Trijanma Paapa Samharam|
Eka Bilvam Shivarpanam||
The meaning of this above shloka/chanting in Sanskrit means offering of a bilvapatra (i.e., the trifoliate leaves) to the three eyed god Shiva who holds a Trishula (weapon with three sharp edges) will wash away the sins committed in the past 3 lives.
Picture1 – Bilva Tree
Aegle Marmelos is the botanical name of the sacred plant Bilva or Stone Apple or Bael or Shivadruma. It belongs to the Rutaceae* family. Lord Shiva is fond of this tree and in the courtyard of every temple of Shiva; a Bilva tree will be planted. The leaves of the tree are trifoliate representing the three eyes of the Shiva. Pooja/ritual/prayers to Lord Shiva is incomplete without the offering of Bilvapathre/Bilva leaves. The Bilva leaves are also offered to Lord Ganesha during the 21 patra (leaves) pooja while chanting the below mantra: “Om Uma putraaya namaha, Vilva Patram Samarpayaami”
Bilva Tree grows in dry and arid regions on plains and hills in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan and South East Asia. Bilva tree grows to a height of 8 meters with thorns. The leaves are alternate, ovate, trifoliate and aromatic. The tender leaves and shoots are consumed as salad greens.
Picture3 – Bilva Leaves
The off-white flowers bloom in the month of May and has a sweet fragrance. Each flower has 5 petals and center with many stamens.
Picture4 – Bilva Flowers
The fruits are woody, oval shaped with yellow pulp and they ripen during October/November. The fruits are 5 – 15 cm in diameter. The skin of the fruit is extremely hard, either a stone or a hammer is used to open the fruit. The fruit contains many seeds enclosed in fibrous hair and are surrounded by pulp, which has a pleasant aroma. This fruit is not found often in the market, whereas Wood Apple (Limonia acidissimia) is available in the markets. The Bilva Tree and Wood Apple tree are usually confused for one another.
Picture5, 5a – Bilva Fruit
Bilva fruit is either eaten fresh or dried. The fruit is cut into pieces and dried in the sun. Whenever the fruit has to be used, the dried pieces are boiled in water and sieved.
Picture6 – Bilva Tree
The roots, skin, fruits and the leaves of the Bilva tree are used for medicinal purpose. Bilva has astringent, edema lessening, anti-diarrhea, laxative and appetizer properties hence, can be used to cure both internal and external diseases.
Picture7 – Bilva Tree Crown
Apart from Lord Shiva, this tree is a favorite as a larval food plant for Indian Swallowtail Butterfly and Common Lime or the Lemon Butterfly (Papilio demoleus).
Picture8 – Lemon Butterfly Photographed in Mysore
*Rutaceae, commonly known as the Rue or Citrus family, are trees or shrubs, with aromatic glands on the leaves and sometimes with thorns. The leaves are usually opposed and compound, and without stipules. (Stipules means outgrowths borne on either side of the base of a leafstalk)
I wish to but bilva plant. Pls advise how do I go about.
Thanks for visiting. Please pick up the plant from a good nursery and plant it either in a big pot or on the ground.
I need the Bilva (bilva patra) plant……. can you tell me where to buy from?
Koki, inquire at any of the horticultural nurseries in the place you live.
Am in the process of creating a personal website in tamil with information of Lord Shiva. Can I use this piece of information about Bilva in my website with your name mentioned under courtesy?
Yes Karthik, you can use the information, please give a link back.
I found the information interesting and useful. For getting the medicinal values, should the bilva fruit be eaten in an empty stomach or with food or it doesnt matter?
According to me it is like any other fruit and can be eaten anytime. But, if you want a more professional answer please consult an Ayurvedic doctor or an expert in Ayurvedic medicines.
want to purchase a bilva plant. I live in Northern california, USA. Is this plant available to purchase in the US?
I am sorry Vijay, I don’t know where you can get the plant in the US, as I live in India. Maybe when you visit India the next time you can take some seeds and plant it there.
All your articles will be very good and more informative… Want to know about you.
Happy to note that you like what I write. I am a working mother, living in Bangalore. Most of my free time is spent reading, cooking, photographing, travelling and updating the website.
I lived in uk and i need bilva patra. Can you please tell me from where i can buy these bilva patra in birmingham uk.
Somebody told me, Bilva leaves are good for controlling wheezing problems. Is that so?
I wish to plant a Bilva tree in my home in a pot to offer a leaf everyday to lord Shiva. Can I plant such tree at home without any objection or any religious fear. Please advice.
Great idea! go ahead plant it…there is no fear when there is god’s seva in mind.
All the best,
can u pls give me the address of nursery where bilva plant can be purchased.. thank u
In Bangalore, Lalbagh nursery or nurseries near big banyan tree, in Mysore – Government horticulture nursery near Harding circle or Bhudevi farm.
Kannan – in Bangalore you can try in lal bagh nursery.
i am living in boston mass i wants to buy bilva patra where i can buy give me supplyer name and address please thank you
Sorry, I don’t know where you can buy bilva patra in Boston. I suggest you ask the priest in the Hindu temple at Boston.
