Crocodile Bark Tree

Plant Summary:
The state tree of Goa is Crocodile Bark Tree belonging to family Combretaceae*. Botanical name of the tree is Terminalia Elliptica. The name is thus derived because the bark of the tree resembles crocodile skin. The other common names are Matti in Kannada, Asna, Saj and  Indian-Laurel, ha…ha..then, which tree is the Indian-Hardy?? hmm…mm….it must be the Banyan Tree!

Crocodile Bark Tree

Picture1 – Crocodile Bark Tree pictured in Catigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Goa

It is native of South Indian deciduous forests up to 1000 meters above sea level. It is also widely grown in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.

Crocodile Bark Tree
Picture2 – Crocodile Bark Tree pictured in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary

The tree grows to a height of 30 m tall and the trunk measures up to 1 m in diameter. The bark of the trunk is fire resistant, flaky and brownish black. The fruit is ovaoid about 3 cm in length.

Crocodile Bark Tree

During research it has been found that this tree has a water storing capability for the dry season. The wood of this tree is used for building boat, railroad sleepers, furniture and other wood works. The silkworms are fed with the leaves of this tree. A dye is extracted from the fruits of this tree for dyeing leather.

Medicinal Use:
The bark is used to treat diarrhea.

* Combretaceae is a family of flowering plants. The family includes about 600 species of trees, shrubs, and lianas in 20 genera.