoea, dysentery, and menorrhagia in doses of from 40-50 grains for an adult. Sālmali voshta or Mocha-ras (juice of mocha) only exudes from portions of the bark which have been injured by decay or insects; incisions in the healthy bark produce nothing.

(c) 1998-2009 Seminar of Indian Studies, Institute of South and Central Asia, Faculty of Arts, Charles University. Development of this database of Indian plant names was made possible by the generous funding of the Grant Agency of Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.