As you whiz into the Western Ghats, you must have observed greenery all around and intermittently you would have observed white leaves, which look like paper hanging on the trees. I have wondered a lot about this plant and I chased and caught up with this plant at close quarters in Jog Falls! Research led me to the apt name Paper Chase Tree.
Paper Chase Tree is and evergreen tree native to India and the botanical name is Mussandra Clabrata belonging to the family Rubiaceae. The other names are Lanchut in Hindi, Velliyilai in Tamil, Vellila in Malayalam and also the English common name the Dhoby Tree.
The tree grows straight but tends to take support of a stronger tree and climb. Paper chase tree grows up to 1.2 m in height. The bark of the tree is smooth and grey. The leaves are green, oval, hairy, and pointed.
Blooming period is from July to October. The flowers are tiny and in clusters. The flowers are white, orange, or yellow with five velvety petals. Every cluster has one or two sepals that are enlarged and look like a white leaf.
The bark of Paper chase tree is used to make articles like ladles, spoons, and so on.
The leaves are used to prepare side dishes. Every part of this tree has medicinal values and hence used to treat many ailments. It is found to be very effective in treating cough. It is worth chasing this tree, isn’t it?!
Propagation is through cuttings. Pruning is essential to control the growth and to give a desired shape. Plant the tree under full sun in normal soil. Water everyday and fertilize one in 15 days.