I live in Virginia, USA. I want to grow Bilva tree. Can I grow Bilva tree from seeds. Where I can buy the seeds. Are they available in Delhi. Please write me the address of nursery where Bilva seeds can be purchased. Thank you in advance.
You will be able to get the seeds in any of the nurseries in Delhi. For addresses of nurseries you will have to check the yellow pages or google.
one of my frind dr.veera reddy, bio technologist is producing EKA BILVA plants, and also planting in srisailam and some other places to conserve the plant. he is doing good job for future genarations. pl. protect this…….more medicinal values in this for present and future cronic deseases.
All the best to your friend. She is doing a wonderful job.
Namaskar- Thanks -appreciated this post on Bilwa-and your blog posts on temples. Re BILWA: I tried to grow the Bilwa tree in my compound (brought from Goa by a kind soul.. now no more, who distributed 5 saplings at Shivratri Time at Hubli Temple-) I did all I could but it did not survive ..Was it the Chennai temp. / water/soil or what I don’t know. My knowledge is limited on this but havd taken efforts. Will try again soon. ..learn- However, find most Temples do not have the Bilwa Sthala Vriksha in metros/towns even. The “Bilwa” -leaves are brought… Read more »
Thank you Sir for your great feedback.
I have heard and seen Bilva trees weathering very dry weather, but I am not sure why it did not survive. Sorry, I am not much of a help 🙁
Could you please tell me where can i get Bilva leaves in Hyderabad. I tried in some markets but couldn’t find it. Please let me know the place.
I am sorry I do not know where you can get Bilva leaves in Hyderabad.
hi, Shantha G,
THANKS FOR YOUR VALUABLE INFORMATION ON BILVA TREE, IAM LOOKING FOR THE PLANT FOR MY GARDEN IN JAMMU BUT NOT ABLE TO GET IT, CA U GET ME SOME ADDRESS IN DELHI TO GET IT
Please try in any of the nurseries in New Delhi, you might get the plant.
Do you know It is very easy to have a BILVA plant at no cost? Here how it is.Purchase a ripened bilva fruit.Brake it open, take out the pulp and seeds,dry the seeds and sow them in a flower pot.I did like and had so many plants.If you have open court yard you can prepare the soil and sow them.One bilva fruit can give birth to dozens of plants.Please note that these plants though appear to be small on surface they are are very deep rooted.Very difficult to pull them out.
Thanks for the valuable information, the readers will be greatly benefited.
Continue to share your experiences in this tiny space that I have created.
Please let me know in which direction should I plant / put the planted Bilva-plant pot, in my house area.
Waiting for reply
I have absolutely no idea, which direction to plant the bilva tree. I only know that it has to be planted under direct sun 🙂
Bilva is highly revered sacred tree in Indian culture. It has got medicinal value also. Is it true that if a small branch of bilva tree is planted it wl grow?
Hi Shivakumar Pavate,
I am not sure whether Bilva tree will grow from cuttings. Please try and let us know.
want to thank jayalakshmi for her input….about growing them from the seeds found in the fruit which is possible as per her experience.
just want to check is any special requirements or processes involved other than just drying them .
tx for the above querries and anw thereto all my reqmt has been met. In fact breaking the fruit and planting th e dry seeds worked fast and easy ,it is however difficult to get hold of a sappling not avlbe so easily. Tx a lot
Glad to know that the above information was helpful Sampath.
Hi need assistance on knowledge of Bilva tree. If the branches of a Bilva tree are cut of, can it grow on it’s own again or need some form of attention to it. Pls advice. Thank you.
To grow Bilwa plant from seed. Pray to Lord Shiva first and ask for His blessing.This is a very tempremental plant and takes a long time to germinate. In a saucer put some tissue papers and soak the seeds. Cover .You can scourge the seed for easier sprouting. Take out cover until shoot about 1″.Then transplant in a little pot with good starter soil from the store. Take good care.. Good luck. In one year it may grow 3-4″ (indoors) The temp dips below -25deg C here.
Om Namah Shivay
Thank you Ramen for sharing your experience.
Hello Shantha and all your friends.
Anyone wanting to buy Bilwa (Bael) seeds (botanical name: AEGLE MAMELOS) should visit this site “B & T World Seeds”.
I received some vilva seeds from hrishikesh india. My son tried to grow by sowing seeds. But the seeds r not at all germinating even after 4 months. he lives in Dallas usa. He soaked it &tried sowing in soil . no result. where can heget a plant in dallas. pl help
Please inform me from i can get a plant [vilva plant in DALLAS usa
Readers who live Dallas, please let us know where Bilva tree plant can be procured in Dallas.
Hope you get this plant soon Valliulaganath and Palani.
i had planted bilva tree in my house there are 4 from 7yearssome one told me it is not good but i belive in shiva I want to know more about bilva tree i dont care for anyone i read your ans it was just fantastic MY NO 9820116054 I AM WRITING THIS LETTER FOR FIRST TIME PLEASE tell ,write ,mail more i’ll be thanksfull to you
I like your commitment to grow the tree. Having trees around is extremely good for the health, that is the reason we Hindus worship trees.
May you grow more number of trees, gods will be pleased as you are doing seva to the living beings too.
God bless you,
I live in bangalore. I would like ti know where can i get bilva plant, leaves and fruits. The local nurseries in my area do not have a plant.